PHOENIX -- Essential oils are a booming business with the industry, bringing in about $1 billion annually in revenue.
What is an essential oil, you ask? It's a natural oil that is found in the seeds, leaves, stems, roots and flowers of plants. They are becoming increasingly popular as people look for alternatives to traditional medicine.
For those looking to experience essential oils, there are several reputable oil companies to choose from. Brooke Oshell is an independent consultant for Young Living Essential Oils. She said there's more to these oils than just smelling pretty.
"It's more than aromatherapy," she said. "I apply it topically to my body, to my wrist and to the bottom of my feet because the largest pores on your body are on your feet. Therefore the fastest and quickest absorption is through your feet."
Young Living said it takes 21 minutes for its oils to get to every cell in your body.
Many studies have been published on the effects of essential oils on the mind. Oshell said she's experienced it for herself.
"It's a natural and alternative way of healing to help manage stress," she said. "These oils have helped me overcome a lot. I don't take anti-depressants anymore."
Oshell has a 12-year-old daughter with Tourette's Syndrome and has been treating her with several essential oils.
"She is now off two of her three medications. She was prescribed an anti-depressant to help manage the anxiety she has from having Tourette's and worrying about other people and how they see her. I now use five different essential oils to help calm her down and allow her to relax. She still takes one medication to help control her ticks but I'm so happy with what these oils have meant to my daughter and my family."
It's important to note that these oils are not a substitution for medical care but many doctors believe they go hand and hand with it. Dr. James Geiger, an anesthesiologist and chair of credentials at Banner Desert Hospital and Cardons Children's Hospital in Mesa, is one of those.
"I'm very convinced that it works in my setting as well as in many other health settings," he said. "Around the world, there is so much new and improved research involving humans in clinical trials in many different areas of healthcare where the oils are very effective."
Geiger started using essential oils in his practice nearly 15 years ago.
"I first became aware of it in the recovery room when a nurse was using peppermint to treat nausea," he said. "She asked, 'Can I offer you some peppermint oil' and it caught me by surprise. I mean what is that about?"
Geiger was open to the idea and when he saw the benefits his patients received from the oils, he was hooked.
"It works," he said. "It has also changed my practice remarkably by being able to relate to people on a different level after you've done the hard thing, which may be an anesthesia consent for a cancer surgery."
Cindy Via, the senior registered nurse manager for cardiac rehabilitation at Banner Desert Hospital, said all patients can experience essential oils inside the hospital.
"Every nurse has the opportunity to visit the patient and see if they would like to experience aromatherapy," she said.
Via said it helps with a lot of ailments patients are dealing with in a hospital setting.
"They can be helpful in addressing a wide range concerns such as anxiety, stress, pain and inflammation."
Gieger said oils have become so mainstream that he now has patients asking him if he uses them. Banner is now exploring the idea of using them with kids at Cardon Children's Hospital.
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