Aromatherapy, a misnomer or reality
The practice of using essential oils taken from
plants, flowers, roots, seeds etc. for healing in called Aromatherapy.
French chemist ReneMaurice Gattefosse coined the term in the
According to Robert Todd Carrolls The Skeptics Dictionary,
the term is incorrect as aromas of oils, whether natural or
synthetic, are generally not therapeutic. Carroll states that
aromas are used to identify the oils, to determine adulteration,
to stir the memory, but not for healing purpose. It is the
essence of the oil its chemical properties that gives it whatever
therapeutic value the oil might have. Vapours are used in
some but not for all the cases of aromatherapy. In some cases
oil is rubbed onto the skin or ingested into tea or any other
liquid. Some consider cooking with herbs a type of aromatherapy.
As aromatherapists went on with dubious claims, Stephen Barrett,
MD, looked into these claims at QuackWatch.org. One of the
companies he looked at is Aroma Vera, Inc., of
Los Angeles. This company claims: essential oils have the
power to purify the air we breathe while they relax, stimulate,
soothe or sharpen our senses . . . a wonderful antidote to
the air pollution and scentsory imbalance of modern life.
It also claims inhaling the scents balances the biological
background, revitalizes the cells, and produces a strong energizing
effect on the sympathetic nervous system.
Joint Adventure, of Rogers, Arkansas, states that essential
oils can be used for "many different purposes from athletes
foot to enlightenment and almost every point between!"
One more practitioner is in Dr. Barretts growing dossier.
This practitioner claims that the technique addresses the
nervous system and the energy fields of the body. It soothes
the body, cleans the body, clears the body, and tones the
body. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy
by Valerie Ann Worwood, states there are about 300 essential
oils that constitute an extremely effective medical system.
In the Skeptics Dictionary, Carroll concludes: I would not
reject aromatherapy out of hand, however. When I have a cold
and a stuffy nose, Ill use Vicks VapoRub, a mixture of camphor,
menthol and eucalyptus oil. Strictly speaking, I suppose I
am a practicing aromatherapist. However, when I look at what
people who call themselves aromatherapists claim, I have to
conclude that aromatherapy is a mostly a pseudoscientific
alternative medical therapy. It is a mixture of folklore,
trial and error, anecdote, testimonial, New Age spiritualism
I agree with Carrolls findings. I recently bought a Marjoram
scent from Aromas Naturales, a company based in Spain and
with ISO 9001 certification. I first had my dad use it at
night, to test its claim that it will eliminate snoring. My
purchase had a 40day guarantee. Guess what? I ended up not
returning it, although I was highly skeptical at first. I
even bought another jar for myself.
Bottomline is, it hasnt totally eliminated snoring from what
my family members tell me, but it sure has eliminated a major
portion of it. And my mom attests to that. She sleeps better
now in my dads room.
About the Author:
Rilsto Mathe is the designer of Aromatherapy
Group Inc. which is the premier resource for aromatherapy
information. for more facts visit: http://www.aromatherapygroup.com