Aromatherapy is immensely popular nowadays. It seems like everywhere you go, you can find rose geranium-infused candles, citrus and bergamont room sprays, and lavender-scented eye pillows. I enjoy these sweet smells, and my spirit is often buoyed by them. However, recent research is saying that aromatherapy doesn't work — well, at least not for the two popular scents lavender and lemon.
Researchers at Ohio State University conducted a two-year study that included scientifically rigorous testing of the body's physical changes when people smelled popular scents — and they came up with nothing. Patients were subjected to stressors, like dipping a foot in icy water (sounds fun), and even when patients were told to sniff lavender because it had destressing abilities, it didn't do a thing for their bodies' physical stress levels. They found that lemon did lift people's moods, but it didn't affect their heart rates, blood pressure, immune functions, or stress hormones.
Scientists admitted that the results surprised them. Even the people who believed in the power of aromatherapy — those who regularly bought scented products — didn't show any physical reactions to what they sniffed.
So according to this study (which cost nearly $374,000, by the way), aromatherapy may not be a cure for illnesses or pain, and it may boost your immune system. When it comes down to it, if smelling a scent makes you happy, having a sniff certainly won't hurt you. What do you think? Is aromatherapy a bunch of quackery, or do you think it really can heal the body and make you feel better?