Medical Aromatherapy & Aroma Care

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Medical Aromatherapy & Aroma Care
Medical Aromatherapy & Aroma Care
Video: Medical Aromatherapy & Aroma Care
Video: Aromatherapy: How Essential are Essential Oils? 2023, February

Medicinal aromatherapy and aromatherapy

Medicinal aromatherapy aims to alleviate and prevent diseases and disorders. High-quality, authentic, natural essential oils that correspond in their composition to pharmacopoeias and monographs are used. With professional application, an individual holistic therapy can be designed. Aromatic care should promote health and wellbeing.


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  • What is the background?
  • How does the method work?
  • What areas of application are there?
  • What evidence is there?
  • What are the limits of the method?
  • Whom can I ask?
  • ">How are the costs going to be covered?



What is the background?

After the invention of steam distillation over two millennia ago, aromatherapy developed worldwide in high cultures and in the European Middle Ages in monasteries. At the beginning of the 20th century it found its way into integrative medicine. Essential oils are obtained from parts of plants by steam distillation, in citrus fruits by cold pressing.

How does the method work?

According to the Austrian Society for Scientific Aromatherapy and Aroma Care (ÖGwA), aromatherapy works in two ways:

  • Through intense smell (and limbic system such as almonds) be exercised in a split second via the olfactory nerve effects on centers in the central and mid-brain and pain processing, emotion and memory influenced. Practically all organ systems are reached via the vegetative nervous system (sympathetic, parasympathetic).
  • The positive biochemical-pharmacological effects of the ingredients of the essential oils are also used.

Note Undesirable effects can also occur.

What areas of application are there?

According to its proponents, trained aromatherapy can be used for the following indications:

  • Sole therapy: disorders of wellbeing.
  • Accompanying therapy: degenerative diseases, infections, chemotherapy, serious illnesses, stress reactions.
  • Relapse prevention and convalescence.

Frequent applications are room scenting, individual aromatherapy, rub-in, massage, inhalation, compress, compress, partial bath, full bath, sauna, suppository, oral administration, gargle solution.

What evidence is there?

Traditional aromatherapy sees proof of its effectiveness and harmlessness through practical experience, monographs and the plausibility of existing studies on essential oils and their ingredients. In a strictly scientific sense, however, there is little evidence for the effectiveness of aromatherapy.

Medical transparency (, a service provided by the Department for Evidence-Based Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology at Danube University Krems and Cochrane Austria, studies on the effects of aromatherapy and comes to the following results:

  • Sleep disorders: Based on the current state of studies, it is unclear whether inhaling lavender aroma can help with sleep disorders. Most of the studies currently available have major methodological deficiencies. In addition, it is uncertain which undesirable side effects can occur as a result of (long-term) inhalation of the lavender aroma. You can find detailed information under medicine-transparent.
  • Dementia diseases: Based on the current state of studies, it is largely unclear whether aromatherapy can help patients with dementia. There are quite a few studies on the subject, but many of them have major shortcomings and are therefore not comparable. Studies with lemon balm aroma, for example, have contradicting results. With lavender aromatherapy, however, a certain tendency has emerged: it does not seem to help against restlessness and aggression - both typical side effects of dementia. You can find detailed information
  • Birth: Previous studies have been poorly done, so their results can only be trusted to a limited extent. They suggest that aromatherapy with lavender oil might provide some slight relief from labor pain. It has not been clarified whether aromatherapy also shortens the length of birth. You can find detailed information

What are the limits of the method?

The limitations of medical aromatherapy are mainly in the following areas:

  • excessive and irresponsible recommendations for use,
  • technically and materially unsuitable quality,
  • incorrect assessment of the benefit-risk ratio,
  • Ignorance of undesirable side effects and possible interactions,
  • Triggering of allergies: rarely (0.1 to 3.5 percent).

Whom can I ask?

Competent contact points are doctors with special knowledge in aromatherapy with training in medical aromatherapy or with a diploma from the Austrian Medical Association in phytotherapy. A list of appropriately trained doctors is available from the ÖGwA.

How are the costs going to be covered?

The costs for complementary medical treatment are usually not covered by the health insurance carriers and in a few cases with the approval of the chief physician. In the spa and rehabilitation sector, at least partial cost coverage is provided for individual services. In any case, it is worth checking with the responsible health insurance company.

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