After a number of opinions regarding the essence and use of aromatherapy have been expressed, it is more difficult to decide if it is a helpful procedure or not. Though people’s suggestions concerning this form of medicine are either radically for or against it, these are not true statements. Taking into account the facts provided by the researchers of aromatherapy, I suppose that it may be useful only as an additional tool of relaxation or of other procedures, while it is useless when employed on its own to overcome stress, depression and mood disorders.
It is worth considering skeptically the proofs the ones who support aromatherapy and consider it to be a magic pill from numerous problems and those who deny its efficiency by emphasizing the cases when the patients were given inappropriate dosage. In order to avoid these opposite positions, one should understand that each type of essential oil has its own mechanism of action, dosage and effects on human physical and psychological wellbeing. As aromatherapy involves essential oils of different chemical content, some of them may be harmful, while the others might become useful.
For instance, the individuals who have troubles with sleep are recommended to have aromatherapy sessions with lavender oil. However, the ones who are not alert enough, week and depressed should not use it because it slows the reactions of their brain and worsens their general condition. To check if particular essential oils are appropriate for certain individuals, trying various ones and watching the results would be the most helpful. In case the person experiences positive changes, the kind of essential oils under examination fits him/her and, consequently, aromatherapy becomes useful and helpful for this individual.
Apart from analyzing the debates of the scientists regarding positive and adverse effects of aromatherapy, it is necessary to take into account its price. It is an industry that is oriented on the audience unaware of the true mechanism of its action. While microbiological and physiological experiments are being conducted in order to identify true consequences of aromatherapy, people are getting more and more money from the ones who believe in miracle effects of essential oils. For example, there are approximately 200 aromatherapy companies in the USA, among which one of the oldest firms has already existed for 26 years.
Such a variety of organizations that manufacture essential oils demonstrates that it is rather beneficial business. In addition, it is important to notice that not only essential oils are sold, but also the idea of the aromatherapy helpfulness that can be useful for every individual. For instance, National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy provides a great amount of services and goods for the clients. Apart from essential oils, it offers consultations with aromatherapy professionals and sells books and journals with instructions concerning the most effective use of essential oils for sufficient price (“National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy”). This fact proves that one may suspect that the enormous attention of pseudo-scientists paid towards aromatherapy is aimed at persuading people in its effectiveness that results in growth of the sales.
The above-mentioned fact allows viewing skeptically the studies, in which the effect of aromatherapy can not be distinguished from the influence of other procedures and factors that may promote the improvement of the patient’s condition. It means that in some studies, it is impossible to identify ‘clear’ impact of aromatherapy while the effect of additional procedures such as massage, music, comfortable body location and other relaxing tools may be mistakenly considered as the beneficial action of essential oils. Therefore, instead of confirming their miracle effects after the massage with such oils, one should critically evaluate the influence of different factors.
However, when it comes to clear evidence regarding the effectiveness of essential oils, it is worth restoring the studies from the field of microbiology. For instance, the research Antibacterial Activity of Essential Oils and Their Major Constituents Against Respiratory Tract Pathogens by Gaseous Contact by Inouye, Takizawa and Yamaguchi (2001) measures antibacterial characteristics of certain oils. The scientists have discovered that the vapors of these substances help to mitigate asthma and have anti-inflammatory effect on the trachea, while essential oils vial inhalation therapy is effective in treating acute sinusitis and chronic bronchitis (566). As the researchers have provided observable evidence of essential oils’ positive effect on human body, it is more difficult to claim that aromatherapy is nothing more than a successful business initiative. In case the scientists give the material in which the details of experiment are identified and clear impact of some essential oils is estimated, it is necessary to analyze aromatherapy issues from the epistemological perspective.
All in all, on the one hand, studies that confirm aromatherapy effectiveness have significant limitation – absence of opportunity to identify its effects without considering the influence of additional factors. However, on the other hand, microbiological studies provide a clear evidence of the effectiveness of essential oils in, at least, antibacterial field. In addition, the experiments that analyze the brain activity before, during and after aromatherapy sessions prove that certain essential oils considerably enhance or decrease it. The objective data of electroencephalogram and microbiological evidence prove that aromatherapy may be employed in an effective way. Nevertheless, it is worth remembering that the employment of the essential oils appropriately as the additional tool of treatment completely differentiates from the naive belief in the their efficiency after massage sessions where they are used. Correct application of essential oils may be useful for human health, but it is necessary to critically evaluate company’s attempts to sell their expensive aromatherapy products.
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