Aromatherapy is not a "psuedo-science".

Aromatherapy employs the use of natural plant essences and their volatile oils to create therapuetic physiological effects. The low molecular weight of many essential oils allows them to permeate cell membranes easily, either by direct skin contact, or inhalation.

Many substances found in nature outside of our bodies also exist within our bodies. Essential oils often have some protective or regulatory function in the plant body. We have some of the same regulatory functions and chemical receptors that plants have, in our own bodies.

Molecules that exist in plants that are the most bio-active for humans are those that are similar to substances within our own bodies that act on hormonal and nuerotransmitter regulation.

For thousands of years, opiate compounds from the Papaver Somniferum, or Opium Poppy, have been known to reduce pain, but only in the last century did research point to "Endogenous Morphine", a "feel good" chemical made in our own bodies. The reason we have chemo-receptors that enable our bodies to utilize Opiates is because of the natural biological pathways that are already in place.

Different classes of highly bio-active molecules may exist in plant resins, oils, and alkaloids. The main types of compounds used in Aromatherapy are: Terpines, Ketones, Aldehydes, Alchohols, Phenols, and Esters. Some of these substances can be quite benign, others are potentialy toxic. If you are interested in delving deep into Aromatherapy, brush up on your chemistry.

Aromachology is a "psuedo-science".

A psuedoscience is a body of knowledge, methodology, belief or practice that claims to be based on scientific knowlege, but is actually supported by subjective, anecdotal evidence, rather than objective analysis and research. This does not exclude the possibility that psuedoscientific claims may have some degree of validity, but it remains an open question.

Admittedly the lines between Aromachology and Aromatherapy are not crystal clear, but much of what is labeled "Aromatherapy" for the on-trend American consumer is actually "Aromachology". In Aromachology fragrances are combined with specific psychological objectives in mind, hopefully to elicit a positive response. Since different people have different scent associated memories and experiences, effects on individuals are not consistent.

Consumers enjoy scents like "gingerbread" and "banana parfait", which play to the sensual connections that people have with fragrances that gratify, evoke a pleasant memory, or create a sense of security, this is aromachology. You may enjoy "lavender&vanilla" fabric softener, but unless you are spritzing your sheets with actual floral waters, this is also aromachology, not aromatherapy. Read ingredients on lotions and body care products, if you see petroleum products like mineral oil as one of the first ingredients instead of a plant based oil, and "fragrance" listed instead of specific plant essential oils, resins or gels, you are looking at "Aromachology".

Often synthetic fragrances are chemically very close to natural ones, however, when anything with a pleasant smell is called "Aromatherapy", the term becomes a misnomer.

Aromachology is used to evoke mood and create ambience by using a combination of natural and synthetic fragrance compounds. The Olfactory part of the mammalian brain ties scent to memory, past experiences, and future expectation. Pheromones or sexual scent cues, often used in perfumes, are so subtle that we may actually not "smell" them on a conscious level, yet we may react with heightened awareness to their presence in a room.

A whole industry has developed around the Psychology of Scent that uses scented air systems in commercial spaces to make a deeper impact on customer experience. Mammals are continuously processing information through their noses, either on a conscious level or not. Aromachology is becoming a very sophisticated tool to manipulate our deepest sensory perceptions.

Go to Aromachology Charts if you are curious about the Aromachology of combining fragrances.

In all Joyance and Goodly Gree
Be well.