June 10, 2009
Contact: Melissa DelaCalzada
San Diego Hospice
619-278-6139 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ancient Healing Art Part of Innovative Care at San Diego Hospice
Aromatherapy provides wide range of benefits for patients and families
(San Diego) – In an increasingly stressful world, more people are turning to an ancient art to promote health and healing. Aromatherapy, the therapeutic use of essential oils and fragrance, has enjoyed enormous growth and acceptance over the last three years.
San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine has adopted the use of aromatherapy as part of an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to enhance and enrich the end of life for individuals with a life-limiting illness.
Rodney Schwan, an aromatherapy practitioner with 20 years of experience, first began offering aromatherapy to clients as a Hospice volunteer in 1997 as part of a grant funded program to explore the potential for this treatment. Schwan now works as a Hospice consultant, overseeing an extensive aromatherapy program in which treatments are customized according to a patient’s needs by an interdisciplinary team including physicians, nurses, chaplains, and other caregivers.
“Aromatherapy is a safe, high quality, therapeutic intervention backed by research to support the medical remedies we provide under medical supervision,” says Schwan.
“We comfort the patient and his or her family, ease symptoms and compliment the medical plan of care. We can effectively reduce the fear and tension related to pain. When we reduce tension, the patient can be better supported by other palliative measures.”
Schwan says there were many skeptics at first among the staff whether aromatherapy would provide much benefit. Through observation and many patient care testimonials, Schwan says he’s gained a lot of converts. “Our patients are simply more comfortable. It’s safe, and it’s effective. It’s such an impressive program.”
Aromatherapy at this level is as far from any “hocus-pocus” image people might have. “Aromatherapy is not perfume,” explains Schwan. “We are producing a safe, high quality therapeutic intervention with research to support the remedies we provide, under medical supervision and applied by a team. Our doctors and specialists have overseen the growth of this program for four years, and that’s why it’s become so successful.”
Amazingly, aromatherapy works even if a patient has no sense of smell. “There are topical means of delivering aromatherapy through the skin,” said Schwan.
Charles Lewis, M.D., Medical Director of the Inpatient Care Center at San Diego Hospice, says aromatherapy fits beautifully into the approach to patient care at San Diego Hospice. “We work to ensure a holistic approach to the treatment of our patients that is physical, emotional, and spiritual. Aromatherapy expands the tools we have available to help achieve this often complex and challenging goal,” said Dr. Lewis.
Schwan works with an onsite pharmacy that is the only compounding pharmacy in the United States, allowing him to create 4,000 individual aromatherapy remedies each year that treat anxiety, bridge communication, produce pain relief, infection and immune control, gastrointestinal care, and stress management. “We have very high standards of material management, and we make our own products under a growing body of research guidelines,” said Schwan.
Schwan says he commonly uses lavender, rose and neroli (orange blossom) for anxiety, frankincense to reduce fears, pine and sandalwood for respiratory comfort, and lemon to reduce malodor.
About San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine
San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine, the leader in the relief of suffering, is one of the 10 largest community-owned, not-for-profit hospices in the country, with the largest resource in the world for training palliative medicine physicians and other specialists. The organization brings compassionate, expert medical care to more than 1,000 seriously ill adults and children each day throughout San Diego County. More information is available online at www.sdhospice.org or call toll-free at 1-866-688-1600.