From cleaning products to treating the symptoms of the flu, essential oils have been used to treat and protect people from various ailments, injuries and germs.
From cleaning products to treating the symptoms of the flu, essential oils have been used to treat and protect people from various ailments, injuries and germs. Though still controversial, in a time when organic alternatives and going green is recommended and popular, this alternative to harsh chemicals and medicines has become a trend.
“We believe in a whole family wellness. Essential oils are just another element of holistic health,” said Dr. Morgan Schoeling of Stupka Chiropractic and Wellness Center in McPherson. “I think aromatherapy speaks for itself with use. People can do the research and try for themselves to see if it works for them.”
Saturday, Stupka Chiropractic and Wellness Center will have a “Make and Take with Essential Oils” event from 1 to 4 p.m. DoTerra Wellness Educator Hannah Reasoner will be at the event to guide people through the mixing and uses of essential oils. Reasoner is also a licensed massage therapist and child birth educator.
DoTerra is an essential oil retail company created in 2008 by health care and business professionals who believed in the benefits of essential oils.
“I grew up with my mom taking care of us kids with natural remedies,” Reasoner asked. “I feel strongly that people need a natural alternative for medicine.”
Aromatherapy, a form of herbal medicine, employs the use of essential oils. These oils are gathered through chemical extraction from their parent herbs.
Essential oils can be evaporated into the air, applied directly to the skin and, less commonly, ingestion.
The Federal Drug Administration has not approved the use of essential oils in the treatment of any injury or ailment, because the testing and study required for approval is more complicated in essential oils than is for traditional medicine. A difficulty in testing lies in the need for blind, placebo-controlled trials. For results of a study to be truly viable, both participants and researchers must be kept in the dark regarding participants who received real treatment and who received placebo.
Although this may be possible in the case of ingestion, a fundamental element of essential oils and aromatherapy is the scent of the oil. Participants will most likely be aware of whether they smell something or not. This is a problem because research has shown that when an expectation of the effects is created, those effects may occur simply because of those expectations, commonly known as the “placebo effect.”
Another issue in performing studies having to do with olfactory senses, is that odors stimulate memories and associations. Rose oil, for instance, in aromatherapy, has many uses from an antidepressant to an antiviral. However, the smell of roses for some people may conjure up fond memories of their grandmothers’ flower gardens and for others still may remind them of a much disliked teacher’s rose-scented perfume, therefore distorting the results.
Because of the lack of research and FDA approval, essential oil distributors aren't allowed to promote oils as cures for diseases or treatment options. They must walk a fine line with how they sell and share the products. However, those who don’t distribute the products are able to promote the product. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list many essential oils as natural remedies and protectants for various situations, including mosquito repellent and certain skin conditions.
While the FDA has not conducted their research, many studies have been performed by various cosmetic, food, flavoring and medical companies. Though not up to FDA standards for conclusive results, these companies have generally shown essential oils to have positive effects on a variety of health concerns, including infections, pain, anxiety, depression, tumors, premenstrual syndrome and nausea.
Many believers in essential oils won’t call aromatherapy the cure-all or recommend users to stop seeing medical providers. However, a happy medium between holistic and traditional medicine has been gained by aromatherapy believers.
“Several reputable research centers show that essential oils have a lot of positive effects,” Reasoner said. “I would never tell someone not to take medicine prescribed by a doctor. I’m not a doctor. However, there are essential oil remedies out there that can work in conjunction with medicines or even in place of them.”