Many people use aromatherapy as a form of healing as people have believed that it provides several health benefits. But now, research has shown that this alternative therapy does not in actual fact improve one’s health, rather it just enhances one’s mood.
This study was conducted using two popularly used scents- lemon and lavender which are used by a number of Aromatherapy practitioners. The study did not find either of these scents to show any improvement in immune status, wound healing or pain control.
A past study however showed that aromatherapy could help to ease Arthritis pain.
The lemon aroma was however found to enhance the study participants’ moods in a positive way, while the lavender had no effect on reported mood, based on three psychological tests.
“We all know that the placebo effect can have a very strong impact on a person’s 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.
“This is probably the most comprehensive study ever done in this area, but the human body is infinitely complex,”’ stated William Malarkey, professor of internal medicine and co-author of the study.
“The wound healing experiments measured how fast the skin could repair itself. Keep in mind that a lot of things have to take place for that healing process to succeed. We measured a lot of complex physiological interactions instead of just a single marker, and still we saw no positive effect,” said Ronald Glaser, professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics and fellow researcher.
The study concluded that 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.