Aromatherapy making inroads at UVM Medical Center

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Aromatherapy has been around for thousands of years, and it's now starting to make its way more into modern medicine as doctors use the age-old technique to help their patients.

At Lunaroma Aromatic Apothecary in Burlington there are hundreds of essential oils and owner Leyla Bringas works with customers to find the right fit, whether they're stressed, tired or just looking for a fresh scent.

"As a holistic therapy, we take into consideration everything that an individual is dealing with at the time," Bringas said.

Essential oils are steamed, distilled extract of plant material, whether it be things like lavender, rosemary or a mix.

"Different essential oils do different things and many essential oils do similar things but the way that they do it is different," Bringas said.

And while staff at Lunaroma can't recommend to cure, treat or prevent any disease, doctors at the University of Vermont Medical Center say essential oils can have benefits when it comes to helping pain, anxiety and even depression.
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"It seems to work in the acute setting very well. We don't know how long the effects last for, so as you're breathing it in you have that effect," said the hospital's Dr. Kitty Victoria.

The oils can be inhaled but also used through a diffuser, dilluted and applied to the skin, used in bath products, or even used as air fresherners. Victoria says UVMMC is working to create a policy that would use essential oil patches that attach to clothing to help patients. She says they have seen good results with essential oils helping patients through paintful procedures, but she adds that there is no standard for the content or quality of the different oils, making them difficult to study

"Just sort of see what makes you feel good, what makes you happy, what associates a good positive emotion, and that will probably be something that you'll derive a benefit from," Victoria said.

She says they are hoping to do more research in the future, specifically on the benefits of acupressure and aromatherapy.