Essential Oils: Offering therapeutic and health benefits

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Many people are using essential oils in homemade cleaning products, as perfumes and medicines.

Nurse Kayla Wulf at Ballard Gynecology says the use of oils are a growing trend.

“Yes, essential oil use is becoming more and more popular as people seek out alternative health cares," Wulf says.

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years and now seem to be gaining momentum with the aim of improving people’s health and moods.

Wulf says the oils have many uses.

"There have been studies done that prove that they can be useful in simple things, such as toothaches or headaches,” Wulf says. “But also in more complex things. Like post-operative nausea or even pain sensory. And combating multi-drug resistant bacteria that people have been infected with.”

A range of essential oils have been found to have various degrees of antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal activity, as well as antioxidant properties. And Wulf says these oils are relatively easy to get your hands on.

"Essential oils are widely available,” she says. “They're available at big-box stores, in natural food stores and also even at in-home parties. However, you want to be sure that you are finding oils that are certified ‘pure therapeutic grade’. That means that that company ensures that every bottle of oil that you get is pure.”

Essential oils have also been found to improve a person’s mood. A study done within Vanderbilt University Medical Center found that when oils were diffused throughout the hospital, staff seemed to benefit. Their stress levels came down and feelings of being overwhelmed also diminished.

Within Ballard Gynecology in Rapid City, diffusers are also placed throughout the building. Wulf says that the patients experience a similar sense of relaxation.

"Patients really enjoy it,” she says. “We have found that their attitude changes a little bit when they come in. We tend to diffuse happy, energizing oils -- or if we are doing a procedure in the office, we will use oils that tend to be more relaxing. And oftentimes patients comment that they are enjoying the smell or that they did actually feel more relaxed during their procedure."

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