AN EVALUATION OF AROMATHERAPY

Dating back to the times of ancient Egypt, this practise of using the essence of plant oils for stimulation, relaxation or healing, gets its modern name 'Aromatherapy' from the French chemist Renè Maurice Gattefossè.

Many of the claims made by modern aromatherapists are questionable and have never been scientifically tested. It is a known fact that all clinical medicines come with a brochure indicating all the necessary factors like pharmacological action, side-effects, special precautions and contra-indications. This is so because the effects have been subjected to stringent testing.

One writer put it this way, "... they also seemed to possess anti-bacterial qualities and could therefore be potentially useful against infections." The question is: do they or don't they ? What does it mean, "seemed to possess" ? How would you react if a doctor gave you asprin saying : "this seems to take away fever' ? Does it or doesn't it ? Returning to the statement, "could therefore be potentially useful", it begs the question: What does this mean ? Is it useful or not ?

If aspirin is used for someone's headache, can it be proved clinically that aspirin always kills pain within specified parameters regardless of who is treated ? Is there a scientific reason for its operation ? What happens chemically and how does it kill pain ?

Compare that now to this statement : "Mme Maury also believed that the abundant free electrons of aromatic essences were able to influence physiological functions and that it was by this method rather than by some chemical process that the oils actually worked." What method actually worked ? Was it her faith, because it says she "believed". Does "free electrons" influence physiological functions or does it not ? This has not been established yet.

What about the following comment : "During a healing session a sample of the patient's blood is analysed to determine the essential oil required." How will an analysis of the blood reveal what essential oil is required ? What in the blood will tell you that ? What analysis is used ? They don't tell us, yet these are all sweeping statements that people accept glibly without thinking these things through. But perhaps the clearest indication that a dabbling in the mystical is a reality here (? apparent here) is seen in the statement, "Occasionally radiesthesia (dowsing with a pendulum) is used for the same purpose" (to analyse the patient's blood. The pendulum is a well-known occult method of divination which is forbidden by the Christian scriptures.

The writer continues by saying, "the therapist provides a massage, concentrating on the back and spine (why ?) and perhaps employing acupressure methods." Need any more be said ? Enlightened Christians and even those with an elementary knowledge of the devices of the devil would be able to discern what kind of "therapy" this is. When one peruses the table of suggested uses for the oils, one can't but help be astonished at the claims. One example will suffice : for hiccups, Tarragon is offered for therapeutic use. How this helps for hiccups we are not told. You have to accept it and believe it.

In closing, what would one say about this statement, "Aromatherapy, like acupuncture, acupressure and some varieties of yoga, makes use of the energy field surrounding and permeating living organisms and reduces tension allowing the healthy flow of energy through the body".