Alternative medicine is offered now in quite a number of medical schools. I think a lot of hard-core scientists and doctors who have been trained in that data-oriented scientific approach are realizing there’s more to heaven and earth than we really know about. Still, Peterson admits that empirical evidence is necessary for widespread acceptance: This is such a new area that there are a lot of studies at this point that aren’t reproducible. Even though there’s been some interesting work done in Japan and Germany, it’s one thing to get results once. But it doesn’t appear that researchers have been able to duplicate these results again. While I believe there’s a scientific basis for aromatherapy, and enough basis to show that physiological reactions occur in the body when individuals inhale certain fragrances, there’s also a tremendous range of subjective reasons for reactions.
For instance, If someone’s had a negative experience with fragrances in the past, and it’s caused anxiety, that person will react negatively, even though other people may react positively. Smell the Roses Generally, insofar as odors and topical essential-oil preparations are pleasurable, they are healthful. Consumers don’t need to be told what smells good. And which odors evoke pleasant thoughts in an individual is knowable only personally. But consumers ought to be told what’s risky and what’s unfounded. Aromatherapists and marketers of aromatherapy products do not seem reliable sources of such information. Popular and higher-education acceptance of a method is not evidence that the method has therapeutic utility.
As a health system, aromatherapy is largely unsubstantiated. Sniffing Out Aromatherapy Noted herbal-medicine expert Varro Tyler, Ph.D, Sc.D., an ACSH Advisor, states that the cons of aromatherapy far outnumber the pros. He cites the problem created by different definitions of aromatherapy. He also cites the confusing of aromatherapywhose focus is health improvementwith aromacology, whose focus is mood alteration. The descriptions below illustrate the definition problem. aroma-spa therapy: Subject of a textbook of the same name (Anessence Inc., 1996), by massage therapist Anne Roebuck, of Toronto, Canada.
Apparently, aroma-spa therapy is the practice of aromatherapy as a part of spa therapy, which Roebuck describes in the introduction as therapeutic face and body treatments at a spa location. aroma-tology: Form of aromatherapy that includes using essential oils to re-form character and to enhance spirituality. Prof. William Arnold-Taylor, an Aromatherapist, coined the name aroma-tology in 1981. cosmetic aromatherapy: Topical use of skin- and hair-care products that contain essential oils. magical aromatherapy: Offshoot of aromatherapy expounded by author Scott Cunningham (1956-1993) and distinguished by the following attributes.
(a) Self-administration is preferable. (b) Aims need not relate to health. (c) Visualization of a needed change accompanies inhalation of a scent. (d) Bioelectrical energy, which Cunningham described as non-physical and natural, merges with the scent and is programmable by visualization. massage aromatherapy: Application during a massage therapy session of a vegetable oil to which an essential oil has been added.
Massage alone will tone flaccid muscles, reduce muscle spasm and improve circulation. It has also been demonstrated that massage releases endorphins-the body’s natural pain killers2. The experience of massage can be either stimulating or calming depending on the techniques used. There are contra-indications to massage, for instance people being given anti-coagulant drugs (massage causes haemodilution). Therefore some basic training is essential for anyone massaging people suffering from medical conditions. olfactory aromatherapy: Direct or indirect inhalation of essential oils.
Olfactory aromatherapy allegedly unlocks odor memories and encourages realignment of natural forces within the body. phytoaromatherapy: Form of aromatherapy that uses essential oils and purportedly acts simultaneously on four human features: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Subtle Aromatherapy: Form of vibrational healing (vibrational medicine) expounded by Patricia Davis in her 1991 book of the same name. Subtle Aromatherapy is any use of essential oils with the purported aim of: (a) healing the physical body by affecting the subtle body (energetic body), or (b) contributing to personal and spiritual growth. Using Essential Oils Essential oils are concentrated extracts that may come from various parts of a plant, including the blossoms, roots or leaves. Most are volatile, which means they readily evaporate.
This makes them easy for us to smell; it also means they can be flammable. Because they are so concentrated, essential oils typically need to be diluted before use. They may be used singly, or some may be used in combination to produce complementary effects. In aromatherapy, essential oils are used in two ways: They are inhaled through the nose or applied to the skin. When inhaled through the nose, the aromatic molecules of the essential oils are thought to stimulate the olfactory nerve, sending messages to the brains limbic system.
The limbic system is the part of the brain that controls memory and emotion. Researchers believe that when the limbic system is stimulated, it can affect the nervous, endocrine and immune systems. Inhalation of essential oils also can impact the respiratory system directly. For instance, some oils from the eucalyptus plant can help clear the sinuses and respiratory tract and, thereby, help fight respiratory . When applied to the skin, essential oils are absorbed into the body.
Some oils have physical effects, such as relieving swelling or fighting fungal infections. Others are used primarily for their emotional value, to promote relaxation or generate a positive or soothing feeling. Inhaling Essential Oils The simplest way to inhale an essential oil is to sniff the undiluted oil itself. (You should not get the liquid into your nose; rather, sniff the air above the oil, as you might when checking the scent of a perfume.) There are many other ways to inhale essential oils, including the following: Sniff a mixture that contains oil, such as a perfume, lotion or bubble bath.
Spray the oil into the air. For instance, add a few drops of oil to a spray bottle of water, then use the spray as an air freshener. Disperse the oil with a diffuser, which heats water, typically using a light bulb, a candle or a stove burner. When you add a few drops of essential oil to the water, the heat causes molecules of the oil to enter the air, scenting it. Add a drop of oil to your pillowcase so youll smell the oil as you sleep. Burn a candle scented with an essential oil.
Applying Oils to Your Skin To apply essential oil to your skin, always dilute the essential oil first, such as in a carrier oil. Use a pure, unperfumed vegetable oil, such as soybean oil or almond oil, as your carrier oil. (Chemicals in synthetic oils may interfere with the properties of your essential oil and with your bodys absorption of the oil.) The scented carrier oil then can be massaged into the skin. You also can apply essential oils to your skin using these methods: Mix the oil with warm water, soak a cloth in the water, then apply the cloth as a compress.
Add oil to a warm bath and soak for at least 15 minutes. Add oil to an unperfumed, vegetable-based lotion or cream to rub into your skin. (As with carrier oils, do not use a synthetic product or a product that already is perfumed.) Diluting Essential Oils For oils, lotions or creams applied directly to the skin, adults generally should use essential oils diluted to two to three parts per hundred. For instance, for one cup (48 teaspoons) of carrier oil, add about one teaspoon of essential oil.
Children and anyone with sensitive skin should use a dilution half as strong about one to one-and-a-half parts per hundred (or one-half teaspoon of essential oil per cup of carrier oil). For baths and diffusers, try adding about six drops of oil to the water. For air-freshening water sprays, try three drops. Remember, the concentration of essential oils may vary, depending on the brand you choose. Start slowly, gradually adding just enough oil to achieve the level of aroma you desire. Essential oils usually are sold in small bottles with droppers so that you can add oil drop by drop.