Aromatherapy from a scientific perspective
My October article discussing aromatherapy from a scientific perspective: pain and inflammation
My article is available at
According to the National Institutes of Health, “pain affects more Americans than diabetes,
heart disease and cancer combined” (1). Uncontrolled pain is debilitating, and can lead to
secondary conditions such as anxiety, depression, and sleep disruption (2, 3). Oftentimes,
conventional treatments are not adequate for controlling pain (4, 5, 6), which leads many to
explore alternative treatments including aromatherapy (7). Fortunately, evidence for
alternative treatments is mounting, and these data add to the scientific understanding of the
complex mechanisms of acute, chronic, and neuropathic pain.
This review explores the analgesic and anti-inflammatory aspects of chemicals found in some aromatics, and their interaction with cellular processes in the body. It is the opinion of this author that the future of aromatherapy lies in integration of scientific data. This not only
increases the likelihood of effective treatments, but also lends legitimacy to aromatherapeutic
practice as a whole. Continued collaboration of bench scientists, physicians, and
aromatherapists is crucial in complementary medicine, and improvement of quality of life for
those living with pain.