07.02.2019 – 14:07
Scents recognized as therapeutically relevant
Just follow your nose - how and when scents are therapeutically beneficial
As the saying goes, nature is the best medicine and an exciting scientific review now shows that this wisdom applies to essential oils too. The paper, published in the prestigious journal << Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental >>, shows how powerful specially formulated scents can be and sets straight some of the common misconceptions surrounding their use. The extremely complex sense of smell can be used to bring about drastic physical changes. Blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen and even stress hormones can be improved with just a few sniffs, or concentration and pain tolerance can be optimized within a very short time. However, this can only occur if scents are used correctly.
In several meticulously conducted studies with nearly 500 participants, the authors found out that aromatherapy can only cause physiological reactions when the scent molecules are (a) of high quality and (b) delivered directly to the olfactory receptors in the nose in high concentrations. The scientific evidence for the effectiveness of aromatherapeutic procedures thus far has been rather ambiguous primarily due to the fact most aromatherapeutic treatments deliver scents to the nose via the ambient air. This process, however, produces at best an atmosphere of wellbeing. The authors on the other hand, present a relatively simple, but very effective alternative that makes full use of the sense of smell's power: a lipstick-sized inhaler that delivers the essential oil molecules, highly concentrated, directly to the nose with each sniff. By doing so, various physiological systems can be influenced. Since these inhalers can be used quickly and easily almost everywhere, they are suited for many situations, e.g. in stressful situations at the workplace or in sports competitions. In fact, the authors have found that the reactions caused by the inhalers fall within an unusually high effect range which is seldom observed in scientific studies.
Schneider R, Singer N, Singer T (2018) Medical aromatherapy revisited-Basic mechanisms, critique, and a new development Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental https://doi.org/10.1002/hup.2683
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