Article Revised 08/04/23
Are Essential Oils and Aromatherapy Patches Allowed or Used in Hospitals?
Yes, wearable, MRI-safe essential oil patches are used in hospitals. In fact, Ascents aromatherapy patches are used in hospitals and clinics around the country to help control patients’ nausea and stress, including one of the largest and most respected cancer treatment centers in the world.
How are Essential Oils Used in Hospitals?
Most hospitals don’t have a formal policy around the use of essential oils, but nurses and nursing assistants have been using them for decades, usually bringing in their own to help patients relieve nausea, stress or insomnia -- even pain. The most common method nurses use in hospitals without a formal policy or products is a simple cotton ball in a plastic baggy that has been dipped in an essential oil like lavender or ginger.
This is why Aeroscena began producing aromatherapy patches using our proprietary essential oil blends for hospitals. Essential oils, for all of their incredible health benefits, are still volatile compounds that when used incorrectly can irritate or burn the skin -- even melt plastic baggies. Additionally, they can create fall hazards if they spill and make the floor slippery. They can also become easily contaminated and may pass bacteria or viruses to others when not in single-use applications. Using Ascents aromatherapy patches instead means that all of these issues can be easily avoided.
Which Hospital or Medical Practice Areas Use Essential Oil Patches?
Ascents essential oil stickers and patches are used in a number of different hospitals units, including MRI/imaging centers (anxiety/claustrophobia), maternity, labor and delivery (nausea & stress), chemotherapy infusion centers (CINV/anxiety), post-operative suites (PONV) and dialysis centers (nausea/anxiety). They are even offered in some hospital waiting areas by request to help reduce stress for visitors and guests.
However, one of our favorite use cases for Ascents inhalation patches is by hospitals who make them available in break rooms to their nurses and other frontline medical staff. They are especially valuable during very stressful or times to help them avoid burnout by bringing self-care directly to them in their work environments.
How to Apply Ascents Essential Oil Patches
To start using Ascents aromatherapy patches, remove the outer foil packaging. Next, locate and separate the small tab labeled "Peel Off." Completely separate the tab from the front cover. Then, remove the clear plastic backing to expose the adhesive. Apply to clean, dry skin. We recommend the sternum and “upper chest” area for best results.
For reference, these application instructions are also included on each patch package and a video demonstrating patch application is available as well.
How Do You Use Ascents Essential Oil Patches?
We recommend that patches are only applied to disposable gowns or directly to the skin for patients experiencing nausea, queasiness, stress or anxiety.
While our aroma patches are unlikely to stain, they do contain oil, and there is always a chance it finds its way to clothing. If a patient has sensitive skin, do not apply the patch directly to their body.
Patches can also be applied to pillowcases, or even face masks, although many patients may find that the scent is too strong when applied that close to the nose.
What Are Ascents Aromatherapy Patches Made From? Are They Latex Free?
The aroma patch packaging is manufactured from a type of thick, coated foil. The small piece of material that holds the essential oils is made with a patented occlusive barrier that keeps the oil away from direct skin contact when used as directed. It does not interact with the oils.
Our Nausea Relief patch does contain small amounts of metal so is not appropriate for MRIs. However, our Calm essential oil patch does not, and can be safely and effectively used for patients who experience anxiety, stress or claustrophobia from MRIs and other closed medical imaging processes.
Additionally, Ascents aromatherapy patches contain no latex, and the facility in which they are produced is free of all products containing nuts and gluten.
What’s the difference between a transdermal essential oil patch and Ascents aromatherapy patches?
There are companies who manufacture essential oil patches that require direct application of the oil-containing material to the skin. These is considered a transdermal application, where the substance, in this case, essential oils, are meant to penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream. However, essential oils are volatile substances that can very easily irritate or burn the skin, especially when it is exposed to these substances long periods of time. They can also cause photo-toxic reactions (sensitivity to light) or create other sensitivities or allergic reactions that may not occur when the oils are simply inhaled.This means that they are not appropriate for healthcare environments.
Aromatherapy patches like those from Ascents work via the oils' inhalation and do not touch the skin, nor do they come in contact with the nose at all. Instead, the oils’ molecules are delivered to the brain via the respiratory system, triggering positive reactions, like reduced stress and nausea.