Aromatherapy Could Help Lower Blood Pressure
30 Nov, 2012 - 06:46pm
Are you a spa lover? Do you like pampering yourself? If you are, then you would be delighted to know that these spas are not only capable of giving the relaxation you need, but they may also give you health benefits through the essential oils that they use.
One of the best examples where essential oils are used not only in relieving stress but also for healing is aromatherapy. This is one form of relaxation where essential oils extracted from aromatic plants are used in order to provide natural healing.
A study was conducted by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology regarding the benefits that the scents, coming from the aromatic essential oils used in spas, can provide to our body aside from giving us a sense of rest. This study showed that the essential oils used in aromatherapy which are intended to relieve stress may also have beneficial effects on an individual’s blood pressure and heart rate, which in return reduce the risk of acquiring or aggravating cardiovascular diseases. But it was noted that the exposure should only be short-term or less than one hour to be exact, because these effects may be reversed when the individual is exposed to these essential oils for over an hour.
The participants of this study were a hundred young and healthy non-smoking men and women who were working for various spa centers located in Taipei City, Taiwan. This location was chosen because in this city the traditions of ancient Chinese civilizations were highly maintained in healing therapies and religious ceremonies.
The participants were made to visit a study centre – which served as a dummy spa – on three occasions where they were exposed to essential oil vapors which were released using an ultrasonic ionizer for two hours. During the duration of the study, the participant’s resting heart rate as well as diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and systolic blood pressure (SBP) were measured and recorded on every visit. An hour prior to the arrival of the participant in the center, 100% pure bergamot essential oils were vaporized in the room.
It is believed that essential oils are volatile organic compounds that are composed of hundreds of aromatic chemicals; this is the reason why the VOC levels inside the room were also measured during the whole study period.
The results showed that the VOC level of the room is highly associated with the heart rate and blood pressure reduction from the 15th minute to the 60th minute after the exposure started. This result was concluded after the researchers made adjustments on the sex, age, BMI, visit order and day of the week that the participant entered the study room. For example, the researchers have recorded that after 45 minutes of exposure the 15-minute SBP has reduced by approximately 2.10mmHG and the heart rate reduced by 2.21 beats per minute.
On the other hand, after over an hour of exposure, ranging from the 75th minute to the 120th minute after the exposure started, the VOC levels was affected by a 15-minute mean heart and blood pressure rate. This means that after 120 minutes the SBP baseline increased to 2.19 mmHg and the heart rate increased to 1.70 beats per minute. Through this result, the researchers came to the conclusion that prolonged exposure to essential oils may cause harm to the cardiovascular health of young and healthy subjects.
This study also showed that exposure to essential oil for an hour may be effective in reducing blood pressure and heart rate, but on the contrary, exposure to the same for more than an hour may elevate blood pressure and heart rate. Over exposure to essential oils may be liken to exposure to pollution, which is unhealthy and dangerous for our lungs.