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Aromatherapy may make you feel good, but it won't make you well
Date:3/3/2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio One of the most comprehensive investigations done to date on aromatherapy failed to show any improvement in either immune status, wound healing or pain control among people exposed to two often-touted scents.

While one of two popular aromas touted by alternative medicine practitioners lemon did appear to enhance moods positively among study subjects, the other lavender had no effect on reported mood, based on three psychological tests.

Neither lemon nor lavender showed any enhancement of the subjects immune status, nor did the compounds mitigate either pain or stress, based on a host of biochemical markers.

In some cases, even distilled water showed a more positive effect than lavender.

The study, published online in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, looked for evidence that such aromas go beyond increasing pleasure and actually have a positive medical impact on a persons health. While a massive commercial industry has embraced this notion in recent decades, little, if any, scientific proof has been offered supporting the products health claims.

We all know that the placebo effect can have a very strong impact on a persons health but beyond that, we wanted to see if these aromatic essential oils actually improved human health in some measurable way, explained Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University and lead author of the study.

The researchers chose lemon and lavender since they were two of the most popular scents tied to aromatherapy. Recently, two other studies focused on these same two scents.

For the study, Kiecolt-Glaser; Ronald Glaser, a professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics, and William Malarkey, professor of internal medicine, assembled a group of 56 healthy volunteers. These men and women were screened beforehand to confirm their ability to detect standard odors. Some were proponents of the m
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Contact: Jan Kiecolt-Glaser
kiecolt-glaser.1@osu.edu
614-292-0033
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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