Schneider, R. (2016). There is something in the air: Testing the efficacy of a new olfactory stress relief method (AromaStick®). Stress & Health, 32, 411-426.
Abstract: 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. Yet, depending on the mode of application, aromatherapeutic interventions show varying degrees of therapeutic effectiveness. In a series of five experiments, the effects of a new mode of aromatherapeutic application (inhaler) was investigated, which is specifically designed to directly stimulate the olfactory system and to reduce the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. Overall, the application of the inhaler showed consistent and large psychological and physiological effects. It also clearly outperformed other stress management techniques, like progressive muscle relaxation, Bach flowers or passive resting periods (natural control). The effects occurred shortly after very few inhalations, drastically reduced stress related biomarkers (i.e. blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol) and considerably enhanced well-being.