UPDATE: Doctor warns essential oils aren't for everyone

Doctors cutting back on prescribing pain meds

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - UPDATE FEB. 6: I've been watching Joyce's emails and it might be good to title this something like, "Three people local doctor says should avoid essential oils."

Henderson Hospital is using alternatives for pain management including essential oils, but doctors say these aren't for everyone.

Jessica Vargas is a mom who swears by essential oils. She uses them on her son and herself.

"I served in the Marine Corp and I have a lot of joint pain and I have trouble sleeping sometimes, so I actually rely on my essential oils rather than going to pharmaceuticals," said Vargas.

Essential oils are not only used for pain and sickness. Some people use them just to lift their moods.

"I'll use essential oils for emotional balance as well in my life so before doing this [interview] I use more of a calming type oil," said Jaqi York, a massage therapist at the Salt Room in Summerlin.

Doctors have one big concern.

"The problem is our skin is delicate, our respiratory linings are delicate, and we do need to study it," said Dr. Daliah Wachs, a board-certified family physician.

Without enough clinical research, experts say three kinds of people should stay away from essential oils: people who have trouble breathing, pregnant women, and those who are taking prescription drugs.

"You may like the smell, you may like the way it feels, but keep in mind everything is a chemical and these are all emitting chemicals," said Dr. Wachs.

When in doubt, ask your doctor before you breathe in deeply.

ORIGINAL STORY: A valley hospital is trying to tackle the opioid epidemic. 

Henderson Hospital has found a way to cut back on how often they prescribe pain killers, like Oxycodone, and instead, offer more unique and holistic alternatives, like essential oils.  

This year, a new law went into effect aimed at tackling the opioid epidemic across the state.  Essentially, it adds extra steps a doctor has to take before prescribing pain medication.  

The medical staff at Henderson Hospital says they're already one step ahead of the game. 

"The most important thing is we want to address the individual patient's needs," says Chief Nursing Officer, Tina Koker. 

They've come up with unique alternatives to pain management. You'll notice diffusers in the waiting areas, essential oils offered after surgery, and music playing in the background.  

Koker says doctors will still prescribe pain medication when medically necessary, but they now try to offer the alternatives whenever possible.  

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