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Aromatherapy May Not Work As You Have Always Thought

March 25th, 2010 · No Comments ·


Aromatherapy oils are used by some to combat a whole range of ailments including depression, insomnia, headache and even arthritis. Because of support from these users, health and beauty companies have been making millions off the soothing scents of these essential oils. Seldom people dispute about its effect, but the latest scientific finding has proved that these oils provide no physiological effect on people.

In a study, scientists assembled a group of 56 healthy volunteers. Each person took part in three half-day sessions where they were exposed to lemon and lavender scents. The study only used those lemon and lavender because they are among the most commonly used in aromatherapy. Lemon is a very stimulating, or activating scent whereas lavender is more of a relaxing scent. The researchers wanted to take contrasting scents.


Each participant was tested in advance to make sure that each had a normal sense of smell. Following are the tests conducted:

  1. The participants were asked to dunk their feet in ice cold 32 degree Fahrenheit water. This test was done to see whether the smell could help manage pain responses.
  2. Tape is applied and removed repeatedly on the same spot of skin. Then, with aromatherapy, time is taken to see how long the smell can help in healing.

Participants were monitored for blood pressure and heart rate during the experiments, and the researchers took regular blood samples from each volunteer.

Lemon scent did seem to improve mood somewhat, but lavender did nothing. Neither smell had any positive impact for stress, pain control or wound healing. So, scientists concluded that aromatherapy has no health benefits. I believe that it is the strong placebo effect that work which make people think aromatherapy works even though without real physical impact. My take is simple – aromatherapy will not hurt. No harm trying, but one should seek get medical advice when needed and not just rely on home remedies like aromatherapy.



Category: Health

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