Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Aromatherapy bites the dust: "Aromatherapy is a "New Age marketing con" that does nothing more than burn a hole in your pocket, say researchers. Psychologists claim to have debunked the idea that aromatherapy oils can relieve pain and alleviate ill-health. The growing popularity of aromatherapy in Britain has led to a 20 million pounds-a-year industry in oils bought over the counter, plus a booming business in spas and health farms. Surveys show three out of four people believe the treatment works. But a psychologist who specialises in the power of scent says his experiments expose a massive marketing exercise which has no scientific basis. Rather than relieving pain, aromatherapy could even make people experience pain more intensely, says Dr Neil Martin, of Middlesex University. In his study, volunteers were asked to plunge their arms into freezing water to see if a pleasant lemon smell could mitigate their discomfort, or if the unpleasant smell of machine oil would make it worse. In fact, the lemon and the machine oil performed equally badly. In fact, the volunteers not exposed to any odours at all were best off".

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