Aromatherapeutic | Wikipedia audio article

Aromatherapeutic | Wikipedia audio article


Aromatherapy is a pseudoscience based on the
usage of aromatic materials, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds, with claims
for improving psychological or physical well-being. It is offered as a complementary therapy or
as a form of alternative medicine, the first meaning alongside standard treatments, the
second instead of conventional, evidence-based treatments.Aromatherapists, people who specialize
in the practice of aromatherapy, utilize blends of supposedly therapeutic essential oils that
can be used as topical application, massage, inhalation or water immersion. There is no good medical evidence that aromatherapy
can either prevent, treat, or cure any disease. Placebo-controlled trials are difficult to
design, as the point of aromatherapy is the smell of the products. There is disputed evidence that it may be
effective in combating postoperative nausea and vomiting.==History==
The use of essential oils for therapeutic, spiritual, hygienic and ritualistic purposes
goes back to ancient civilizations including the Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and
Romans who used them in cosmetics, perfumes and drugs. Oils were used for aesthetic pleasure and
in the beauty industry. It was a luxury item and a means of payment. It was believed the essential oils increased
the shelf life of wine and improved the taste of food. Oils are described by Dioscorides, along with
beliefs of the time regarding their healing properties, in his De Materia Medica, written
in the first century. Distilled essential oils have been employed
as medicines since the eleventh century, when Avicenna isolated essential oils using steam
distillation.In the era of modern medicine, the naming of this treatment first appeared
in print in 1937 in a French book on the subject: Aromathérapie: Les Huiles Essentielles, Hormones
Végétales by René-Maurice Gattefossé, a chemist. An English version was published in 1993. In 1910, Gattefossé burned a hand very badly
and later claimed he treated it effectively with lavender oil.A French surgeon, Jean Valnet,
pioneered the medicinal uses of essential oils, which he used as antiseptics in the
treatment of wounded soldiers during World War II.==Choice and purchase==
Oils with standardized content of components (marked FCC, for Food Chemicals Codex) are
required to contain a specified amount of certain aroma chemicals that normally occur
in the oil. There is no law that the chemicals cannot
be added in synthetic form to meet the criteria established by the FCC for that oil. For instance, lemongrass essential oil must
contain 75% aldehyde to meet the FCC profile for that oil, but that aldehyde can come from
a chemical refinery instead of from lemongrass. To say that FCC oils are “food grade” makes
them seem natural when they are not necessarily so. Undiluted essential oils suitable for aromatherapy
are termed ‘therapeutic grade’, but there are no established and agreed standards for
this category.Analysis using gas chromatography (GC) and mass spectrometry (MS) establishes
the quality of essential oils. These techniques are able to measure the levels
of components to a few parts per billion. This does not make it possible to determine
whether each component is natural or whether a poor oil has been ‘improved’ by the addition
of synthetic aromachemicals, but the latter is often signaled by the minor impurities
present. For example, linalool made in plants will
be accompanied by a small amount of hydro-linalool, whilst synthetic linalool has traces of dihydro-linalool.==Effectiveness==
There is no good medical evidence that aromatherapy can prevent or cure any disease. For cancer patients, aromatherapy has been
found to lower anxiety and depression symptoms. In 2015, the Australian Government’s Department
of Health published the results of a review of alternative therapies that sought to determine
if any were suitable for being covered by health insurance; aromatherapy was one of
17 therapies evaluated for which no clear evidence of effectiveness was found.Evidence
for the efficacy of aromatherapy in treating medical conditions is poor, with a particular
lack of studies employing rigorous methodology. A number of systematic reviews have studied
the clinical effectiveness of aromatherapy in respect to pain management in labor, the
treatment of post-operative nausea and vomiting, managing challenging behaviors in people who
have dementia, and symptom relief in cancer. However, some studies have come to the conclusion
that while it does improve the patient’s mood, there is no conclusive evidence on how it
works with pain management. Studies have been inconclusive because of
the fact that no straightforward evidence exists. All of these reviews report a lack of evidence
on the effectiveness of aromatherapy. The studies were found to be of low quality,
meaning that more well-designed, large scale, randomized controlled trials are needed before
clear conclusions can be drawn as to the actual effectiveness of aromatherapy.==Safety concerns==Aromatherapy carries a number of risks of
adverse effects and with this in consideration, combined with the lack of evidence of its
therapeutic benefit, makes the practice of questionable worth.There is an immense amount
of studies exploring the concerns that essential oils are highly concentrated and can irritate
the skin when used in undiluted form. Therefore, they are normally diluted with
a carrier oil for topical application, such as jojoba oil, olive oil, or coconut oil. Phototoxic reactions may occur with citrus
peel oils such as lemon or lime. Also, many essential oils have chemical components
that are sensitisers (meaning that they will, after a number of uses, cause reactions on
the skin, and more so in the rest of the body). Chemical composition of essential oils could
be affected by herbicides if the original plants are cultivated versus wild-harvested. Some oils can be toxic to some domestic animals,
with cats being particularly prone.Most oils can be toxic to humans as well. A report of three cases documented gynecomastia
in prepubertal boys who were exposed to topical lavender and tea tree oils. The Aromatherapy Trade Council of the UK issued
a rebuttal. The Australian Tea Tree Association, a group
that promotes the interests of Australian tea tree oil producers, exporters and manufacturers
issued a letter that questioned the study and called on the New England Journal of Medicine
for a retraction. Another article published by a different research
group also documented three cases of gynecomastia in prepubertal boys who were exposed to topical
lavender oil.While some advocate the ingestion of essential oils for therapeutic purposes,
licensed aromatherapy professionals do not recommend self-prescription due to the highly
toxic nature of some essential oils. Some very common oils like eucalyptus are
extremely toxic when taken internally. Doses as low as 2 mL have been reported to
cause clinically significant symptoms and severe poisoning can occur after ingestion
of as little as 4 mL. A few reported cases of toxic reactions like
liver damage and seizures have occurred after ingestion of sage, hyssop, thuja and cedar
oils. Accidental ingestion may happen when oils
are not kept out of reach of children. As with any bioactive substance, an essential
oil that may be safe for the general public could still pose hazards for pregnant and
lactating women.Oils both ingested and applied to the skin can potentially have negative
interactions with conventional medicine. For example, the topical use of methyl salicylate-heavy
oils like wintergreen may cause bleeding in users taking the anticoagulant warfarin.==See also==
Aromachologist List of unproven and disproven cancer treatments

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