Aroma Research


Compilation of significant articles about “Aromatherapy”

Within the context of these following articles, you will find some of the data that we used to develop our Aromatherapy Web FAQ in June and July, 2003. We were primarily interested in presenting aroma used as an inhalant, and not topically applied as massage oil. Any information contained herein is for educational or research purposes only.(see “Notes” at end)

How information is presented here

An abundance of aromatherapy information is available. Having read from many sources, we selected the most pertinent articles in relation to our unique diffusion system, the “aromaComposer™”. To save time and add clarity I have marked up areas with various notes and colors, etc. as follow:

  • Personal comments, notes or call-outs are in blue color like this.
  • Most significant items are highlighted in red like this!
  • I have left much information in black so you can see the context of the highlighted items if needed.
  • In most cases the notes in blue point out important black text areas when they exist. If not, you can probably skim over them quickly to save time.
  • Original sources or references to selections have been retained, if you need them for quotes, etc. although some of these links are no longer valid.

Compilation of significant articles about “Aromatherapy”

Posts to Ask Dr Stoll BB regarding Aromatherapy

There have been a few posts to the Ask
Dr Stoll

Bulletin Board (BB) regarding Aromatherapy.


Introductory summary of aromatherapy:

It is now known that ANY stimulus introduced into the hypothalamus
will have an effect on hypothalamic function.

Every few months a new highway into the hypothalamus is discovered.
Since that is where our entire bodymind seems to be centered,
that is the switchboard to the rest of each person.

The more direct the highway, the quicker and more profound will
be the influence on hypothalamic function.

It just so happens that the MOST direct highway is through the
nose and sense of smell. This was the first sense developed in
living things (chemotaxis) and the bare nerve ends in our noses
are directly ‘hard- wired’ into the hypothalamus.

In the late ’90s, Harvard Medical School
started reporting on their research in this area and said that
health and mood were directly influenced by aromas and that each
aroma has a distinctly different effect. They area already being
introduced into industrial environments and business offices to
promote health and productivity. You can expect to see more of
this in the near future

It seems that Aromatherapy is now officially
accepted as powerful “medicine”. It may take a while for the conventional
medical monopoly to accept it since others besides licensed physicians
can do it. This competition has never been welcomed by the ‘system’.

There are many excellent books on Aromatherapy and it can be
applied to anyone’s health with just a little knowledge.

Walt Stoll, MD

Originally from:
– (No longer a valid link)

What’s the ‘Scents’ of Aromatherapy?

” Do you have an opinion on the effectiveness
of aromatherapy for healing? I know it’s comforting, but does
it have any healing capacity? “

— S. Forry

Dr. Weil’s Answer (by Andrew Weil, the
well known doctor and author

(Published 11/11/1998)

I’m very interested in medical aromatherapy,
but it’s hard to get trustworthy information on it in this country,
as aromatherapy here is so tied to the beauty and spa industries.
I can tell you that there’s no scientific proof to support extravagant
claims that aromatherapy can successfully treat such a wide variety
of disorders, ranging from arthritis to cellulite to impotence.
However, there is an interesting tradition of medical aromatherapy
in France, where essential oils are used to treat such serious
illnesses as diabetes and epilepsy.

What we do have from American research
are intriguing examples supportive of aromatherapy’s healing potential.
In one report, investigators found that the scent of nutmeg can
lower blood pressure in people in stressful situations (but not
in the absence of stress). In another example, doctors at New
York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center found that the vanilla-like
aroma of heliotropin significantly reduced anxiety in patients
undergoing MRI scans. A third find was a study among menopausal
women that showed that moods improved in response to fragrance,
even among those who didn’t particularly like the scent. On the
other hand, some fragrances can trigger migraines in some people,
and there have been (rare) reports of allergic contact dermatitis
— rashes — resulting from the use of aromatherapy oils.

None of these findings is particularly
surprising when you consider that smell was the first of our senses
to evolve and is the first to kick in after birth. Did you know
that nursing newborns can distinguish their mothers from other
lactating women solely by smell? Given the accelerating pace
of research I suspect that aromatherapy will come into its own
in the next century both as a form of alternative medicine and
an aid to conventional treatment.

Strong smells — researchers measure
impact of aromatherapy

April 14, 2000

Web posted at: 3:10 p.m. EDT (1910 GMT)

From staff reports

ATLANTA (CNN) — Americans spend millions
of dollars each year on candles, incense and oils in search of
pleasing aromas to improve mood or to enhance physical and emotional

Does it work?

According to Dr. Alan R. Hirsch of the
Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, Chicago,
“The quickest way to change a mood state — quicker than with
any other sensual modality — is with smell.”

Hirsch and his colleagues have studied
aromatherapy for 15 years. They have concluded that specific odors
can change your mood and behavior. This process depends on conveying
odoriferous particles through air or in water, then a complex
mental reaction.

“We found that mixed floral smells effect
the speed of learning,” said Hirsch. “Green apples tend to reduce
migraine headaches. Lavender tends to induce relaxation — as
does vanilla.”

As further evidence of the aroma-mood
connection, Dr. Charles J. Wysocki of the Monell Chemical Senses
Center, Philadelphia, said, “There are other sorts of physiological
changes one can measure — blood pressure, for example, heart
rate, body temperature. These things are all correlates of changes
in mood and emotion.”

Research findings at the Monell center
show that “odors are often thought to provide the best memory
cues because some of our oldest and most emotionally laden memories
are associated with odors. … Accuracy of a memory is not affected
by the type of sensory cue, for example, whether it is olfactory
or auditory. Instead, a memory that is triggered by an odor is
experienced as being more emotionally intense and evocative than
a memory triggered by any other type of sensory cue.”

Research has also shown odors help people
remember. “Memory is enhanced when learning takes place in the
presence of a novel odor, and is further facilitated if learning
occurs during a heightened emotional state,” according to the
Monell center.

Although some aromas are so subtle they
do not register consciously, the nose and brain can detect 10,000
or more different odors. A question still under study is whether
smelling particular odors to enhance emotional or physical healing
depends on the person’s belief that aromatherapy “works.”

Paul Johnson, a writer and skeptic of paranormal claims, has
noted that aromatherapy is “a belief that the essential oils of
various flowers have therapeutic effects. These effects are psychological
rather than physical, and so it’s a bit difficult to define what
we mean by a statement that it works. After all, if people do
it and feel better, then that is a real effect, whether it occurred
because of suggestion or because the flowers contain a powerful
psychoactive drug.”

CNN Correspondent Holly Firfer contributed to this report.


Perception of tastes, odors and chemical irritants begins with
the interaction of a chemical stimulus with specialized sensory
receptor cells in the mouth, nose and skin. A cascade of molecular
and cellular events transduces information about the stimulus
into electrical signals recognized by the nervous system. A combination
of approaches— biochemical, biophysical, neurophysiological, molecular
biological, and genetic— is being used to characterize how chemical
stimuli are recognized, transduced into electrical signals in
receptor cells, and processed in the brain. Recent advances in
molecular genetics are helping researchers to describe how genes
influence the chemical senses, from olfactory receptor function
to sensitivity to different tastes.

The nose contains millions of receptor cells, which mediate the
olfactory system’s high sensitivity to an extraordinary range
of odors. Olfactory receptors cells are nerve cells which communicate
directly with the brain. Inside the nose, odorant molecules interact
with receptor proteins located in cilia extending from exposed
ends of the receptor cells. This activates the formation of so-
called “second messengers,” that modulate passage of ions through
channels in the cell membrane, in turn generating nerve impulses
that are transmitted directly to the olfactory bulbs.

From Monell Chemical Sense Center site:

The Five Senses and Beyond

Chapter 1- Introduction to Multimedia and Virtual Reality

We are taught at school that we have five senses; sight, hearing,
smell, taste and touch. But actually we have many more and they
aren’t the mysterious senses of ESP either. We feel our bodies
in motion or stationary and we have an impression of our body
(albeit a distorted one) and its component positions which is
independent of the tactual sense. Similarly we “feel” hunger,
fear, agitation and other un-designated internal states. Fortunately
for the multimedia and virtual reality engineer, the two most
important senses are sight and hearing. Most of the information
about the world outside of ourselves is gained via these and the
consideration of these dominates the following. However, the study
and knowledge of haptic, kinaesthetic and equilibratory senses
are sometimes necessary in the design of VR applications so, for
completeness, these are considered in the last chapter. Until
then, sight and hearing dominate the engineering agenda. But what
of the other senses – smell and taste, will these ever have a
role to play in VR applications?

Smell has a more direct route to the
brain than any other sense. The smell receptors high in the nose
synapse directly to the olfactory bulbs of the brain which lie
directly below the frontal lobes. Viewed from an evolutionary
perspective, smell is the most primitive of the senses. It plays
a very important role in lower species, the olfactory cortex of
fish occupies the entire cerebral hemispheres. Perhaps its ancient
nature accounts for the emotionally charged, evocative nature
of smell. Given its power to stir memory, it is surprising that
this sense has played so very minor a role in VR development.

(Note: VR, Virtual Reality, is one use for
the aromaComposer system)
Although, the idea of phials
of different odours being dispensed at appropriate times during
a VR presentation is comical! Even more bizarre is the consideration
of taste. Any attempt to administer a taste sensation is inevitably
invasive and unlikely to be accepted; demonstrating just how far
are we from a true alternative reality system and just how intimate
such a system would need to be. I said at the beginning of the
chapter that more has changed in the last twenty years than in
the last thousand. That pace is not slowing down. If the remaining
senses eventually join the VR fold, I wonder what a VR system
will look like twenty years from now!


From the book Aromatherapy: Scent & Psyche

By Peter & Kate Damian

Healing Arts Press 1995

Introduction to Aromatherapy


Everyone seems to agree that scents have a remarkable influence
upon the human organism. Although the mechanisms and processes
of olfaction remain largely mysterious, science’s progressive
knowledge and understanding of our sense of smell opens exciting
new vistas and possibilities for aromatherapy research. Although
more limited in range than sight or hearing (you can see or hear
something at a longer distance than you can smell it) our sense
of smell is estimated to be 10,000 times more acute than our other
senses and sensitive to some 10,000 chemical compounds. Once registered,
scent stimuli travel more quickly to the brain than do either
sight or sound; how this happens is still a matter for some speculation.
Olfactory responses to odors induce the
brain, or at least parts of it, to stimulate the release of hormones
and neurochemicals that alter body physiology and therefore human
Odors are processed directly
from the olfactory through the limbic system, a primitive part
of the brain involved with the hypothalamus and having to do with
emotions, memory, sexual behavior, and certain visceral activities.
Therein lies the pleasure center,” the stimulation of which relates
to primal behavior and the reinforcement of learning.

Recent scientific evidence supports the observation that odors
can help evoke memories, especially those with emotional overtones.
Other senses also reach the limbic system but only after traveling
to other regions of the brain.

Note: This next paragraph is interesting,
but was written several years ago…1995.)

The intriguing experimental olfaction research that has taken
place internationally over the past decade, most particularly
in the United States, has coincidentally paralleled the growth
and rising interest in aromatherapy during the 1980s. Olfactory
science has so far hearkened to the claims made for the psychological
benefits of essential oils used in aromatherapy. A University
of Cincinnati study showed that fragrances of peppermint and lily
of the valley increased subjects’ performance accuracy by 15 to
25 percent. A replication study at Catholic University using only
peppermint achieved the same findings. It’s becoming progressively
clear that science and industry are convinced of the power of
scent. But are they persuaded by aromatherapy? After-Flight Regulator
essential oil blends, developed by aromatherapist Daniele Ryman
to treat jet lag, are now offered at some London hotels and at
the duty-free shop in Heathrow Airport’s international terminal.
Japanese construction firms are enhancing efficiency and reducing
stress among office workers by pumping fragrances through air-conditioning
systems. Junichi Yagi, a subsidiary vice-president for Shimizu,
Japan’s third largest construction firm, says that fragrances
used by his company were selected by the principles of aromatherapy.
In 1989, Dr. Gary Schwartz, current professor of psychiatry and
psychology at the University of Arizona, found that spiced apple
had relaxing effects, as measured in brain waves, within a minute
of one subject’s smelling that fragrance. It now is more critical
for early researchers experimenting with many real and artificial
scents, fragrances, and aromas to distinguish the mere stimulation
of response from genuine therapeutic effects. Olfaction is so
sensitive that virtually any odor will elicit brain response registering
some clinically demonstrable physical or behavioral reaction,
just as do electric stimuli; some may even prove beneficial. The
crucial consideration is the relative value of those odors. Synthetic
scents sometimes temporarily deceive the body, but as we have
learned from the use of other artificial substances in food and
medicine, the results are not genuinely positive and are not without
negative consequences. If we acknowledge the folly of ingesting
artificial ingredients and additives in our foods and the chemical
synthetics of modern medicine, we ought to be no more eager to
inhale inferior, synthetic, or artificial substances than we are
to swallow them.

The profound and complete therapeutic
effects of essential oils derive from more than their pleasant
They have vital electromagnetic properties
and vibrational energies that invigorate the mind, the soul, the
body’s energy, and thus their functioning. When
oils known for their sedative or antidepressant capacities are
administered, endorphins and enkephalins {neurochemical analgesics
and tranquilizers) are released. This has been demonstrated by
hospitals in Oxford, England, where essential oils of lavender,
marjoram, geranium, mandarin, and cardamom have replaced chemical
sedatives. These and other oils relax people, lower blood pressure,
increase mental acuity, normalize body functions, reduce stress,
and even act as aphrodisiacs.

Serious olfaction research and experimentation involving essential
oils will doubtless prove their superior efficacy.
(This is going on now)
But if history is our guide,
aromatherapists have reason to view with circumspection the olfaction
research sponsored by fragrance companies, science labs, and medical
institutions. Olfaction research is still in its infancy. We are
only now gaining rudimentary appreciation of how and why essential
oil fragrances affect human psychology and physiology even as
we slowly trace the mysterious pathways of the brain. In this
quest for knowledge, we would do well to search the psychology
of scent may regain its vital spiritual and metaphysical heritage.

Thousands of scientists and researchers,
as well as medical, beauty, and health professionals, working
individually or as part of professional organizations, are already
satisfied by aromatherapy, as are the millions of people, particularly
in England, France, Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland, where aromatherapy
is widely practiced. The United States, Canada, and Australia
are the new frontiers.
Another indication of aromatherapy’s
phenomenal rise over the past ten years is that as recently as
fifteen years ago there were but one or two English-language aromatherapy
books and few published articles. Today there are dozens and hundreds,
respectively. All signs point to aromatherapy’s ascendance to
its rightful place as the premier health and beauty care system
not just of this decade but of the next century.


Human development and the advances of the past century have coupled
with the rich potential and amazing versatility of aromatherapy
and pure essential oils to greatly widen their application. These
various traditional and modern applications are broadly categorized
as clinical/medical, aesthetic/cosmetic, and holistic/naturopathic,
or sometimes according to the administration method of essential
oils: internally (ingestion), externally (topical), or aromatically
(inhalation). Since essential oils have simultaneous physical
and psychological affects, and human response to them will, therefore,
occur physically, emotionally, and mentally as well as spiritually,
separate categories cannot always be maintained by sharp lines
of theory or hard barriers of practice. Aromatherapy and essential
oils will invariably give crossover results and reciprocal benefits.

– does it work?

Tim Jacob with thanks to students in the
second year Special Senses Module.

School of Biosciences, Cardiff University,
Cardiff CF1 3US.

Alpha-wave content of EEG in response to aromatherapy

Using EEG recording in my lab we have analyzed
the effect of two essential oils, ylang ylang and rosemary, on
the alpha-wave content of the brain activity of second year students.
The generation of alpha waves by the brain is thought to be associated
with the degree of arousal; high alpha wave activity being associated
with a low level of arousal (relaxed state). The EEG was recorded
over the occipital region of the scalp referred to the vertex,
with the eyes closed.

The protocol was to pre-relax the subjects, record
the EEG for 2 mins and then apply the odour to a face mask, wait
3 mins and then record another 2 mins. The mask was then removed,
3 mins allowed for equilibration and a further 2 mins of control
activity was recorded.

The alpha-wave component was determined by power spectrum analysis
of the data between 8-12Hz (the frequency of the alpha waves).

While there are clear trends (see figure on right) – rosemary
depresses alpha-activity while ylang ylang enhances it, a longer
recovery period following exposure to the odorant is needed.

Rosemary is a well-known stimulant and ylang ylang is a soothing,
relaxing aroma. The results are therefore supportive of the suggested
effects of these two oils.

While this work was a little fun to make students think about
the olfactory system it has its serious side. Can we detect changes
in physiological state in response to odours? Can we make use
of this to understand enough about human psychophysiology to be
able to use it therapeutically?

Copyright Ó 2000 by T.J.C. Jacob, School of Biosciences,
Cardiff University, Cardiff CF1 3US

All rights reserved

Secondary physiological
effects of odour

Carina Fraser and Tim Jacob.

School of Biosciences, Cardiff University,
Cardiff CF1 3US.

We are investigating the effects of certain odours on the following
physiological parameters:

  • heart rate
  • respiration rate
  • EEG activity
  • blood oxygen
  • skin resistance

Smell has the ability to affect our
physiological and psychological state via two mechanisms; (1)
the intrinsic pharmacological properties of the odour molecule
itself and (2) contextual association and memory. This latter
has been extended to conditioned reflexes in animals.

We respond differently to different smells. While the biological
significance of malodours is clear, the reason for the existence
of pleasant odours is less obvious. Can we observe differences
in our psychophysiological response to malodours and pleasant

Important to note that the U.S. Government
is investigating aroma as complementary therapy! The government
is offering research grants!

What Is Complementary and Alternative
Medicine (CAM)

NCCAM, National Institutes of Health

Excepts from one of their documents
I downloaded:




National Center for Complementary
and Alternative Medicine

For carrying out section 301 and title IV of the
Public Health Service Act with respect to complementary and alternative
medicine, [$105,032,000] $111,494,000. Department of Labor,
Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations
Act for Fiscal Year 2002 (P.L. 107-116)]


NCCAM continues to capitalize on the many untapped opportunities
to define the safety and effectiveness of complementary and alternative
medicine (CAM) approaches and to disseminate research findings
to the public and healthcare practitioners. Our portfolio has
begun to demonstrate the breadth and complexity typical of work
supported by the more established Institutes. For example, NCCAM
has emphasized the expansion of investigator-initiated studies
on the basic mechanisms of action and clinical applications for
many different, widely used, CAM therapies. NCCAM maintains a
Centers program to investigate, in-depth, a range of botanical
products, cancer therapies, cardiovascular disease treatments,
and women’s health approaches, among others. Likewise, we support
a substantive research training program, using each of the major
training mechanisms supported by NIH. This program includes pre-
and postdoctoral fellows, physicians and CAM practitioners, and
individual as well as institutional training awards. Our Phase
III clinical trials program has now enrolled thousands of research
subjects into rigorous studies of the most promising CAM treatments.

Item from NCCAM

Frontier Medicine – Frontier
medicine includes the role of spirituality in healing, vibrational
medicine, and subtle energies such as homeopathy, reiki,
Bach Flower Remedies, and Qi gong. Additionally, alternative diagnostic
equipment using the human energy field may offer the potential
for cost-saving opportunities in health care. The Committee urges
NCCAM to enhance research in these areas through all available
mechanisms, as appropriate (p. 91).

Action taken or to be taken

Frontier medicine can be defined as those
CAM practices for which there is no plausible biomedical explanation.
Examples include such interventions as magnet therapy, energy
healing, homeopathy, and therapeutic prayer.
spite of the fact that the United States public uses these therapies
high-quality research has investigated their efficacy and safety.

NCCAM currently supports multiple studies in this area under a
variety of funding mechanisms including: R01 (research project);
R21 (exploratory/developmental grant); F31 (predoctoral individual
national research service award); and P50 (specialized center).
In addition, we released a request for applications (RFA), “Exploratory
Grants for Frontier Medicine Research,” using the P20 (exploratory
center grant) mechanism. This program will involve collaboration
between conventional and CAM institutions, practitioners and researchers.
Projects will test novel hypotheses for which there is minimal
preliminary data or lack of a conventional biological rationale.
These hypotheses, if confirmed, could have a substantial impact
on our current understanding of biology and medical science.

Applicants will need to demonstrate strong institutional support,
expertise in all relevant disciplines, rigorous study design,
a tight thematic relationship between all of the subprojects,
and the potential for close collaboration among experiences investigators.
It is anticipated that awards will be made in FY 2002 for highly
meritorious applications.

Several Articles from:

The Scientist 15[24]:22, Dec.
10, 2001


The Nose Knows: How the Olfactory Influences Conduct

Researchers start to uncover how the sense of smell is involved
in complex behaviors

By Jennifer Fisher Wilson

Editor’s Note: This is the final installment of a five-part
series on the senses.

Graphic: Lisa Damiani

True to legend, a bloodhound can track someone for miles just
by keeping its nose to the ground; that proximity makes it all
the easier to smell foot sweat. Akin to a molecular thumbprint,
sweat is a cocktail of different odorants, and bloodhounds are
particularly adept at discerning the unique mixture of isobutyric
acid and isovaleric acid molecules. Their sensitive noses have
olfactory acuity that is 100 to 1,000 times greater than humans.

Nearly all mammals have a more sensitive sense of smell than
humans. In rats, for instance, smell is almost equivalent to face
recognition in people, says neurobiologist Larry Katz from
Duke University. Simply by smell, he says, they can tell whether
another rat is male or female, from the same family or another

Note: The following is very significant:

The sense of smell has long been known
to influence behavior in animals and humans, but scientists couldn’t
access the olfactory system’s inner workings to find out how.
Then, in 1991, molecular biologist Linda Buck, then at Columbia
University, New York (now at Harvard Medical School), and then-colleague
molecular biologist Richard Axel, cloned a large family of odor
receptor proteins.1 This work allowed researchers to begin deciphering
the olfactory code–a discovery that would lead to understanding
how the brain knows what the nose smells, and ultimately how odors
influence behavior. Researchers are now applying various methods
from molecular biology, neurobiology, neuroanatomy, psychology,
and other fields in hopes of attaining these goals.

Note continued: Especially this fact:

“Ten years
ago, the field was practically a backwater, and then Buck and
Axel discovered the olfactory receptors,”

says Katz. “That broke the field open and put it on firm molecular
footing, attracting a lot of people into the field. Today, olfaction
is a field that’s truly exploding.”
Testament to such growth
is Katz’s move from vision research to olfaction study four years

Olfaction, says neuroscientist Cori Bargmann, University
of California, San Francisco, holds a key that might unlock the
different strategies involved in assembling complex behaviors.
Many scientists view olfaction research as a way of gaining understanding
not only about the sense of smell, but also about the biology
of behavior. According to neurobiologist Stuart Firestein,
Columbia University, some envision the olfactory system as a model
for signal transduction, including receptor-ligand interactions,
modulation by second messengers, ion channel gating, and the long-term
mechanisms of adaptation and desensitization.

Note: This article below applies to
the full Multisensory experience, not just aroma.

Taking the Holistic Approach

Sensory researchers, for the most part, adopt a singular focus,
studying one sense or another. But in a few quarters of this expanding
research community, the idea of looking at the senses in a more
comprehensive manner–how they affect one another, how the brain
gathers and translates incoming information–is de rigeur.

It’s both an old and new idea. Nearly 40 years ago, Josef
assembled an interdisciplinary team of engineers
and life scientists at Syracuse University to apply engineering
analysis to some sensory systems. Ten years ago, Rockefeller University
in New York City established a sensory neuroscience institute
where scientists from inside and outside Rockefeller collaborate.
And, about 15 months ago, West Virginia University opened its
sensory neuroscience research center, combining efforts of the
otolaryngology, radiology, neurobiology, and anatomy labs. The
center, which focuses on vision, hearing, vestibular, somatosensory,
and in the near future, olfactory, is in the university’s otolaryngology
“The idea is to have
unique interactions,” says center director George Spirou.
“It’s sort of an emerging theme.”

Studying different senses in the same spot
allows researchers to share insights, says Robert I. Smith,
Syracuse’s institute director and professor of bioengineering
and neuroscience. “Nature uses very often the same building blocks
with different interfaces … [that have] analogous properties.”

At Syracuse, Zwislocki’s center eventually
became known as the Institute for Sensory Research,
scientists here concentrate on hearing, touch, and vision. Smith
says researchers integrate information on structure, human psychophysics,
physiology, and nervous system recordings. Some research includes
targeted cell ablation in the retina, tongue-jaw linkages, and
the auditory processing of complex sounds. Zwislocki, now a member
of the National Academy of Sciences, was an engineer, Smith says.
“[He said], ‘Let’s start at the beginning … and start working
our way in.'”

At Rockefeller, all the senses, save taste, come under scrutiny.
Physician and PhD Charles Gilbert, a neurobiology professor
whose research involves visual modality, says the interdisciplinary
nature of the work involves molecular biology, systems neuroscience,
and mathematics, among other disciplines. Each project, he says,
attracts researchers from Rockefeller or other institutes. “We
look for people whose work is most relevant in what we are studying,”
he says.

Gilbert’s team is working on perceptual learning, where people
glean information from their surroundings through their senses.
Researchers want to uncover the circuits involved in the signal
transduction cascade that leads to memory. Learned information,
Gilbert says, is continually represented in the cerebral cortex.
“The expectation is that though there are different forms of learning
and memory, the underlying mechanisms might be the same, but just
in different regions in the brain.” A complete picture can be
assembled, he says, from the molecular level to looking at changes
in how information is represented across the brain.1

At West Virginia, the holistic approach emerged when Spirou,
an associate professor in the departments of otolaryngology and
physiology, wanted to hire a molecular biologist but ended up
talking with different sensory researchers, including Peter
H. Mathers
, whose specialty is visual systems. “We said, this
is great: We teach him audition, he teaches us vision,” recalls
Spirou, whose specialty is auditory neurophysiology. Mathers helped
isolate the genes for a family of DNA-binding proteins, called
retinal homeobox, or Rx.2 Research projects here include work
on ambylopia, or lazy eye, and how the brain establishes synaptic
and axonic sensory connections during development. Since last
year, Spirou says, West Virginia has published five times.3 Syracuse
has published 553 articles.4

Christine Bahls


1.C.D. Gilbert et al., “The neural basis of perceptual learning,”
Neuron, 31:681-97, 2001.

2.P.H. Mathers et al., “The Rx homeobox gene is essential for
vertebrate eye development,” Nature, 387:603-7, 1997.

3.See X. Jin et al., “Vertical bias in dendritic trees of non-pyramidal
neocortical neurons expressing GAD67-GFP in Vitro,” Cerebral
11[7]:666-78, July 2001.

4For example, S. Bolanowski et al., “The effects of heat-induced
pain on the detectibility, discriminability, and sensation magnitude
of vibro-tactile stimuli,” Somatosensory And Motor Research 18[1]:5-9,
2001; and J. Zwislocki et al., “On some post stimulatory effects
at the threshold of audibility,” Journal of the Acoustical
Society of America,
31[1]:9-14, 1959.

The Scientist 15[24]:22, Dec.
10, 2001

© Copyright 2001, The Scientist, Inc. All rights

From The National Association for Aromatherapy at:

Note: Most of these are pretty simple
definitions of Aromatherapy.

What is Aromatherapy?

“Aromatherapy is … the skilled and controlled use of essential
oils for physical and emotional health and well being.” Valerie

“Aromatherapy conveys the concept of healing with aromatic substances.”
Robert Tisserand

“Aromatherapy is a caring, hands-on therapy which seeks to induce
relaxation, to increase energy, to reduce the effects of stress
and to restore lost balance to mind, body and soul.” Robert Tisserand

“Aromatherapy can be defined as the controlled use of essential
oils to maintain and promote physical, psychological, and spiritual
wellbeing.” Gabriel Mojay

Best one below:

“Aromatherapy can be defined as the
art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences
from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body,
mind and spirit. It is an art and science which seeks to explore
the physiological, psychological and spiritual realm of the individual’s
response to aromatic extracts as well as to observe and enhance
the individual’s innate healing process. As a holistic medicine,
Aromatherapy is both a preventative approach as well as an active
treatment during acute and chronic stages of illness or ‘dis’-ease.

It is a natural, non-invasive treatment
system designed to affect the whole person not just the symptom
or disease and to assist the body’s natural ability to balance,
regulate, heal and maintain itself by the correct use of essential

Aromatherapy is essentially an interaction
between the therapist, client and essential oils, working together
to bring forth the healing energy which will help the client regain
their sense of well being and vitality.” Jade Shutes

Origin of the word “Aromatherapie

The term “aromatherapie” was coined by Rene Maurice Gattefosse
in 1928. He utilized the word to imply the therapeutic use of
aromatic substances (essential oils). Since the beginning of Aromatherapy,
the practice has encompassed human pathology and the treatment
of different conditions (emotional and physical) with essential
oils. As Aromatherapy developed into a practice it adopted an
holistic approach which encompasses the body, the mind and the
spirit (energy).

As an holistic therapy Aromatherapy is able to work on several
levels of the individuals well being. The following diagram represents
the different aspects of Aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Diffusers

A variety of diffusers.

Diffusion is the process of dispersing
essential oils so that their aroma fills a room or an area with
the natural fragrance. From the simple to the elaborate, many
different methods exist for diffusing oils into a room.

Note: The aromaComposer is a very advanced
and totally controllable multi-scent blending diffusion system.

Details at:

Note: Aroma used as complementary medicine

Aroma as Adjunt

Healing that’s not to be sniffed at By RYAN OLIVER

It’s not so long ago that any “alternative”
therapy was classed as weird, flaky, downright dangerous or just
a plain waste of time by many in the medical profession. How times
change. You will always have the diehards but more and more people
in the medical profession are embracing natural therapies as valuable
adjuncts to their own skills.

Aromatherapy is one such practice that
is now finding widespread acceptance from doctors, nurses and,
crucially, administrators and funding bodies who once would have
rejected it out of sight.
The diehard medical practitioners
who reject anything bar modern science and pharmaceuticals tend
to conveniently forget that their own professions were once largely
frowned upon and were hit-and-miss affairs leaning heavily on
folk practice, lore and natural remedies. Just because humans
developed medical science to the level it stands at today, it
doesn’t mean that old, tried and true methods lost their potency
along the way.

In ancient China – well before the march of progress took medical
practice into the labs and operating theatres – physicians and
healers were hired only when their patients were well.

Confused? It was an early version of preventative medicine. If
a patient fell ill, payment was promptly withdrawn. It was thus
in the best interests of the healer to ensure his patient’s well-being.
In those days, particular berries, herbs or oils were used – along
with the encouraging of good diet and exercise – to keep patients
in top condition. It relied heavily on an “inner knowing” about
what was good for the human body.

Aromatherapists of today attempt to rekindle this holistic approach
to healing, encouraging patients to better understand their body’s
individual needs. They do so while acknowledging the role of medical
science. It is a mixture of the local pharmacy and nature’s apothecary.
At the heart of aromatherapy is the fact
that just about everything in the world has an essence – the thing
that gives it its smell. Man has long been able to extract aromas
from the leaves, stems and flowers of plants, herbs and shrubs
through their volatile oils.

This, and the fact that they are insoluble
in water has led to them becoming known as essential oils, the
basic tools of the aromatherapist. Central to aromatherapy is
the need for essential, rather than fragrant oils. Natural products,
rather than human-made imitations, are the go.

Aromatherapists do not claim to have
natural “cures” or treatments for every ailment that affects the
human race, but a skilled practitioner will have suggestions to
improve the skin, muscles and joints, circulation, digestive and
respiratory systems and the reproductive and endocrine systems.

The essential oils that an aromatherapist uses enter their patients’
bodies via the skin and through breathing. (We
are interested in inhaled vapors)

They then enter the blood, transporting
the oils throughout the body. Once in place, the theory is that
the oils either instigate or support healing

Intuition is also at the heart of aromatherapy, which is one
reason science purists scoff at the art.

An aromatherapist, while having generic treatments at his or
her disposal, will “custom-build” a treatment to suit the individual
needs of a patient, mixing and diluting essential oils as the
situation demands.

A trained practitioner will always ensure that essential oils
are used with the utmost care; that they are never used undiluted
over large areas of the body and that they never come into direct
contact with patients’ eyes or mucous membranes.

A great deal of trust is essential on the patient’s behalf, especially
if he or she is coming to aromatherapy for the first time. But
a good aromatherapist will ensure that the patient gets explanations
along the way and that he or she gets to realize that an essential
oil is not something that gets poured into a car engine.

A reputable aromatherapist will also be aware of the risks of
allergic reaction, chemical incompatibility and other mainstream
scientific concerns surrounding your treatment.

Strong smells — researchers measure impact of aromatherapy


But what of the other senses – smell
and taste, will these ever have a role to play in VR applications?

Smell has a more direct route to the
brain than any other sense. The smell receptors high in the nose
synapse directly to the olfactory bulbs of the brain which lie
directly below the frontal lobes. Viewed from an evolutionary
perspective, smell is the most primitive of the senses. It plays
a very important role in lower species, the olfactory cortex of
fish occupies the entire cerebral hemispheres. Perhaps its ancient
nature accounts for the emotionally charged, evocative nature
of smell. Given its power to stir memory, it is surprising that
this sense has played so very minor a role in VR development.

Although, the idea of phials of different odours being dispensed
at appropriate times during a VR presentation is comical! Even
more bizarre is the consideration of taste. Any attempt to administer
a taste sensation is inevitably invasive and unlikely to be accepted;
demonstrating just how far are we from a true alternative reality
system and just how intimate such a system would need to be. I
said at the beginning of the chapter that more has changed in
the last twenty years than in the last thousand. That pace is
not slowing down. If the remaining senses eventually join the
VR fold, I wonder what a VR system will
look like twenty years from now!


Gates, W.H. (1995) The Road Ahead Viking

© Richard Brice 1996


Oils Vrs. Perfumes

Traditional perfumers that work for the famous fragrance houses
study for years to master the art and science of perfumery blending.
The perfumer’s standard repertoire consists of essential oils
but also of synthesized chemicals that mimic the constituents
(chemicals) of essential oils and other natural ingredients.

Perfumers use synthesized chemicals and chemicals extracted from
essential oils because they are often cheaper than using pure
essential oils and because the chemicals are standardized and
will be more consistent in aroma. If you can find a copy, The
Science and Art of Perfumery by Edward Sagarin (copyright 1945)
is a fascinating book that provides insight into the history and
science of perfumery.

In aromatherapy blending, only natural ingredients such as essential
oils, absolutes, CO2s, grain alcohol, carrier oils, herbs and
water are used. Because aromatherapy blending requires and benefits
from the use of unsynthesized chemicals, you shouldn’t have high
expectations for perfectly duplicating your favorite commercial

(Source Unknown)

Facts About The Use of Essential Oils:


The following was found on the above
website in April 2005. I have not attempted to verify any of this
information, or highlight any of it yet but it may be very useful
to students or researchers.

Facts About The Use of Essential Oils:

* The sense of smell is the only one of the five senses directly
linked to the limbic lobe of the brain, the emotional control
center. Where the sense of smell is concerned, our bodies react
first and we think later.

* Essential oils, through their fragrance and unique molecular
structure, can directly stimulate the limbic lobe and the hypothalamus
gland. The hypothalamus (also called the ‘master gland’) acts
as our hormonal control center. It releases chemical messengers
that can affect everything from sex drive to energy levels. The
production of growth hormones, sex hormones, thyroid hormones
and neurotransmitters such as serotonine are all governed by the

* Not only can the inhalation of essential oils be used to combat
stress and emotional trauma, but it can also stimulate the production
of hormones from the hypothalamus.

* In studies conducted at Vienna and Berlin Universities, researchers
found that sesquiterpenes, found in essential oils such as vetiver,
patchouli, cedarwood, sandalwood and frankincense, can increase
levels of oxygen in the brain by up to 28%.

* Essential oils and human blood share several common properties:
They fight infection, contain hormone-like compounds and initiate

* Working as the chemical defense mechanism of the plant, essential
oils possess potent antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.

* The ability of some essential oils to work as hormones helps
them bring balance to many physiological systems of the human
body. Oils like clary sage and sage that contain sclerol, for
example, have an estogenic actions.

* Essential oils have a chemical structure that is similar to
that found in human cells and tissues. This makes essential oils
compatible with human protein and enables them to be readily identified
and accepted by the body.

* Essential oils have a unique ability to penetrate cell membranes
and diffuse throughout the blood and tissues. The unique, lipid-soluable
structure of essential oils is very similar to the makeup of our
cell membranes. The molecules of essential oils are also relatively
small which enhances their ability to penetrate into the body’s

* When applied topically to the feet or elsewhere on the body,
essential oils can travel throughout the body in a matter of minutes.

* Research indicates that when essential oils are diffused, they
can increase atmospheric oxygen and provide negative ions, which
in turn inhibits bacterial growth.

* In the human body, essential oils stimulate the secretion of
antibodies, neurotransmitters, endorphins, hormones and enzymes.

* Because essential oils are composites of hundreds of different
chemicals, they can exert many different effects on the body.
For example, clove oil can be simultaneously antiseptic and anesthetic
when applied topically. It can also be anti-tumoral. Lavender
oil has been used for burns, insect bites, headaches, PMS, insomnia,
stress and hair growth.

* Because of their complexity, essential oils do not disturb
the body’s natural balance or homeostasis: if one constituent
exerts too strong an effect, another constituent may block or
counteract it. Synthetic chemicals, in contrast, usually have
only one action and often disrupt the body’s homeostasis.

The fragrance of an essential oil can directly affect everything
from your emotional state to your lifespan.

When a fragrance is inhaled, the odor molecules travel up the
nose where they are trapped by olfactory membranes that are well
protected by the lining inside the nose. Each odor molecule fits
like a little puzzle piece into specific receptor cell sites that
line a membrane known as the olfactory epithelium. When stimulated
by odor molecules, this lining of nerve cells triggers electrical
impulses to the olfactory bulb in the brain which then transmits
the impulses to the gustatory center (the taste center), the amygdala
(storage house of emotional memories) and other parts of the limbic
system. Because the limbic system is directly connected to those
parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing,
memory, stress levels and hormone balance, essential oils can
have profound physiological and psychological effects.

From Abstracts,

The following pages (to the end of this
document) are a small sampling of the 107 abstracts which may
have some value. I may link to many of them on my web site eventually.

Note: Below is a very important recent

66. The role of aromatherapy
in nursing care
– MED 01-09 21241052

Buckle, J.

JOURNAL NAME- Nurs Clin North Am VOL. 36 2001 Mar PP. 57-72 78
reference(s) DOCUMENT TYPE- Journal Article; Review; Review, Tutorial

ISSN-0029-6465 CORPORATE AUTHOR- Department of Botanical Medicine
and Psychology, Bastyr University, Seattle, Washington.


Aromatherapy is the fastest growing
of all complementary therapies among nurses in the United States.
Although aromatherapy has
been used by the public for recreation for thousands of years
and by nurses throughout the world during the last 15 years, it
is only in the last few years that aromatherapy has become recognized
by US State Boards of Nursing as a legitimate part of holistic
Aromatherapy is now set
to become one of the most popular tools that nurses can use to
enhance their nursing care and simultaneously empower themselves.
This article explores

the potential role of aromatherapy in
nursing, highlights four essential oils, and suggests practical
ways that nurses can begin using this gentle therapy.

Note: The story below relates to the
use of multisensory stimulation being more effective than aroma
by itself, and that
is effective for stress relief.

65. The influence of aromatherapy on mood. – CAB 01-04 20003029527

Shimizu, K.

JOURNAL NAME- Aroma Research VOL. 1 NO. 1 2000 PP. 50-54 5 reference(s)
DOCUMENT TYPE- Journal article ISSN- 1345-4722 ORGANISM


To study the influence of aromatherapy on mood, 3 experiments
were designed. The first involved stimulation of the sense of
smell, the second involved stimulation of the sense of touch,
and the third involved stimulation of smell and touch. Mood was
described and categorized, and sleep conditions were measured.
Stimulation of smell-touch had more influence on all categories
of mood and improved sleep compared with the stimulation of the
sense of smell alone. Aromatherapy is
effective for stress relief



1994 PERFUMER FLAVORIST, 1994, 19 (5), 25-49, 79 REFS DOCUMENT




Note: The following Aroma-Chology definition
may be quite useful. Our system is designed to work with essential
oils as well as most other fragrant substances.

The term Aroma-Chology (a Service Mark of the Olfactory Research
Fund) was coined in 1982 to denote the science that is dedicated
to the study of the interrelationship between psychology and …fragrance
technology to elicit a variety of specific feelings and emotions–relaxation,
exhilaration, sensuality, happiness and well being– through odors
via stimulation of olfactory pathways in the brain, especially
the limbic system. The term Aroma Science has been used by some
recent authors in the same sense in which Aroma-Chology is used
here, but the authors prefer the latter. The paper reviews research
findings over the past ten years in the areas of measuring the
effects of fragrances upon feelings, moods and emotions, and several
related areas of response: electrical activity in the brain, physiological
parameters such as heart rate and skin conductance, cognitive
functions such as memory and voluntary and involuntary behavior.

54. Use of aromatherapy as a complementary
for chronic pain. –

MED 00-01 99414471

Buckle, J.

JOURNAL NAME- Altern Ther Health Med VOL. 5 NO. 5 1999 Sep PP.




Chronic pain consumes approximately $70 billion per year and
affects some 80 million Americans. Increasingly, aromatherapy
has been used as part of an integrated, multidisciplinary approach
to pain management.

This therapy is thought to enhance the
parasympathetic response through the effects of touch and smell,
encouraging relaxation at a deep level. Relaxation has been shown
to alter perceptions of pain.
Even if one ignores the
possibility that essential oils have pharmacologically active
ingredients–or the potential pharmacokinetic potentization of
conventional drugs by essential oils–aromatherapy
might possibly play a role in the management of chronic pain through
relaxation. Clinical trials are in the early stages, but evidence
suggests that aromatherapy might be used as a complementary therapy
for managing chronic pain. As such, this article examines the
potential role of clinical aromatherapy as a complementary therapy
in the care of patients with chronic pain. Although the use of
aromatherapy is not restricted to nursing, at least 1 state board
of nursing has recognized the therapeutic value of aromatherapy
and voted to accept it as part of holistic nursing care.


Note: The following demonstrates that
Psychiatrists and other very respected medical types are studying
the use of essential oils for their purposes. It gives legitimacy
to our project and confidence to investors and end users.

5. Neurophysiological findings
on the effects of fragrance: Lavender and

Jasmine. – BIO 99-26 99-294419

Yagyu, T.

JOURNAL NAME- Integrative Psychiatry
VOL. 10 NO. 2 1994 PP. 62-67

ISSN- 0735-3847 AUTHOR AFFILIATION- Dep. Neuropsychiatry, Kansai

Medical University, 1 Fumizono-cho Moriguchi-shi, Osaka 570,


Biological Abstracts Vol. 103 Iss. 001 Ref. 009891 LANGUAGE-

The effects of two fragrance oils on the human central nervous
system(CNS) were studied using neurophysiological measurements.
Twenty healthy volunteers inhaled either lavender or jasmine following
a fragrance-free session. Lavender increased auditory reaction
time and slowed critical flicker fusion frequency irrespective
of the subjects’ preference.

Prolongation of coefficient of variation of R-R intervals were
noted only in those who liked the fragrance, regardless of the
inhaled fragrance. The fragrance specific characteristic changes
were noted on quantitative EEG; a decrease of fast activity during
lavender inhalation, and a decrease of slow activity during jasmine.
At the same time, the subjects’ liking influenced the EEG changes.
The effects of fragrance oils must be considered from two significant
factors: psychological and physiological.

– KOS 01-02 23119




Shiseido has produced a scent that does more than smell good.
The company has always been associated with the modern interest
in eastern philosophies. Back in 1964,
Shiseido released their first “zen” fragrance, which was designed
to evoke the mysticism of the orient. now Shiseido has created
a Zen fragrance that produces an effect in the brain similar to
the one produced by Zen meditation, so this new fragrance actually
improves one’s state of mind. Making a breakthrough in aromachology
technology, Shiseido developed the new fragrance using ingredients
that have been proven to impact feelings of well being and peace
of mind to those who smell them.
Six Shiseido Zen products
are offered: Zen perfumed

Essence, Zen eau de perfume aromatic natural spray, Zen eau de

aromatique a.o

105. Aromatherapy: mythical, magical, or medicinal? – MPP 03-01

Thomas, D. V.

JOURNAL NAME- Holist Nurs Pract VOL. 16 2002 Oct PP. 8-16 DOCUMENT
TYPE- Journal Article JOURNAL CODE- 8702105 ISSN- 0887-9311

CORPORATE AUTHOR- School of Nursing, University of Louisville,
Louisville, Kentucky, USA. PUBLICATION COUNTRY- United States

Aromatherapy, a branch of herbology, is
one of the fastest growing therapies in the world today. Historically,
essential oils are best used in the form of massage or bath oils
or inhalations. Frequently, it is reported that aromatherapy leaves
one feeling uplifted, stimulated, invigorated, or rejuvenated,
depending on the oil used. When inhaled, the various aromas
penetrate the bloodstream via the lungs causing physiologic changes.

In turn, the limbic system, which controls our emotions and memories,
is affected. Some consider aromatherapy as mystical or magical;
others, however, are attempting to validate empirically this ancient
therapy as medicinal.

106. Aromatherapy: therapeutic applications of plant essential
oils. – MPP

03-02 22386603 Halcon, L. L.

JOURNAL NAME- Minn Med VOL. 85 NO. 11 2002 Nov PP. 42-6 DOCUMENT


As is the case with many other complementary
and alternative therapies in the United States, the use of essential
oils or aromatherapy has increased in recent years. The term “aromatherapy”
can be confusing because it is used to describe a wide range of
practices involving odorous substances.

In order to advise and better inform patients, physicians and
other health professionals should be able to differentiate between
aesthetic applications of odors and clinical
uses of essential oils
(essential oil therapy). They
also should be able to identify key issues regarding safety and
efficacy. There is a growing body of
evidence in the scientific literature suggesting that plant essential
oils, alone or in combination with other therapies, maybe beneficial
in treating a number of health conditions
. This article
describes essential oil therapy and identifies key issues for

NOTES: *Disclaimers and Copyright Disclosure*

1) All information above was sourced from newspaper, magazine,
website and professional journal articles.

2) The aromaComposer website is not responsible nor necessarily
shares the same views expressed as content on this particular
web page. Any information contained herein is for educational
or research purposes only, may be news related, someone’s opinion
or purely speculation. Always consult with a qualified health
practitioner before deciding on any course of treatment, especially
for serious or any life-threatening illnesses.

3) In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted
work in this message is distributed under fair use, without profit
or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
the included information for non-profit research and educational
purposes only.

4) All other material contained herein is copyright under international
law by R. D. Nelson and may not be reproduced without prior permission
by R. D. Nelson.

c. 2003 R. Douglas Nelson. All Rights Reserved.

The document developed from this research, was authored by Davis Langer, at the time and currenty still with The Visioneering Group …. … the  marketing company so known for its   “What the Bleep” film promotions.

The original document can be found here:

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