The scents which permeate our health spas from aromatic essential oils may provide more benefits than just a sense of rest and well-being. For according to a new study the essential oils which form the basis of aromatherapy for stress relief are also reported to have a beneficial effect on heart rate and blood pressure following short-term exposure – and may therefore reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, on the downside, those beneficial effects were reversed when exposure to essential oils lasted more than an hour.
The study was performed in men and women working in various spa centres in the city of Taipei in Taiwan, where the traditions of ancient Chinese civilisations are maintained in religious ceremonies and healing therapies. Aromatherapy, as practised today, is still presented as natural healing with essential oils extracted by infusion from aromatic plants.
One hundred young, healthy non-smoking spa workers taking part in the study visited the study centre on three occasions (about once a week), when each volunteer was exposed to vapours of essential oils released from an ultrasonic ioniser for two hours. During this time and on each visit three repeated measurements