AROMATHERAPY sessions could lower the risk of developing heart disease, a study claims.
The essential oil treatment has been found to have a beneficial effect on peoples’ heart rate and blood pressure after even short-term exposure.
The research, published in the prestigious European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, found being exposed to the oils for an hour helped heart health.
But it also found that being exposed to the aromatherpay oils for more than 60 minutes could be damaging - increasing both heart rate and blood pressure.
Researchers studied hundreds of people who had aromatherapy treaments in spas in Taipei, Taiwan, where oils are commonly used as a natural healing treatment.
They checked the heart rate and blood pressure of people before and after they were exposed to the oils. And they tested if there were different effects for pronlonged periods of exposure.
Before each participant entered the study room, 100% pure bergamot essential oil was vaporised for an hour.
Dr Kai-Jen Chuang from Taipei Medical University said: “Our results suggest that exposure to essential oil for 1 hour would be effective in reducing heart rate and blood pressure.
“However, the most interesting finding of our study is that exposure to essential oil for over an hour was associated with elevated blood pressure and heart rate.”
Essential oils are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) composed of hundreds of aromatic chemicals.
The results showed the room’s VOCs linked with reduced blood pressure and heart rate for between 15 and 60 minutes after the start of exposure.
Previous studies have also shown aromatherapy can be effective in reducing stress, headaches, back pain and digestive disorders.
The natural oils used in treatments, and often burned in rooms. come from flowers, bark, stems, leaves and roots and are designed to enhance a person’s psychological and and physical well-being.
Inhaling the aroma from the oils is widely beleived to stimulate brian function and when absorbed through the skin they are said to travel through the bloodstream to promote healing.