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Information on Aromatherapy and Aromachology

Aromatherapy is the usage of essential oils obtained fromplants for therapeutic purposes in order to improve one’s physical and psychologicalhealth. French chemist called Rene Maurice Gattefosse coined the term in 1928in order to describe the healing properties of aromatic essences of herbs andplants and the essential oils obtained from them, even though such practicedates back to the times of ancient civilizations. Aromatherapy is stronglyintegrated with folk medicine, and the essential oils are rarely studied in ascientific manner, because there is no commercial incentive which would justifyit. The smell of essential oils is secondary to their medical purpose and theirattributes for healing are rather specific. Aromachology is a completelydifferent thing, as it is a scientific approach to explaining the effects offragrance on the behavior and psychology of human beings. The term was coinedby the Sense of Smell Insitute in 1989. The institute is a non-profiteducational part of the international industry of fragrance. It deals withcontrolled scientific studies and it considers both synthetic and naturalodorants. The corporate sponsorship drives the aromachology because there are alarge number of fragrance applications which can be applied commercially. Thereis a certain overlapping of the two disciplines, mainly because aromatherapyutilizes inhalation of diffused essential oils in order to prevent and treatvarious medical conditions such as irritability, lethargy, depression andanxiety. Aromatherapy does not involve the usage of any types of artificialfragrances because they do not have any therapeutic value and they cannot affectthe mood that much. Aromachology points out that all the virtues of natural essentialoils cannot be supported by any type of clinical or scientific evidence.

The effect of fragrance on emotion

Emotions are greatly affected by fragrances. Odor is oftenvery strongly associated with the way one memorizes things or events and notonly that, it also evokes all the emotions commonly affiliated with thatparticular event. The primary olfactory cortex in the human brain is in chargeof processing all information about odors. It is also connected with the amygdalaand the hippocampus which are in charge of emotions and memories. These areactually among the most primitive functions of the human body. Both syntheticand natural odorants can trigger certain psychological response, but syntheticsubstances cannot be used in aromatherapy. The lack of funding is the mainproblem when it comes to studying the essential oils in a scientific way.

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