Tag Archives | aromatherapy

Aromatherapy described as pseudoscience

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Posted 19 May 2021

In a brief article, Joe Nickell discusses the history, claimed effects, and lack of supportive evidence that aromatherapy is beneficial in preventing, treating, or curing any disease.

Nickell describes aromatherapy as the pseudoscience of using aromatic substances for claimed improvements to one’s physical or mental health. He argues that aromatherapy may help people relax through the power of suggestion or augment the soothing, stimulating, or other action of massage in administering aromatherapy oils.

Reference: Nickell J. Aromatherapy: ‘Healing’ by the scents of smell. Skeptical Inquirer, 45(3):43-44, May/June 2021

Source: Consumer Health Digest #21-19, May 16, 2021

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Aromatherapy debunked

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Posted 04 September 2019

Joe Schwarcz, Ph.D. who directs McGill University’s Office for Science & Society, has summarized the chemistry and marketing of essential oil products used for aromatherapy.

Reference: Schwarcz J. The right chemistry: the science and pseudoscience of essential oils. Montreal Gazette, Aug 23, 2019

He notes:

Sales of essential oils are dominated by multi-level marketing (MLM) companies that snare potential participants with promises of wealth through a commission system. Unfortunately, this often drives individuals to make outlandish claims about using the oils to treat cancer, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, mononucleosis or arthritis. There seems to be an oil for any condition that potential customers have. The Food and Drug Administration in the United States has sent warning letters to the major MLM companies, resulting in more careful wording of claims, but there is no way to police what parties say in the privacy of a home, where Read the rest

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Australia ends insurance subsidies for naturopathy, homeopathy, and more

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Posted 23 October 2017

The Australian government has eliminated the insurance subsidy for 17 alternative health practices due to a lack of evidence for efficacy.

An article by Scott Gavura, published in Science Based Medicine, makes the following points (extracts):

Public health care systems face criticism when they spend money on treatments that don’t work. With ageing populations and the rising cost of treatments, there’s more and more scrutiny of what these programs pay for. One of the most effective ways that insurance programs can reduce the use of a health service or treatment is to simply stop paying for it. But this is relatively uncommon, because once a benefit’s in place, there tends to be a lot of resistance to change – even if the move was wrongheaded to begin with. That’s one of the (many) reasons this blog has been critical of permitting the licensing of alternative-to-health Read the rest

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“Natural therapies” panned in Australia

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Posted 02 December 2015

An Australian Department of Health review of 17 “natural” modalities could result in their exclusion from the partial subsidy Australians receive through their government’s private health insurance rebate. The 188-page Review of the Australian Government Rebate on Natural Therapies for Private Health Insurance covers Alexander technique, aromatherapy, ayurveda, Bowen therapy, Buteyko, Feldenkrais, herbalism/Western herbalism, homeopathy, iridology, kinesiology, massage therapy (including deep tissue, lymphatic drainage, myofascial release, myotherapy, remedial, shiatsu, sports therapy, Swedish, Thai, and therapeutic), naturopathy, Pilates, reflexology, Rolfing, tai chi, and yoga. In 2012, the Health Minister announced that the Private Health Insurance Rebate will be paid for insurance products that cover natural therapy services “only where the Chief Medical Officer finds clear evidence they are clinically effective.” The review concluded that “Such clear evidence has not been found.” However, the current Health Minister has expressed doubts about dropping the rebate on these services. … Read the rest

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