Singer, N. & Schneider, R. (2017). Practically relevant stress relieving effects of olfactory stimuli delivered by a specially formulated odour inhaler (AromaStick®): Overview of an initial series of studies testing different boundary conditions. International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy, 11, 48-58.
Background: In recent years, aromatherapy has become increasingly popular for clinical treatment and therapeutic management of both acute and chronic stress. It targets distinct and unique neurobiological characteristics of the olfactory system, which is tightly linked to emotions and information processing as well as the autonomous nervous system.
Objective: Can a new mode of aromatherapeutic application (inhaler) stimulate the olfactory system sufficiently to reduce the activity of the sympathetic nervous system in short-term and long-term situations and how does this compare to alternative approaches.
Method: Five studies with a total of 280 participants investigated the effects from the Aromastick Relax and Aromastick Calm on a number of stress bio-markers in a short and long-term setting and compared the effects to popular alternative stress-relieving efforts such as inhalers with arousing properties, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Bach flowers, and the same scents in a room.
Results: The application of the inhaler showed consistend and large psychological and physiological effects. It also clearly outperformed other stress management techniques, like progressive muslce relaxation, Bach flowers or passive resting periods (natural control). The effects occurred shortly after very few inhalations, drastically reduced stress biomarkers (e.g. blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol) and consierably enhanced well-being. The effects were most dramatic in short-term situations but even the effectiveness over long time use could be shown.
Conclusion: The pattern over the five studies was consistent. Not only did the inhalers outperform established relaxation methods (rest, PMR, room scent and Bach flowers remedy), but the relaxing effects also showed in all measured parameters and in the intended direction.