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Studies Validate Positive Health Effects of Aromatherapy Massage

These two studies investigate different aspects of the health-supporting benefits of aromatherapy massage. Both utilize massage without essential oils as the ‘control’. The first indicates massage including essential oils in the massage oil formula significantly improved conditions of fatigue, and most effectively, fatigue induced by mental stress. The second investigates the effect of aromatherapy massage [...]

These two studies investigate different aspects of the health-supporting benefits of aromatherapy massage. Both utilize massage without essential oils as the ‘control’. The first indicates massage including essential oils in the massage oil formula significantly improved conditions of fatigue, and most effectively, fatigue induced by mental stress. The second investigates the effect of aromatherapy massage on the immune system: Massage with essential oils actually increased the strength of the body’s defense mechanisms, by increasing the counts of certain immune cells. It is likely that one can create an effective stress-relieving, immune boosting massage formula by following their intuition. Choose scents you like, and that put you at ease, and include them in the carrier oils of your choice at about a 3% concentration.

Study: Differences Between the Physiologic and Psychologic Effects of Aromatherapy Body Treatment.

Takeda H, Tsujita J, Kaya M, Takemura M, Oku Y.
Department of Physiology, Hyogo College of Medicine, Hyogo, Japan.

Abstract Background: The wide use of herbal plants and essential oils for the prevention and treatment of diseases dates back to ancient times. However, the scientific basis for the beneficial effects of such plants and oils has not been precisely clarified. Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of aromatherapy body treatment on healthy subjects. Design: We compared the physiologic and psychologic effects of aromatherapy body treatment (E), massage treatment with carrier oil alone (C), and rest in healthy adults. Subjects: Seven (7) female and 6 male volunteers participated as subjects. Interventions: Each subject underwent 3 trials, in which the Advanced Trail Making Test (ATMT) was given as a stress-inducing task before and after 1 of 3 treatments. Outcome measures: The State Anxiety Inventory (SAI), the Visual Analog Scale, and the Face Scale were used to assess anxiety, feelings, and mood, respectively. Results: After the treatments, the SAI score and the feelings of fatigue were decreased, the positive and comfortable feelings were increased, and mood improved significantly in C and E. Furthermore, significant declines in the feelings of mental and total fatigue were maintained even after the second ATMT in E. On the other hand, the cortisol concentration in the saliva did not show significant changes in any of the trials. Secretory immunoglobulin A levels in the saliva increased significantly after all treatments. Conclusions: We conclude that massage treatments, irrespective of the presence of essential oils, are more advantageous than rest in terms of psychologic or subjective evaluations but not in terms of physiologic or objective evaluations. Furthermore, as compared to massage alone, the aromatherapy body treatment provides a stronger and continuous relief from fatigue, especially fatigue of mental origin.

Immunological and Psychological Benefits of Aromatherapy Massage.

Kuriyama H, Watanabe S, Nakaya T, Shigemori I, Kita M, Yoshida N, Masaki D, Tadai T, Ozasa K, Fukui K, Imanishi J.

This preliminary investigation compares peripheral blood cell counts including red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), neutrophils, peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs), CD4(+), CD8(+) and CD16(+) lymphocytes, CD4(+)/CD8(+) ratio, hematocrit, humoral parameters including serum interferon-gamma and interleukin-6, salivary secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA). Psychological measures including the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) questionnaire and the Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS) between recipients (n = 11) of carrier oil massage and aromatherapy massage, which includes sweet almond oil, lavender oil, cypress oil and sweet marjoram oil. Though both STAI and SDS showed a significant reduction (P 0.05) increase in PBLs, possibly due to an increase in CD8(+) and CD16(+) lymphocytes, which had significantly increased post-treatment (P < 0.01). Consequently, the CD4(+)/CD8(+) ratio decreased significantly (P < 0.01). The paucity of such differences after carrier oil massage suggests that aromatherapy massage could be beneficial in disease states that require augmentation of CD8(+) lymphocytes. While this study identifies the immunological benefits of aromatherapy massage, there is a need to validate the findings prospectively in a larger cohort of patients.

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