ROCHESTER, Minn. - Our sense of smell is known for triggering memories but did you know it can also be a sense of comfort to provide relief from a variety of ailments.
Mayo Clinic uses Aromatherapy in it's Integrated Medicine unit to help relieve patients symptoms, offering an alternative to prescriptions.
The essential oil packets providers hand out to patients are tiny, but they pack a powerful punch of relief. In total there are six scents offered: mandarin, lemon, frankincense, spearmint, ginger, and lavender.
"The first ones we started out with were lavender. Lavender of course is the mother of all oils and it's known for relaxation," said Nancy Rodgers, an Aroma and Massage Therapist at Mayo Clinic.
Rodgers tells KIMT patients piqued the medical facility's curiosity when it came to using the natural remedies.
"They (patients) were bringing in whole kits, bottles and diffusers so we said well we need to start figuring out what's going on here and how can we step in and make this more safe for our patients."
Centuries old, holistic healing offers relief from depression, anxiety, an upset stomach and much more with "popping pills".
Integrated Health Specialist Sue Cutshall, believes the options empower patients.
"For some patients it might be something they could start with first and then if they are still not getting management of the symptoms can use the medications with that as well," said Cutshall.
The packets patients receive contain one cotton ball with two drops of essential oil on it. Along with informational packets, they are instructed to wave the cotton ball under their nose for five to ten minutes, inhale deeply and repeat the process about an hour later.
"When we give these to patients we tell them to seal it - cause it can last up for a week when they go home," explained Rodger, while referencing the small essential oil packets they give to patients.
If you're looking to use essential oils at home a quick stop at most Co-ops and you'll find a large selection. Rodgers offered some tips on selecting a safe brand of oils for your at-home uses, including if you plan to use a diffuser.
"If it just says therapeutic grade oil - it's probably really not. Some companies used synthetics to make it smell like peppermint or lavender and those are the products patients or people are going to react adversely too.
Rodgers recommends looking for a label that says "organic", lists the latin or botanical name on it, and is stored in a dark colored bottle.
While there are oils labeled as being safe to ingest, Cutshall does not encourage it saying not a lot of research has been done to support the practice and it's not known how it will interact with medications you may be taking.
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