I am sceptical about the benefits of aromatherapy. I am not anti-complimentary therapy. Just as I am sceptical about the benefits of some drugs, the effect of some injections and the validity of a lot of cardiac surgery, so I am sceptical about aromatherapy.
You smell stuff and get better. Huh?
Some sites are nauseating in their juxtaposition of soft fluffy cuddly safeness and hard longterm pseudoscience. Would you trust this salesman? I wouldn't. Some content just riles me too much.
Several of our band 3 and band 4 staff have undertaken aromatherapy and massage courses. They've been undertaking aromatherapy and hand massage with patients who have dementia. A proportion of patients have behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). As they're increasingly distraught and disoriented they find it harder to engage with the nursing staff. Confrontational and unhelpful behaviour can escalate. Medication is used to help them regain control to engage in the reality orientation processes with nursing staff. This gives me audit data showing the prevalence of lorazepam use prn (as needed) for BPSD on that day unit.
Staff didn't change. The band 3 and band 4 staff started to do aromatherapy hand massages and burn basil and whatnots. Incidence of BPSD reduced. Prevalence of lorazepam use prn reduced.
Maybe it does work on the limbic system, improving things for a wee while. Maybe it's a placebo effect. I don't know. But it seems to be useful for some of my patients, some of the time, with no significant treatment emergent adverse events.