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How Medical Centers Use Essential Oils

See the exciting ways essential oils are being used in Vanderbilt’s Emergency Room to alleviate the “hospital smell” and relieve the stress of staff and patients.




Nashville, Tennessee – It’s one of the most stressful jobs on the planet. But, tonight the doctors and nurses at Vanderbilt’s emergency room are feeling calmer.

As Fox 17′s John Dunn Reports, “They are improving the mood and the smell at the same time.”

There is no denying hospitals have a certain odor.

“It makes you feel bad. It makes you feel sad. It brings back bad memories.”

“It’s kind of got a death smell to it, I guess. I’d say a funeral home.”

But inside Vanderbilt’s emergency room, “People say it smells like dream icicles, I’ve heard margaritas.”

The hospital smell has disappeared.

“This diffuser right now is diffusing lime.”

Scattered around are several essential oil diffusers, dispensing a therapeutic scent throughout the ER.

“It is very pleasant, fresh, and clean.”

The ER’s wellness committee decided to test the oils to not only improve the smell but also the work place.

“We wanted that would help decrees stress and help increase energy.”

The results are dramatic. According to their survey of more than one hundred ER staff members, before the oils 41% said they were stressed out at work. After the oils only 3% were stressed. Prior to aroma therapy 60% of ER staff members were frustrated at work. After a little oil 6%  felt frustrated.

Essential Oil Stats“The results were phenomenal just the before and after.”
At first there were plenty of skeptics not believing a drop here and drop there could really make a difference.

“Some people, I included thought it was, like, voodoo medicine, like, it’s never going to work.”

Now, nurses like Anna are using them at home.

“And it really is amazing.”

Vanderbilt’s ER may be the only one in the country diffusing essential oils. And supporters say if it’s working for staff, it could also help patients.

“Not make it as a medical treatment but a complimentary therapy for patients.”

There are many people who will tell you what a hospital is supposed to smell like.

“‘It’s not pine sole but it’s a smell.”

In Vanderbilt’s Emergency Room its Wild Orange, Lime, Lemon, and Citrus Bliss.

“I love anything we do for our staff to make them better. Because the better that we make our staff the better that our patients are going to be,” A change that definitely passes the smell test. John Dunn Fox 17 News

And, get this 84% of the nurses and doctors strongly agree inside Vanderbilt’s emergency room strongly agree that the oils contribute to a more positive work environment. The wellness committee plans to publish their results highlighting their success.

So, if you’re wondering how those essential oils work, when the oils are diffused into the air the aromatic molecules are inhaled. They interact with the body’s own factory nerves and the limbic system. The limbic system is directly connected the parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and other emotions. Scents have a powerful effect much like the smell of freshly baked cookies reminding someone of their grandmother.


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