Aromatherapy uses plant materials and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering one’s mood, cognitive, psychological or physical well-being.
It can be offered as a complementary therapy or, more controversially, as form of alternative medicine. Complementary therapy can be offered alongside standard treatment, with alternative medicine offered ‘instead of conventional treatments’, conventional treatments being often scientifically proven.
Aromatherapists, who specialize in the practice of aromatherapy, utilize blends of therapeutic essential oils that can be issued through topical application, massage, inhalation or water immersion to stimulate a desired response.
Some essential oils such as oil from Melaleuca alternifolia have demonstrated anti-microbial effects, but there is still a lack of clinical evidence demonstrating efficacy against bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. Evidence for the efficacy of aromatherapy in treating medical conditions remains poor, with a particular lack of studies employing rigorous methodology.