What Do We REALLY Know?

        While the number of people citing specific benefits of aromatherapy (and especially stress reduction) is endless the clinical data proving its effectiveness is rather limited. First of all, doctors have been using essential oils
in France for many years for its proven antibiotic and antiviral qualities (Buckle 1993).
While it is very well documented, much of this clinical research has been done in France
and has not been translated into English (Trevelyan 1993). Which is rather unfortunate.
         Another problem in obtaining data on the effectiveness of aromatherapy is that
much of the research that appears to prove that aromatherapy does alleviate stress is
combined with massage therapy. Which, does not provide a clear understanding of what
helps decrease stress; the use of essential oils or the massage therapy.
         The actual published scientific literature on aromatheapy and its use in stress
reduction is rather limited. There is a magnitude of anecdotal evidence from very reliable sources such as doctors and nurses but there are few objective studies that evaluate the effects of aromatheapy. In 1992 the United States Congress created the Office of Alternative
Medicine at the National Institute of Health. But, to date the OAM has not studied
aromatherapy.
         Nevertheless, there have been a limited number of studies, which will be presented
in this paper along with discussions from various researchers or experts in this field.
 


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