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Aromatherapy for Stress Management

Madeline McAndrew
DFM 655 Nutrition Education and Communication
Fall 2016

Introduction
Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic plant extracts and essential oils for healing. There
are many methods of using aromatherapy, as the name suggests they can be inhaled, but the
essential oils can also massaged into the skin, or utilized in a bath (A, 1997). Aromatherapy is
proven to be beneficial for relieving stress. Experts believe aromatherapy works by nasal
receptors communicating with the amygdala and hippocampus. These areas of the brain collect
and process memories and emotions. By inhaling essential oil particles researchers claim they
stimulate the amygdala and hippocampus and influence physical, emotional, and mental health
(A, 1997). Researchers believe lavender stimulates the activity of brain cells in the amygdala
comparable to the way some sedative medications work which is similar to the process of
vasodilation.
The article Relaxation effects of lavender aromatherapy improve coronary flow velocity
reserve in healthy men evaluated by transthoracic Doppler echocardiography supports the
concept that lavender when being used for aromatherapy is beneficial for stress relief. The
experimental objective in the study was discover if there is a correlation between mental stress
and cardiovascular events, specifically if mental stress is an independent risk factor and impairs
coronary circulation (Shiina et al., 2008). The study aimed to assess the effect of lavender
aromatherapy on coronary circulation by measuring coronary flow velocity reserve (Shiina et al.,
2008). Through the conduction of the study it was concluded aromatherapy reduced serum
cortisol and improved coronary flow velocity reserve in healthy men. The conclusions suggest
lavender aromatherapy has relaxation properties and may have beneficial acute effects on
coronary circulation which illustrates the use of lavender for stress relief (Shiina et al., 2008).
College students are overwhelmed with assignments, exams, and extracurricular
activities, and life in general which lead to bearing with large amounts of stress. College students
need stress reducing methods to improve on their performance and increase productivity
throughout their terms. College men and women also report different coping strategies for
different stressors (Brougham, Zail, Mendoza, & Miller, 2009). There is a need for college
students to find and use effective methods of stress relief such as aromatherapy. The article
Expectancy of Stress-Reducing Aromatherapy Effect and Performance on a Stress-Sensitive
Cognitive Task claims Aromatherapy is popular for stress reduction and stress-reducing
therapies help maintain cognitive performance during stress which demonstrates how important
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is to incorporate aromatherapy into a college students routine (Chamine, I., & Oken, B. S.,
2015). By using aromatherapy as a method to relieve stress, college students will be more
productive and perform better scholastically.
Enduring mental stress can affect productivity and performance scholastically. In the
scholarly article, Effects of Aromatherapy on Stress and Stress Responses in Adolescents a
study using two groups of high school students was conducted to examine the effects of
aromatherapy on stress and response to stress in adolescents. One group of students was given
necklaces which carried essential oils and the other group was given a placebo. The students who
received the aroma treatment exhibited significantly lower stress levels and improved in
scholastic performance when the compared to students which received the placebo treatment
(Seo, 2009). The study concluded aroma inhalation could be a very effective stress management
method for high school students and should be taken advantage of.
The theory which best fits college students who need stress relief is the social cogitative
theory because this audience is highly motivated to make behavior changes when it is beneficial.
College students have developed self-efficacy, and can build off of skills they already have. For
aromatherapy, college students need knowledge and instruction to develop their skills. The social
cognitive theory relates to college students who are overwhelmed by stress because they have
self-determination and can create an action plan for themselves, have social and environmental
support through friends, family, classmates, professors, on campus resources, and they are
capable of self-monitoring.
The education style I am using is a combination of developmental and nurturing. During
my presentation and through my lesson plan I will be using the two developmental techniques;
teaching that engages learners with content while also challenging them to move from relatively
simple to more complex forms of thinking, and parking their own answers in order to allow
learners time to construct their own understanding of the content. Since I will be demonstrating
the construction of an aromatherapy a candle I will be engaging the audience with content while
keeping them entertained. I will also be exhibiting education through the nurturing perspective. I
will be providing the audience with emotional support and will create a learning environment
which provides challenging yet supportive conditions by encouraging and inspiring the audience
to make their own candles or incorporate aromatherapy in their stress management routine.

Lesson Plan
Duration: 10-15 minutes
Target Group: College students ages 18-35
Major Concepts:
Aromatherapy for Stress Relief
o Different Aromas
o How They Work
Candle Making
o Process
o Incorporating Aroma Therapy in Life for Stress Management
Ice Breaker: 1 minute
Ask audience who here is under stress?
Ask audience who knows what aromatherapy is?
Ask audience who uses aromatherapy here?
Explain what aromatherapy is and what it is used for.
Begin PowerPoint Presentation until reaching slide regarding candle making.
Objectives and Learning Domains; Generalizations and Learning Experiences
1. Goal: The college students will identify the different stress relieving essential oils,
how they work, and how to incorporate aromatherapy into their lives for stress relief.
Domain: Cognitive Domain-Knowledge
Generalization: Aromatherapy is holistic method to relieve stress.
Learning Experience: 4 minutes
Provide a PowerPoint presentation covering the following concepts:
Define Aromatherapy:
Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic plant extracts and essential oils for healing.
Aromatherapy is proven to be beneficial for relieving stress.
Explain How Aromatherapy Works:
Experts believe aromatherapy works by nasal receptors communicating with the
amygdala and hippocampus.
These are the areas of the brain collect and process memories and emotions.
By inhaling essential oil particles researchers claim they stimulate the amygdala and
hippocampus and influence physical, emotional, and mental health.
Explain How to Incorporate Aromatherapy into Lifestyle:
There are many methods of using aromatherapy.
Essential oils can be used massaged into the skin, or utilized in a bath.
Aromatherapy vapor inhalation
Lotions/creams/salves
Compress
2. Goal: The college students will observe a demonstration of crafting homemade
aromatherapy candles.
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Domain: Psychomotor Domain-Perception


Generalization: Aromatherapy candles help with relieving stress because of the essential oils
particles they distribute throughout the air.
Learning Experiences: 8 minutes
A hands-on demonstration (observational learning) on how to make homemade
aromatherapy candles will be presented involving the use of essential oils, wax, string,
and paper cups.
The procedure will be outlined in a step by step fashion to increase self-efficacy amongst
the college students.
Procedure- Grind herbs up. Wash herbs in alcohol shaking frequently for 24 hours. Strain
alcohol into oil on very low temperature/ heat until the alcohol evaporates. (This will be
done prior to class) Melt wax in pan on low temperature then add homemade or store
bought essential oils and mix well. Pour into prepared candle holder with wick and let
cool.
3. Goal: Students will value aromatherapy and its ability to relieve stress, and utilize
skills learned from the demonstration to make homemade aromatherapy candles.
Domain: Affective Domain-Valuing
Generalization: A favorable attitude towards aromatherapy may be associated with the use of
aromatherapy for stress relief.
Learning Experiences: 2 minutes
Provide a list of different stress relief essential oils and a recipe to create homemade
aromatherapy candles. Provide a scale for students to rank their overall attitude and likelihood
towards using essential oils for stress relief at home. Then provide a scale to rank their overall
attitude and likelihood towards trying to make homemade aromatherapy candles. (Post-test)
Example: Rank the face which best describes your attitude toward using aromatherapy.

Teaching Aids and Materials:


Essential oils- homemade (plants: lavender and chamomile, grapeseed oil, denatured
alcohol)
Wax 16oz
Candle holders/ molds
Saut pan
Spoon for stirring
Wicks
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Stove top/ (using Nu-wave)


Table
Paper towels for clean up
Tea (hibiscus and rose)
Paper cups
Humidifier
Summary: Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic plant extracts and essential oils for healing.
Essential oils can be used massaged into the skin, or utilized in a bath. Other methods of
aromatherapy are vapor inhalation, lotions/creams/salves or a compress. Experts believe
aromatherapy works by nasal receptors communicating with the amygdala and hippocampus.
By inhaling essential oil particles researchers claim they stimulate the amygdala and
hippocampus and influence physical, emotional, and mental health. Aromatherapy is useful for
college students to relieve stress and should be a method utilized by college students.
Evaluation: 5 minutes
The college students will have answered the questions during the Icebreaker and the number of
hands raised will be recorded for the pre-test. The post test will be passed around and contains
questions regarding facts from the lecture. The students will have five minutes to complete the
post test. After collected the data will be analyzed and will represent how effective the lesson
plan and teaching was.
Conclusion
The educational topic I chose to present on was an alternative and holistic approach to
managing stress and targeted the college population. I began my presentation with my
introduction, why I chose the topic, my experience with aromatherapy (my mom being a
massage therapist), and my pre-test to get a feel for the level knowledge my audience had
regarding aromatherapy. The theory selected was the social cogitative theory and it is effective
because college students are highly motivated to make behavior changes when beneficial to their
performance. College students have also developed self-efficacy, and can build off of skills they
already have in addition being surrounded by a supportive environment. The attributes of college
students make this theory beneficial for this population. Since College students want to improve
their performance and using aromatherapy is a way to manage stress and help improve
productivity college students learning aromatherapy through the use of this theory will be
successful. I chose to use a combination of developmental and nurturing teaching philosophies
because I felt teaching which engages learners while giving emotional support and providing a
community environment is a more effective teaching method when instructing college students.
In addition I felt the best way to teach an audience about aromatherapy was through going over
content, but also through combining the use of their senses (smell) with the content to give the
students full impact of aromatherapy.
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My educational presentation did not go as smoothly as I had hoped, but the lesson plan
was followed and did convey the content to the audience well. My first objective was: the
college students will identify the different stress relieving essential oils, how they work, and how
to incorporate aromatherapy into their lives for stress relief. I met this objective (knowledge)
through discussing aromatherapy and its benefits, defining aromatherapy, discussing how it
works through proven research, and providing different methods which can be incorporated into
lifestyles throughout my PowerPoint content. For my second objective (psychomotor) I wrote:
the college students will observe a demonstration of crafting homemade aromatherapy candles. I
used hands-on demonstration (observational learning) on how to make homemade aromatherapy
candles to show how easy aromatherapy is to use and involve in daily life. I demonstrated the use
of essential oils in candle making to increase self-efficacy amongst the college students. For my
last objective (affective) I wanted to make an impact on the audience, so I wrote: students will
value aromatherapy and its ability to relieve stress, and utilize skills learned from the
demonstration to make homemade aromatherapy candles. Through explaining aromatherapy and
demonstrating how to use essential oils through making candles I impacted a favorable attitude
towards aromatherapy and reinforced the use of aromatherapy for stress relief in this population.
Through researching college students I found aromatherapy is an effective method to relive stress
and by using the social cognitive theory as my method of education, college students would
gravitate to this information for their own interest and benefits.
I believe my presentation of aromatherapy was effective in educating my audience
regarding the benefits of aromatherapy for stress management. Through my PowerPoint
presentation and demonstration of making homemade aromatherapy candles I was able to
educate my target audience which was evidenced by my post-test. My first post-test question was
to list two methods of aromatherapy, which was a free write answer. All the responses I obtained
from the survey were correct. A few of them were repetitive which indicates how my lesson plan
design facilitated the main points and the audience attained knowledge specifically about
essential oils, diffusers, and candles being used for aroma therapy. My next question was
answered successfully as well. The audience was able to identify the three stress relieving
aromas. For my third question I received a large spread of answers indicating the options I gave
for answers may have been tricky or confusing, but the two second highest percentages were the
correct answers to the question. As for my last question on my post-test I was ecstatic to see
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seventy-five percent of the audience was interested in using aromatherapy for stress
management. From this result I concluded my presentation was affective and impacted my
audience emotionally, but also made them more knowledgeable about aromatherapy and its
ability to manage stress.
There were definitely limitations for my presentation. The limitation I found most
hindered my ability to deliver a beneficial impact was time constraint. Since I was last the class
was getting restless and wanted to leave. I wanted to do more with the time I had and the
demonstration could have lasted longer with a better explanation. Also the room had limitations
and the equipment I brought was not as effective as I had hoped. My Nuwave was not as
effective at melting wax as a stovetop was. I believe my strength within the process was keeping
the audience engaged though acting out a demonstration and incorporating many models and the
lavender scent to diffuse across the classroom while viewing my presentation. I think the models
and the demonstration along with the different scents of aromatherapy had a strong impact on my
audience and reinforced their interest and the effect of aromatherapy on them.
My lesson did follow the design approach and I think it could possibly be used by others
maybe in community practice or at an establishment such as Kaiser Permanente for a method of
stress management. My presentation for aromatherapy could be useful for more than college
students and could be applied to other populations facing a need for stress management as well.
With the way I set my presentation up the educational content in the beginning is reinforced by
the demonstration and the knowledge along with the aromas in class creates an impact on the
audience to incorporate aromatherapy as a resource for stress management because it beneficial
and is easy to involve in a daily routine.