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‘The world was sterile’: Woman says Olfactory Training Kit helped regain her sense of smell after COVID-19

Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 5:18 PM CST
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DETROIT LAKES, M.N. (Valley News Live) - One of the most recognizable symptoms of COVID-19 is losing your sense of taste and smell. For some, it’s a side effect that lingers long after their battle with COVID-19 is over.

It’s been almost a year since Sandy Seregin was diagnosed with COVID-19. She said her worst symptom was intense congestion that ‘felt like cement’ in her sinuses. However, one morning she woke up and couldn’t smell anything.

“Everything was gone,” Seregin recalled, “The world was completely sterile.”

A few days later she realized her world had been turned upside down when she woke up to fire alarms going off.

“I wasn’t able to assess if there was an immediate danger or if there was a false alarm,” she said.

Seregin said she began feeling like a child who needed adult supervision. A family member, fearing for her safety, began researching ways to help Seregin get her smell back. The research led them to Koru Oils, an essential oils business based in Detroit Lakes, MN.

Professional Aromatherapist Janna Setterholm said her journey with essential oils started long before the pandemic. As a medical massage therapist, she said she heard the benefits the oils can bring, but she was skeptical.

“I was concerned it was a pseudoscience and it was just a placebo effect,” Setterholm explained.

She enrolled at the American College of Healthcare Sciences where she learned you can retrain the body how to perceive smells. One year into the pandemic, Setterholm began selling Olfactory Training Kits.

“Florals, citrus, spicy, resinous which are four primary receptors we have in our brain,” she said.

Setterholm said the kit is used like physiotherapy: you exercise your sense of smell twice a day for twelve weeks. She said you take a deep breath in while smelling lemon, clove, rose, and eucalyptus and think of what you remember they smell like.

“The neurons in your brain reconnect that disconnect,” explained Setterholm.

When Seregin first decided to give the kit a try, she said the eucalyptus smelt like bleach to her. She stuck with the training and slowly started regaining her sense of smell.

“I know that this helps me because when I stop it goes away, and when I pick it up again, I not only gain what I lost, but after a week I start gaining new smells,” said Seregin.

She said it’s something she is thankful she finally has control over again.

“It really makes you realize how much your sense of smell informs your safety.”

Koru Oils Olfactory Training Kits sell for $29.

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