TAKE A DEEP BREATH

Milwaukee Magazine - - INSIDER -

If you think aro­mather­apy is sim­ply an in­dul­gence that you tack onto a spa treat­ment, think again.

Health care pro­fes­sion­als are in­creas­ingly turn­ing to es­sen­tial oils to treat con­di­tions rang­ing from headaches to in­sect bites, and laven­der is al­ready widely used to al­le­vi­ate anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion and grief, as well as to treat sleep prob­lems.

And now, a new clin­i­cal trial at Au­rora Health Care’s Neu­ro­science In­no­va­tion In­sti­tute in Milwaukee is us­ing laven­der aro­mather­apy to help re­lax pa­tients un­der­go­ing brain surgery while awake.

Au­rora neu­ro­sur­geon Dr. Richard Rovin says laven­der has been proven to work in pre-op­er­a­tive set­tings. “But we hadn’t looked at it dur­ing surgery as a way to com­fort the pa­tient and re­duce anx­i­ety,” he says. “We are re­ally thrilled with the ef­fect it is hav­ing.”

Rovin is work­ing with mem­bers of the Au­rora’s In­te­gra­tive Medicine Team to di­rect the trial, which in­cludes 30 pa­tients. It’s go­ing well enough that Au­rora likely will con­tinue to of­fer aro­mather­apy in all awake brain surg­eries when the trial con­cludes, Rovin says.

The laven­der is of­fered to pa­tients in an in­haler every 30 min­utes, if they feel a need for it, dur­ing awake surg­eries to re­move brain tu­mors, in ad­di­tion to the lo­cal anes­thetic and mild in­tra­venous fluid for se­da­tion. Keep­ing the pa­tient awake al­lows for com­mu­ni­ca­tion, which makes the surg­eries much safer, Rovin says. “I can iden­tify any sub­tle changes in the pa­tient, since we are get­ting con­stant feed­back from them. We can op­er­ate with more con­fi­dence.”

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