The effects of aromatherapy on blood and lymph circulation are one of the areas in the field which has been studied extensively in the effort to determine exactly how aromatherapy works. It is known that aromatherapy releases complex chemical compounds such as alcohol, esters, ketones and tetanes into the air. These are the ‘smells’ which we perceive. It is known that the aroma affects the brain waves in various parts of the brain during aromatherapy. It is known that some aromatherapy measures increase serotonin levels in the blood leading to relaxation and reduction of anxiety. It is not known, however exactly how this happens.
Further work on the effects of aromatherapy on blood and lymph circulation will certain help to answer the continuing questions about the effectiveness of the treatment.
Scientific studies have continued on the subject. For example, a test of the effects of aromatherapy on menstrual cramps conducted in a college setting in Korea used a mixture of lavender, clary sage and rose in almond oil topically applied to the abdomen via massage. The results were a statistically significant reduction in the rated pain level for the study group compared to the control group and the placebo group.
Swedish massage relies on the manipulation of tissue around wounds and painful areas to increase the blood and lymph circulation in the area. By using the aromatherapy essential oils during the massage, a synergistic effect is realized. Current massage techniques are gentler and intended to have a calming effect on the client rather than directly impacting circulation through pressure and manipulation.
However, since it is known that aromatherapy increases the level or serotonin in the blood, it can safely be assumed that aromatherapy has a direct impact on blood chemistry. Therefore, aromatherapy has tri-fold effects on blood and lymph circulation. Direct massage increases the blood flow to the area. The chemical compounds captured by the scent receptors in the nasal passages and mucus membranes of the nose and throat trigger the brain’s limbic area to release chemicals into the blood stream. Third, the client’s visualization of improved circulation and relaxation, while not necessarily a part of a typical aromatherapy session has been shown to be effective in biological changes through other changes. Techniques such as biofeedback can be learned and have shown positive results.
Measurement devices can be incorporated to provide positive proof of the effectiveness of aromatherapy techniques.