The term burnout was coined in1974 and refers to a kind of work related stress manifested by signs and symptoms thar arise in those people whose profession is linked to direct and continuous contact with other people and that help others, particularly health care professionals such as nurses, doctors and teachers.
The most common physical symptoms are chronic tiredness, tense muscles, somatization, sleep disorders, gastritis and ulcers.
Within the mental and emotional symptoms are depression, anxiety, obsessions and phobias, suicidal tendencies, paranoia, cinicism.
Emotional tiredness manifests itself by a progressive loss of energy and exhaustion.
The depersonalization shows a negative change in attitude with irritability and lack of motivation towards work.
In many studies carried out in people affected by this syndrome a high level of absentiism was detected associated to altered behavious such as self-medication with drugs, consumption of toxic substances, alcohol and recreational drugs.
What predisposes you to suffer from this syndrome?
Age, although it does not seem to have an influence in the occurrence of this syndrome, would have a certain degree of importance as it is considered that there is a period within professional life (specially during the first years of practice) in which professionals are more vulnerable. Partly due to the transition between idealism, which everyone has when they begin to practice, and the actual daily professional practice. However in many studies carried out the age group with higher emotional tiredness was that of those over the age of 44 who also had a lack of personal achievement.
This lack of personal achievement is more obvious in professionals with a greater lenght of time in the workplace: those with more than 19 years of practice and more than 11 years in the same workplace. We see a lower productivity and a tendency to being disorganized accompanying personal exhaustion. Generally society has the idea that the members of a health team heal, and this concept increase the work demands.
Some researchers establish stages within the syndrome’s establisment process:
• Excess in work demands.
• Increased effort with anxiety and fatigue.
• Low moral and loss of illusions.
• Loss of vocation.
65% of the population is unhappy with the doctor-patient relationship. During a consultation many times there is a lack of dialogue due to the lack of available time, leading the professional to a fast and de-personalized attention span. This situation negatively influences some patients and doctors.
The number of workers at a place is also related to the emotional tiredness, lack of personal growth and development of the syndrome, specially in hospital environments when the number of workers is greater than 1000, perhaps due to the lack of communication or the lack of support groups.
Regarding gender, all studies agree that females are the most frequently affected, perhaps because of the double charge of the professional practice and the familiar work involved.
Marital status has also been associated to burnout although there is no consensus regarding this. Single, widowed or divorced women show a greater emotional tiredness, less personal achievement and greater de-personalization than women who are married or in a stable relationship.
Some authors mention a lesser predisposition to burnout in people with children, due to the greater responsibility that this implies, but the studies carried out do not show a significant difference.
There is an important relationship between burnout and work overload in health care professionals, with a major development of the syndrome in those looking after a high number of patients and specially within nursing staff when they look after more than 20 patients and when the length of working hours is more than 40 hours per week.
What can we do for burnout?
At personal level:
• Try to provide the professional with new scientific knowledge.
• Stimulate the development of a life outside work, time for sports, hobby’s, recreation, increase of the social circle etc.
At Group level:
. Train in conflict resolution.
• Try to assume group team mentality.
• Stimulate team work.
• Try to establish self help groups.

The aromatherapy treatment of a client with burnout will depend primarily on a correct clinical assessment of their spiritual, mental, physical and emotional needs and the personalized choice of oils encompassing these areas. Depending on the severity the choice of oils should be narrowed down to those containing esters and aldehydes in their molecule, as these two molecules are the most suitable for targeted treatments.
Another good therapeutic choice includes some absolutes which using a subtle vibrational aromatic methods of application are well known for lifting depression of a mild to moderate type. Amongst these rose, linden blossom, boronia, neroli, osmanthus and violet leaf have produced remarkable results.
This blend will help you to gain more insight about your needs and wants, and achieve the balance you need to become more self-accepting.
Sandalwood Santalum album 3 drops
Juniper Juniperus communis 1 drop
Cypress Cupressus sempervirens 1 drop
Cedarwood Cedrus atlantica 1 drop
Carrier oil 9.7 ml = 194 drops
Total amount of 3% blend = 10ml
Take a 10-ml violer, amber or cobalt blue glass bottle, and place in it the essential oils in the order in which they are listed. Replace the lid and roll the bottle between your palms for about 30 seconds, and th en add the jojoba base oil. Once again replace the lid and roll between your palms.
• Valerian Valeriana officinalis E.O. 2 drops
• Geranium Pelargonium graveolens E.O. 4 drops
• Bergamot leaves Citrus bergamia E.O. 4 drops
• Base oil of Corylus avellana (Hazelnut) 19.5 ml
• Base oil of Prunus amigdalinus (Sweet almond) 20ml

Take a 10-ml violer, amber or cobalt blue glass bottle, and place in it the essential oils in the order in which they are listed. Replace the lid and roll the bottle between your palms for about 30 seconds, and then add the jojoba base oil. Once again replace the lid and roll between your palms.
Berganot Citrus bergamia E.O. 5 drops
Lavender Wild Lavandula angustifolia E.O. 5 drops
Lavandin Lavandula X intermedia E.O. 5 drops
Himalayan Cedarwood Cedrus deodora E.O. 5 drops
Lavender hydrosol 40ml
Total amount of blend: 41ml
Take a 10-ml a,ber pr cpba;t b;ue g;assbottle, and place in it the essential oils in the order in which they are listed. Replace the lid and roll the bottle between your palms for about 30 seconds, and then add the jojoba base oil. Once again replace the lid and roll between your palms.
You can use this blend in the bath. For your bath add 10 drops of the above blends to your bath water.
Ylang yland extra Cananga odorata forma genuina E.O. 5 drops
True Lavender Lavandula angustifolia E.O. 5 drops
Roman Chamomile Chamoemelum nobile E.O. 5 drops
Red Pine Pinus pinaster E.O. 5 drops
Chamomile Hydrolat 40 ml

Rose Rosa damascena E.O. 2 drops
Bergamot Citrus bergamia E.O. 4 drops
St. John’s Wort Hypericum perforatum E.O. 3 drops
This diffuser blend may be placed in a cold water diffuser in the room and gently allow the fragrance to fill the environment and produce it’s effect.
** A small piece of rose quartz crystal should be added to the bottle with the above formulations

Author's Bio: 

Vivian Nadya Lenart de Lunny qualified as an MD in 1973, later she followed specialisation studies in Cardiology and Pathology in Bolivia, Argentina and the UK She then obtained Postgraduate Diplomas in Holistic and Scientific Aromatherapy Colour Therapy, Psychotronics and Reiki II. She was awarded a Doctorate in Alternative Medicine in 1991.
Currently she lives with her family in Canada. She is a well known international Aromatherapy and Holistic Medicine Consultant, Author and Educator.
Vivian has served on the Executive Council of the |International Federation of Aromatherapists from 1991 to 1999, a Fellow and joint Director of the English Societe de L’Institut P. Franchomme. Her main interests lay in the fields of Aromatherapy and Vibrational Medicine (including colour and crystals) Education and Clinical Research, as she feels they go hand in hand.
Dr. Lunny may be contacted by phone or fax:
1(country code) 604 568 7303
E mail or at her website at: