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Aromatherapy: Mythical, Magical, or Medicinal?

Thomas, Deborah V. EdD, ARNP, CS

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Aromatherapy, a branch of herbology, is one of the fastest growing therapies in the world today. Historically, essential oils are best used in the form of massage or bath oils or inhalations. Frequently, it is reported that aromatherapy leaves one feeling uplifted, stimulated, invigorated, or rejuvenated, depending on the oil used. When inhaled, the various aromas penetrate the bloodstream via the lungs causing physiologic changes. In turn, the limbic system, which controls our emotions and memories, is affected. Some consider aromatherapy as mystical or magical; others, however, are attempting to validate empirically this ancient therapy as medicinal.

Assistant Professor School of Nursing University of Louisville Louisville, Kentucky

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