Couple uses aromatherapy to promote recovery after surgery.
Jim McMichael received a lot of attention from nurses, caregivers and actually anyone who passed by his room during his recent stay at Renown Regional Medical Center. Why? Because his room smelled great.
Jim and his wife, Irby, diffused essential oils for aromatherapy while Jim was recovering in September from heart bypass surgery. Both McMichaels said that the often-running diffuser gave them peace of mind that Jim would be safe from infections during his stay.
“Looking back on it, the recovery was a much less traumatic experience,” Jim recalls. “And we’d have nurses coming in and sticking their heads in the door: ‘What is that? Oooh, that’s great!’”
“Everyone was really inquisitive,” adds Irby. “There was a lot of curiosity. It was like a magnet into our room, but in a positive way.”
The McMichaels, who have lived in the Reno-Tahoe area for 15 years, are avid healthcare news readers and admitted to being worried about Jim’s impending procedure. The couple has long used diffusers and essential oils to ward off the flu and to help with sleeping and wanted to reap the benefits of aromatherapy during Jim’s recovery.
The McMichaels worked with their friend Michaelle Van Meter, a professional aromatherapy consultant, to get the right essentials oils together. The mix included lavender (which Irby calls “Essential Oil 101” for its calming effect), frankincense and tea tree oil. Van Meter also recommended On Guard, a blend of wild orange essential oil, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary, known for its disinfectant properties.
There was more to the healing than just the natural oils being diffused, though. “Jim doesn’t remember being emotional before the surgery, but he was, and I was highly emotional. So, before he went in to surgery, and then several times while he was in the hospital room, I would take these same essential oils and rub his feet,” Irby says. “It was really relaxing and soothing for the both of us, so it became a routine.”
“Everyone says I’m doing great, and I seem to be on course,” says Jim. In fact, he’s back to riding motorcycles and taking hikes with no concerns. “I’m really pleased.”
And, the McMichaels are still using aromatherapy at home. Irby believes that more hospitals should adopt aromatherapy as a part of the recovery process. “It’s benign and effective.”