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Medical Aromatherapy - Part 3
Examiner.com - SF Holistic Health Examiner (April 19, 2010)
Written by Kathleen Lamoureux
Elizabeth Van Buren, the aromatherapy company in Santa Cruz, profiled in Medical Aromatherapy - part 2 is providing GC/MS tested essential oils for use in Hospice. One California Hospice started with the use of peppermint, lavender and grapefruit. Soon the patients were asking for more and eventually the essential oils were being used by grief counselors, social workers, home health care, massage therapists, spiritual teams, directors, nurses and doctors in skilled nursing facilities.
Esther Johnson, RN, BSN, PHN, CHPN is the Integrative Therapies Program Director for Pathways Home Health & Hospice, Sunnyvale, California. Esther is a recognized expert in introducing and training other clinicians about complementary and alternative medicines, and is also a clinical hypnotherapist, certified imagery guide, certified acutonics practitioner and energy work practitioner. She is currently enrolled in the College of Botanical Healing Arts aromatherapy certification program in Santa Cruz.
During our interview, Esther told me that she is using essential oil therapy on her patients through her work with Pathways. The most common reasons to use essential oils on hospice patients are for nausea, vomiting, pain, anxiety, depression and oedema. She uses only 4 essential oils that are purchased from Elizabeth Van Buren by Hospice on her patients. Those 4 essential oils are lavender, grapefruit, peppermint and a blend called Transition. Transition is a synergy blend which has six essential oils including sandalwood, rose and frankincense that comforts the patient by calming the nervous system, relieves discomfort, soothes the mind, opens the heart chakra, uplifts the spirit and relaxes the body. Esther told me that she cannot keep enough of the Transitions blend on the shelves and that the essential oils are kept locked up.
Once the needs of the patient are determined, Esther will decide on the essential oil or oils to be used, how often and through which modality. The various methods for use of essential oils on patients can include hand, foot and neck massage and lymphatic drainage.
The essential oils are not sold to the patient or family members. However, family members are provided with various sources where they can purchase their own essential oils. Going the extra mile, Esther instructs the family members on how to use the essential oils on their loved ones in her absence.
Essential oil therapy has a tremendously positive effect on the various symptoms a hospice patient experiences and there is valuable evidence from many professionals who work with these patients to support the fact that the essential oils do provide many benefits on the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels.
Esther Johnson's work in the medical aromatherapy field is certainly making a huge difference in the lives of patients who are transitioning from this life, and for their family members. The world needs more people like Esther because not all Hospices are using essential oil therapy. They need the voice of someone like her who champions for the therapeutic use of the essential oils in the Integrative Therapy Programs, and sometimes this involves fundraising or grant writing for the funding to obtain the essential oils.
For more information about the use of essential oil therapy and the Hospice locations that Esther serves, visit the Pathways Hospice website.
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