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Lincoln woman shares story of getting her sense of taste and smell back

Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their sense of smell and taste because of COVID-19.
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 5:11 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their sense of smell and taste because of COVID-19, and one Lincoln doctor is treating some of them, using just essential oils and the power of focus and meditation. This is a story 10/11 NOW first brought you last march, when the treatment was new in town. Now we’re following up and sharing a local success story.

“That was my first clue,” said Deborah Olivier, a smell retraining patient. “My husband would walk in and just be hit with all of the spices I’d be using and I realized wow, I needed to use more and more to really taste anything.”

For months and months, she said she just dealt with it, giving up some of her favorite foods, like steak. She said eating out didn’t excite her anymore.

“Then at some point I just decided this wasn’t acceptable and I needed to seek treatment,” said Oliver.

Oliver found CHI Health Otolaryngologist Aaron Robinson, who has been using essential oils to help Lincoln people regain their sense of smell.

“We’re re-training the nerves and the brain to recognize scents, it’s like physical therapy for your nose,” said Dr. Robinson.

The treatment uses four main essential oils; rose, eucalyptus, lemon and clove.

“I just take this little tray of oils and I take the oil and put it on a cotton ball and then I smell it,” said Oliver. “It’s very brief like 30 seconds.”

Deborah did this three times a day for ten weeks, and she is seeing results.

“The most important thing that’s back is coffee,” said Oliver. “Gotta taste the coffee, gotta smell the coffee.”

Dr. Robinson said he’s seen a near endless stream of new patients since the pandemic began, and about 60% are gaining their smell back.

“It’s an easy thing to do with zero risk so when it helps,” said Dr. Robinson. “It’s wonderful.”

Dr. Robinson said you don’t need to be supervised by a doctor to try this out, unless you want to rule out other causes. Just get the essential oils and smell them three times a day. He said consistency and focus is key.

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