Article

There Is Something in the Air: Testing the Efficacy of a new Olfactory Stress Relief Method (AromaStick®)

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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. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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... Recently, an alternative inhaler (AromaStick ® ) was designed which directly delivers volatile phytochemicals to the nose. It contains essential oil compositions whose principal and individual effects are well documented [21][22][23][24]. Depending on the odor composition used, the inhaler produces various clinically relevant effects. ...
... Its primary active profile is to ease and level out. Thus, although this inhaler has shown to have specific effects with regard to relieving stress symptoms like heightened blood pressure, elevated cortisol levels, and increased heart rate [23], it was deemed non-specific with regard to symptoms of allergic rhinitis because its active profile does not alleviate AR-typical symptoms. The odor inhaler consists of a lipstick-sized aromatic tube with a suspended filter filled with the essential oils held in the middle. ...
... Interestingly, only persons in the 'Calm' group (n = 4) experienced tiredness as a side effect. Previous studies have shown that this inhaler significantly reduces blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels after only a few inhalations [23]. Thus, it may well be that the frequent and regular use in this study caused sleepiness in these individuals who, on average used it 14 times a day. ...
Article
Background: There are effective pharmaceutical agents to treat seasonal allergic rhinitis, but more and more individuals resort to alternative forms of treatment. One possible alternative candidate is essential oils. Recently, an inhaler specifically designed to deliver essential oil scents has proven very effective in treating various medical parameters (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate, cortisol, blood oxygenation, or pain). Objective: This work investigates whether an inhaler (AromaStick® ‘Nasal Fresh’) designed to clear the nasal passageway and reduce congestion has beneficial effects in individuals suffering from seasonal allergic rhinitis. Method: A two-armed, randomized, controlled, double-blind effectiveness trial involving individuals with medium to strong symptoms was conducted to investigate the inhaler’s specific treatment effects. Results: Over a period of two weeks, the odor inhaler strongly reduced allergic symptoms for both overall AR symptomatology (d = 1.2) and individual symptomatic allergic rhinitis burden (d = 1.7). Conclusion: The inhaler produced strong symptom relief. Effects were largest in individuals suffering primarily from nasal symptoms.
... Recently, it was shown that the full capacity of an odor depends on the mode of application [16]. In a series of five experiments comparing different stress-relieving methods, very large effects were found only when an inhaler was directly held under the nose. ...
... Adjectives indicating negative mood and wellbeing are recoded such that a higher MWC score reflected better mood and wellbeing. Cronbach α for the MWV is.80 [16]. ...
... All oils are received with a certificate of analysis and corre- 1 One could argue that the effect of the inhalers should have been tested against an empty inhaler to test for possible confounding factors like, e.g., deep breathing. In fact, such a control was employed in one of the previous studies [16]. These results showed that deep inhalations through an empty inhaler did not produce any physiological or psychological effect but instead was comparable to changes of a natural control group. ...
Article
Background: Recently, it was demonstrated in a series of experiments that a specifically designed odor inhaler outperformed well-known and popular stress relieving techniques. In another study it was shown that odor inhalers increased attention and concentration in a demanding cognitive task. Objective: This paper follows up on these experiments and investigates whether such effects can also be found for an inhaler specially designed to reduce pain. Method: Two prospective randomized, controlled cross-over documentary studies were conducted comparing participants’ individual pain management (menstrual pain and chronic lower back pain) with an odor inhaler used as an adjuvant. Results: The odor inhaler improved pain dynamics like onset of pain and pain duration for both menstrual pain and lower back pain in a natural setting. In individuals suffering from chronic lower back pain, the inhaler also increased the pain alleviating effect of the individual pain management method. In both studies mood and well-being were considerably increased when the inhaler was applied. No side effects were reported. Conclusions: Even highly effective individual pain-relieving methods benefit from the use of this odor inhaler by changing pain dynamics and improving pain relief. Therefore, it helps to facilitate and amplify pain management.
... Recently, it was shown that the full capacity of an odor depends on the mode of application [16]. In a series of five experiments comparing different stress-relieving methods, very large effects were found only when an inhaler was directly held under the nose. ...
... Adjectives indicating negative mood and wellbeing are recoded such that a higher MWC score reflected better mood and wellbeing. Cronbach α for the MWV is.80 [16]. ...
... All oils are received with a certificate of analysis and corre- 1 One could argue that the effect of the inhalers should have been tested against an empty inhaler to test for possible confounding factors like, e.g., deep breathing. In fact, such a control was employed in one of the previous studies [16]. These results showed that deep inhalations through an empty inhaler did not produce any physiological or psychological effect but instead was comparable to changes of a natural control group. ...
Article
Background: Recently, it was demonstrated in a series of experiments that a specifically designed odor inhaler outperformed well-known and popular stress relieving techniques. In another experiment it was shown that odor inhalers increased attention and concentration in a demanding cognitive task. Aims: This paper follows up on these experiments and investigates whether such effects can also be found for an inhaler specially designed to reduce pain. Methods: Two prospective cross-over documentary studies were conducted comparing participants’ individual pain management (menstrual pain and chronic lower back pain) with an odor inhaler used as an adjuvant. Results: The odor inhaler improved pain dynamics like onset of pain and pain duration for both menstrual pain and lower back pain in a natural setting. In individuals suffering from chronic lower back pain, the inhaler also increased the pain alleviating effect of the individual pain management method. In both studies mood and well-being were considerably increased when the inhaler was applied. No side effects were reported. Conclusions: Even highly effective individual pain-relieving methods benefit from the use of this odor inhaler by changing pain dynamics and improving pain relief. Therefore, it is a practically relevant, side effect free, and ready-to-use tool for pain management, especially when used as an adjuvant.
... The importance of this issue was recently demonstrated in a research series investigating a newly developed inhaler (AromaStick®). Very large effects of stress reduction, pain relieving, and mood uplifting were produced when odor molecules directly reached the nose by way of a specially designed, easy-to-use inhaler (Schneider, 2015;Schneider, submitted manuscript). In fact, the effects found for these inhalers clearly outperformed established therapeutic methods. ...
... In alignment with meta-analytical practice (Schmidt & Hunter, 1997), as well as the statistics applied in the previous series of studies testing odor inhalers, effect sizes and confidence intervals rather than significance tests were 1 One could argue that the effect of the inhalers should have been tested against an empty inhaler to test for possible confounding factors like, for example, deep breathing. In fact, such a control was employed in one of the previous studies (Schneider, 2015). These results showed that deep inhalations through an empty inhaler did not produce any physiological or psychological effect but instead was comparable to insignificant changes of a natural control group. ...
... The study was primarily designed to test the usefulness of the inhalers in an experimental situation that can be translated to everyday situations (e.g., when performing a task that requires sustained attention). However, in one of the previous studies (Schneider, 2015) the odor inhaler Alert strongly decreased heart rate and blood pressure immediately after inhalation. Given that demanding situations involving time pressure tend to increase arousal, this might have been one underlying mechanism for maintaining attention and concentration in the present study. ...
Article
Recently, a series of experiments demonstrated that direct stimulation of the olfactory system by means of an odor inhaler targets brain areas associated with stress reduction and pain relief. This paper follows up on these findings and investigates whether such effects can also be found for inhalers specially designed to increase attention and concentration. In a three-armed, randomized, controlled experiment participants' cognitive ability to discriminate between similar visual stimuli was tested either with or without the use of an odor inhaler. Concentration, visual scanning speed, and accuracy were assessed to gauge differential effects. Both odor inhalers outperformed the control condition where no odor was used. The effects were large and showed in all parameters. The direct application of specially designed essential oil compositions enhances attention and concentration when used during short-term breaks in a stressful and attention-demanding cognitive task.
... Recently, several studies involving an essential oil inhaler which delivers short, but highly concentrated scent molecules directly to the nose reported large improvement rates for a variety of parameters (Schneider et al. 2019). In a series of studies exploring parasympathetic effects, a specially formulated inhaler markedly reduced saliva cortisol concentration after ten minutes in individuals with elevated stress levels (Schneider 2016). Although serotonin interacts with cortisol in complex ways, it generally hampers the production of cortisol (Mahar et al. 2014). ...
... The main study also provided further insight into the cortisol reducing capability of the inhaler. In line with previous findings (Schneider 2016), only a few inhalations sufficed to reduce cortisol levels even in a sample that was not chronically stressed or exposed to distinct experimental stressors. Unlike serotonin release, however, there might be a non-linear relationship between quantity of sniffing and cortisol decrease such that the effect abates after repeated use. ...
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Background: The effectiveness of exogenously triggered serotonin increase (e.g. via dietary supplements, drugs) is varied. However, since urinary serotonin concentrations were found to correlate with those in the cerebrospinal fluid the olfactory system might be an efficient and testable pathway to quickly elevate serotonin levels due to its fast-acting central neurophysiological and peripheral pathways. However, little research has been devoted to investigate this assumption. Objective: This paper extends previous findings of parasympathetic activation of a specially designed essential oil inhaler (AromaStick® Balance) by experimentally testing its impact on urine serotonin and saliva cortisol excretion. Method: Two experiments involving healthy individuals were conducted to test the efficacy of essential oil application to the nose by employing different inhalation protocols and control conditions. Results: In the pilot study (n = 8), serotonin urine excretion was increased after six inhalations (effect size Cohen’s d = 0.7). In the second experiment (n = 80), inhalations proved superior to both a natural control condition and a pseudo placebo condition after six and three inhalation cycles (0.6 < d < 1.8). In addition, there was a large reduction of cortisol saliva levels after three inhalations (d = 0.9). Conclusion: Short and deep inhalations of essential oil scents directly delivered to the olfactory system appear to result in enhanced serotonin and reduced cortisol release in healthy individuals of both sexes.
... It is important to note, that at least in therapy, factors like scent molecule concentration and satiation of the inhaled air are very important for physiological effects to occur. For example, it was recently shown that the full capacity of essential oil odors to change physiological parameters was only achieved when they were delivered by an inhaler put directly under the nose [15]. When the same odor was dispersed in the ambient air the physiological effects equaled those of a control group not exposed to the odor. ...
... Effect sizes rather than significance tests were calculated. This was in alignment with meta-analytical practice [22], the statistics applied in the first series of studies testing odor inhalers [15][16][17], and as a consequence of the highly problematic use of NHST (null hypothesis significance testing) 2 . Specifically, to determine within treatment effects the effect size Cohen's [35] and confidence intervals (95%) were calculated [36]: ...
Article
Background: A number of recent studies have shown that a specifically designed odor inhaler containing various scent compositions has the ability to decrease blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels. Similar results were found for the reduction of chronic pain or the enhancement of selective attention and concentration. Objective: This paper follows up on these findings and investigates whether a specially designed inhaler (‘Energy’) is capable of temporarily increasing blood oxygenation. Method: A prospective, controlled experimental study involving standardized breathing cycles was run to compare normal, deep breathing with breathing through an odor inhaler. Results: The difference in blood oxygenation between normal breathing and odor inhalation was very large (d = 2). It lasted three times longer than that of normal breathing. The effect was shown in all individuals and did not abate after repeated use. Conclusion: Blood oxygenation can be increased over and above the effect of deep breathing when using this odor inhaler.
... It is important to note, that at least in therapy, factors like scent molecule concentration and satiation of the inhaled air are very important for physiological effects to occur. For example, it was recently shown that the full capacity of essential oil odors to change physiological parameters was only achieved when they were delivered by an inhaler put directly under the nose [15]. When the same odor was dispersed in the ambient air the physiological effects equaled those of a control group not exposed to the odor. ...
... Effect sizes rather than significance tests were calculated. This was in alignment with meta-analytical practice [22], the statistics applied in the first series of studies testing odor inhalers [15][16][17], and as a consequence of the highly problematic use of NHST (null hypothesis significance testing) 2 . Specifically, to determine within treatment effects the effect size Cohen's [35] and confidence intervals (95%) were calculated [36]: ...
Article
Background: A number of recent studies have shown that a specifically designed odor inhaler containing various scent compositions has the ability to decrease blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels. Similar results were found for the reduction of chronic pain or the enhancement of selective attention and concentration. Objective: This paper follows up on these findings and investigates whether a specially designed inhaler (‘Energy’) is capable of temporarily increasing blood oxygenation. Method: A prospective, controlled experimental study involving standardized breathing cycles was run to compare normal, deep breathing with breathing through an odor inhaler. Results: The difference of blood oxygenation between normal breathing and odor inhalation was very large (d = 2). It lasted three times longer than that of normal breathing. The effect showed in all individuals and did not abate after repeated use. Conclusion: Blood oxygenation can be increased over and above the effect of deep breathing when using this odor inhaler.
... In each session, patients selected and used a single oil, but they could select different oils (out of the three mentioned) in the different sessions. This self-selection constitutes an important part of the positive effects of essential oils [32]. In turn, patients in CG were only treated with standard CT. ...
... The intervention occurred during three CT sessions (second, third, and fourth cycles). For inhalation, because the more directly the odoriferous molecules are applied to the nose, the greater their impact on the body [32], it was decided to use cotton rolls saturated with three drops of the oil selected by the participant. ...
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Depression and anxiety are common symptoms during and after adjuvant chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer (BC), with implications on quality of life (QoL). The present study evaluates the temporal relationship between anxiety, depression, and QoL (primary outcomes), as well as the impact of hedonic aroma (essential oils) on this relationship. This is a secondary analysis of a previously reported randomized controlled trial, with two groups: an experimental group (n = 56), who were subjected to the inhalation of a self-selected essential oil during chemotherapy, and a control group (n = 56), who were only subjected to the standard treatment. The hedonic aroma intervention occurred in the second (T1), third (T2), and fourth (T3) chemotherapy sessions, three weeks apart from each other. The follow-up (T4) assessments took place three months after the end of the treatment. Cross-lagged panel models were estimated in the path analysis framework, using structural equation modeling methodology. Regarding the control group, the cross-lagged panel model showed that anxiety at T1 predicted anxiety at T3, which in turn predicted both QoL and depression at T4. In the experimental group, hedonic aroma intervention was associated with stability of anxiety and QoL over time from T1 to T3, with no longitudinal prediction at T4. For women undergoing standard chemotherapy treatment, anxiety was the main longitudinal precursor to depression and QoL three months after chemotherapy. Thus, essential oils could complement chemotherapy treatment for early-stage BC as a way to improve long-term emotional and QoL-related adjustment.
... Cronbach for the MWV is .80 [19]). ...
... To account for non-specific effects, e.g. time effects or regression to the mean [19], the order of the type of intervention was alternated. Participants were tested individually. ...
Article
Objectives: A new information medicine device (Vita Chip) was tested regarding its ability to alter pain dynamics and wellbeing. The Vita Chip is designed to store healing information and to resonate with cells. Methods: Two prospective documentation studies were carried out with individuals suffering from various forms of chronic pain. In both studies participants applied two Vita Chips on the pain sites for one hour on each day pain occurred. In study 1, the effects were tested against a natural control condition (crossover design). In study 2, a (pseudo) placebo device was employed in one condition to test for placebo effects. Main dependent variables were pain intensity, onset of pain relief, pain duration, and wellbeing. Results: In both studies, the Vita Chips produced large pain reduction effects (Cohen’s d). The changes in onset of pain relief, pain duration, and wellbeing indicated high practical relevance. The reduction of pain intensity was not due to placebo effects. Instead, the specific effect outperformed the unspecific effect by more than 150 percent. Discussion: The pattern of results suggests that the Vita Chip produces practically relevant pain alleviating effects. It constitutes a safe and effective alternative for pain management in subclinical individuals.
... Across a number of different types of studies involving several hundred participants, this special mode of scent delivery produced large to very large improvement rates (0.8 ≤ d ≤ 3.7) across a broad range of physiological parameters. In a series of studies exploring chronic stress, it was shown, inter alia, that the inhaler influenced the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis [17]. In another series of studies exploring hemodynamic and central nervous mechanisms, arterial blood oxygenation was increased compared to normal, deep breathing [18]. ...
... It contained 100% natural lavender, vetiver, and mandarin oils (ratio: 35-35-30). This essential oil composition has shown to strongly activate the parasympathetic nervous system [17]. The inhaler is specifically designed to allow for flexible and self-determined delivery of scent molecules, with the latter increasing as a function of duration and strength of each inhalation. ...
Article
Background: Essential oils are among the preferred alternative remedies for treating sleep disturbance, but empirical evidence for their effectiveness is varied. According to a new line of research, an inhaler designed to deliver high concentrations of essential oil molecules directly into the nose effectively influences the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the autonomous nervous system. Objective: This study was run to investigate whether insomnia complaints were reduced upon use of the inhaler AromaStick® ‘Relax’. Methods: A documentation field study involving thirty individuals with a recorded history of non-specific insomnia complaints was conducted to determine the inhaler’s specific effects. Results: Upon the nightly use for one week, the odor inhaler strongly improved sleep quality and reduced symptoms associated with poor sleep. Depending on the dimensions tested, effect sizes ranged between 0.8 < d < 2.6. Strongest effects were found for ‘difficulty maintaining sleep’, ‘difficulty initiating sleep’ and ‘feeling recovered after sleeping’. Conclusion: The inhaler proved to be useful in mitigating sleep impairment. The effects were strongest in individuals reporting low sleep quality.
... Cortisol is a corticosteroid produced by the adrenal cortex and is a sensitive indicator of the body's stress response. 41 This finding is consistent with the results of Toda and Morimoto 14 and Seol et al. 42 No change in cortisol level was reported in these studies. However, since all studies have a high risk of bias, the evidence of current studies demonstrates the limited efficacy of aromatherapy in reducing stress, and it is recommended that studies be conducted with larger and different sample groups. ...
Article
Full-text available
The objective of this study was to examine the effects of inhaler aromatherapy on the level of pain, comfort, anxiety, and cortisol during trigger point injection in individuals with myofascial pain syndrome. Lavender oil inhalation was found to reduce pain and anxiety during trigger point injection and to improve patient comfort, but it did not affect the saliva cortisol level.
... recognition effect, classical conditioning, expectation etc.) nor deep inhalations that produced the effect, but instead the specific odor ingredients. This finding is in alignment with previous research which showed that both the type of essential oils and the molecule concentration cause changes of psychophysiological significance (Schneider, 2016(Schneider, , 2017. Study 2 confirmed that such changes involve hemodynamic and neurocardiac functions and help the body to adapt to environmental and psychological challenges. ...
Article
Background: A recent review article on an aromatherapeutic inhaler demonstrated clinical effects on a number of bodily systems, like the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, the nervous system and the endocrine system. Objective: This paper extends these findings and investigates whether specially designed essential oils inhalers are capable to counter experimentally induced stressful heat sensations. Method: Two prospective, randomized, controlled experiments using the Hot Immersion Test Paradigm (HIT) were conducted to investigate whether deep odor inhalations increase heat tolerance. Results: In both experiments, the inhaler strongly prolonged pain tolerance and increased blood oxygenation (1 < d < 1.3). In the second experiment, the inhaler also increased heart rate variability (d = 1.3) as a mechanism to cope with heat stress. Conclusion: The ability to resist a stressful thermal stimulus can be exogenously improved by short and deep inhalations of essential scents directly delivered to the olfactory system.
... 11 Ideas for individual aromatherapy methods include personal inhalers or bracelets. 35 This could reduce potential side effects and eliminate the need to acquire additional testing rooms. Additionally, there was no assigned seating for test day; thus, students who sat closer or farther from the diffusers may have inhaled different doses of aroma, and this also could have influenced side effects. ...
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Objective Up to 85% of college students experience test anxiety, which may contribute to decreased academic performance. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of recruiting chiropractic students for a randomized trial involving aromatherapy for anxiety reduction. Methods This study enrolled chiropractic students who were randomly assigned to separate rooms during a biochemistry test. Waterless diffusers dispersed a lemon and rosemary blend of essential oils in the experimental room and water in the control room. Students completed pretest surveys rating current and general anxiety. Posttest surveys included rating current anxiety. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was preformed to determine within- and between-group differences for current anxiety. Feasibility was the primary aim, and the statistical significance of anxiety test scores between rooms was the secondary aim. Results Sixty-four students were included in the study. The feasibility of research methods was noted for adherence to the study protocol (informed consent, randomization, and survey distribution and completion) and resource allocation. Design improvements are required in recruitment methods, follow-up surveys, and intervention blinding. ANCOVA for between-group comparisons showed no statistically significant difference between groups' pre- and posttest anxiety scores ( p = .22). Two reported side effects, eye and sinus irritation, could not be attributed to treatment group. Most students were willing to use aromatherapy for test anxiety in the future. Conclusion We demonstrated feasibility in conducting a randomized study to measure the influence of aromatherapy on test anxiety in chiropractic students. A powered, randomized study is needed to determine if aromatherapy may be effective in reducing test anxiety.
... Equally interesting was the magnitude of the effects. For instance, the reduction of systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate (Schneider, 2016a) proved that the inhalers effectively reduced the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. In fact, they did so even to an extent that was reminiscent of the effects of antihypertensive drugs. ...
Article
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Objective According to a series of recent meta‐analyses and systematic reviews, aromatherapy has shown to be effective in treating patients with different medical conditions. However, many of the clinical studies are of rather low methodological quality. Moreover, there is much conceptual ambiguity with regard to what aromatherapy actually constitutes. Method In this paper, we discuss the conditions under which aromatherapy is most likely to be of medical value by outlining the workings of the olfactory system and the necessary requirements of odors to be therapeutic. We then introduce an aromatherapeutic inhaler that was tested in a series of studies involving 465 participants. Results This inhaler (AromaStick®) produced large to very large effects across a variety of physiological target systems (e.g., cardiovascular, endocrine, blood oxygenation, and pain), both short term and long term. Discussion Inhalation of volatile compounds from essential oils yields almost immediate, large, and clinically relevant effects as long as the scents are delivered highly concentrated from an appropriate device. The changes caused in the body seem side effect‐free and can be sustained when inhalation is repeated.
... Table 1 lists the setups and the schedule of the experiment. The reason of choosing these three scents is that there are indications that these scents have the function of improving the mood by increasing the feeling of calm, relaxed and reducing stress [25]. ...
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Background: Scents may influence the perceived comfort of an environment. There are only a few studies conducted on the relationship between scent and comfort in aircraft cabin. Objectives: The goal of this research is to explore whether relationships between scents and perceived comfort can be found for passengers in an aircraft cabin. Methods: 276 participants joined an experiment in a Boeing 737 fuselage. The participants were divided into nine groups and each joined a session for 60 minutes with the exposure to different scents. The effect of the odor was measured by a set of questionnaires at the beginning and at the end of the session. Results of questionnaires were analyzed regarding the effects on the completion time, of the type of scents, of the intensity of the scent and on gender. Results: Significant differences were found at the beginning and at the end of the experiment regarding comfort and emotion, but sometimes no relations could be established. The influence of different scents on comfort/discomfort varied and changed over time. However, in all scenarios, participant' scores on emotion decreased. Additionally, the added scents influenced the linearity between the changes in comfort and discomfort. Conclusions: Smell could influence the perceived comfort/discomfort of aircraft passengers over time, and different types of smells have different effects on passengers. The preferences on scents are diverse, which highlights the need for personalization in aircraft cabin design.
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The effects of aromas on humans are divided into physiological and psychological effects. The physiological effect acts directly on the physical organism, the psychological effect acts via the sense of smell or olfactory system, which in turn may cause a physiological effect. This paper reviews on the physiological effects which are used for the evaluation of the effects of aromas. Physiological parameters, i.e. heart rate blood pressure, electrodermal activity, electroencephalogram, slow potential brain waves (contingent negativevariation), and eye blink rate or pupil functions, are used as indices for the measurement of the aroma effects
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N. A. Schmajuk, J. Lamoureux, and P. C. Holland (in press) showed that an extension of a neural network model introduced by N. A. Schmajuk and J. J. DiCarlo (1992) characterizes many of the differences between simple conditioning and occasion setting. In the framework of this model, it is proposed that the hippocampus modulates (a) the competition among simple and complex stimuli to establish associations with the unconditioned stimulus, and (b) the configuration of simple stimuli into complex stimuli. Under the assumptions that (a) nonselective lesions of the hippocampal formation impair both configuration and competition, and (b) selective lesions of the hippocampus proper impair only stimulus configuration, the model correctly describes the effects of these lesions on paradigms in which stimuli act as occasion setters.
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We investigated the effects of fragrance inhalation on sympathetic activity in normal adult subjects using both power spectral analysis of blood pressure fluctuations and measurement of plasma catecholamine levels. Fragrance inhalation of essential oils, such as pepper oil, estragon oil, fennel oil or grapefruit oil, resulted in 1.5- to 2.5-fold increase in relative sympathetic activity, representing low frequency amplitude of systolic blood pressure (SBP-LF amplitude), compared with inhalation of an odorless solvent, triethyl citrate (P<0.05, each). In contrast, fragrance inhalation of rose oil or patchouli oil caused a 40% decrease in relative sympathetic activity (P<0.01, each). Fragrance inhalation of pepper oil induced a 1.7-fold increase in plasma adrenaline concentration compared with the resting state (P = 0.06), while fragrance inhalation of rose oil caused a 30% decrease in adrenaline concentration (P<0.01). Our results indicate that fragrance inhalation of essential oils may modulate sympathetic activity in normal adults.
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There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each scientific field. In this framework, a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance. Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias. In this essay, I discuss the implications of these problems for the conduct and interpretation of research.
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Essential oils and their volatile constituents are used widely to prevent and treat human disease. The possible role and mode of action of these natural products is discussed with regard to the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular diseases including atherosclerosis and thrombosis, as well as their bioactivity as antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidants and antidiabetic agents. Their application as natural skin penetration enhancers for transdermal drug delivery and the therapeutic properties of essential oils in aroma and massage therapy will also be outlined.
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Scents play a much greater role in our daily lives than most people would assume. In fact, the sense of smell is in many ways very fascinating. When properly applied scents and aromas may calm or activate, balance or invigorate. There is almost no experience which cannot be enhanced by the application of scents. In this compactly written E-Book, you will learn what really matters when it comes to the use of scents. Another main objective of this book is to introduce a new aromatherapeutic method which can readily be used no matter what the circumstances. The authors also provide sound scientific evidence of this effective and ingenious method. In plain words, they outline how this method works and how mind and body can be effectively influenced.
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Research on a wide range of medical and non-medical conditions has demonstrated the power of the placebo effect but also calls for the necessity to better understand its psychological mechanisms. The placebo effect appears to be elicited by meaning and expectation. However, expectations have been explored by accounts based on conscious thoughts (i.e., phenomenological approaches). In this paper, a functionally oriented approach (personality systems interaction theory) is introduced which favors the functional properties of mental systems whose operations need not be conscious. It is maintained that only one specific mental system, called extension memory, qualifies to produce the placebo effect since it consists of implicit, parallel-holistic networks integrating (self-)aspects and providing self-regulatory mechanisms. On the basis of this line of reasoning, experimentally testable research ideas are presented.
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In a social context, body odors act as effective psycho-biological signals modulating interpersonal interactions, but also as several physiological processes. This new book presents current research in the study of the biology, sources, olfaction and response to odors. Topics discussed include the biology of insect odors; the psychophysical, neurophysiological and neurobiological investigation of olfactory processes in humans; odors in the context of animal navigation and environmental odorants and irritants and their health consequences.
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IntroductionIndividual studiesThe summary effectHeterogeneity of effect sizesSummary points
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The second edition of this book is virtually a new book. It is the only comprehensive text on the safety of essential oils, the first review of essential oil/drug interactions, and it provides detailed essential oil constituent data not found in any other text. Much of the existing text has been re-written, and 80% of the text is completely new. There are 400 comprehensive essential oil profiles and almost 4000 references. There are new chapters on the respiratory system, the cardiovascular system, the urinary system, the digestive system and the nervous system. For each essential oil there is a full breakdown of constituents, and a clear categorization of hazards and risks, with recommended maximum doses and concentrations. There are also 206 Constituent Profiles. There is considerable discussion of carcinogens, the human relevance of some of the animal data, the validity of treating an essential oil as if it was a single chemical, and the arbitrary nature of uncertainty factors. There is a critique of current regulations.
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Since the 1930s, many of our top methodologists have argued that significance tests are not conducive to science. Bakan (1966) believed that “everyone knows this” and that we slavishly lean on the crutch of significance testing because, if we didn’t, much of psychology would simply fall apart. If he was right, then significance testing is tantamount to psychology’s “dirty little secret.” This paper will revisit and summarize the arguments of those who have been trying to tell us—for more than 70 years—that p values are not empirical. If these arguments are sound, then the continuing popularity of significance tests in our peer-reviewed journals is at best embarrassing and at worst intellectually dishonest.
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In the light of continuing debate over the applications of significance testing in psychology journals and following the publication of J. Cohen's (1994) article, the Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA) of the American Psychological Association (APA) convened a committee called the Task Force on Statistical Interference (TFSI) whose charge was "to elucidate some of the controversial issues surrounding applications of statistics including significance testing and its alternatives; alternative underlying models and data transformation; and newer methods made possible by powerful computers" (BSA, personal communication, February 28, 1996). After extensive discussion, the BSA recommended that publishing an article in American Psychologist, as a way to initiate discussion in the field about changes in current practices of data analysis and reporting may be appropriate. This report follows that request. Following each guideline are comments, explanations, or elaborations assembled by L. Wilkinson for the task force and under its review. The report is concerned with the use of statistical methods only and is not meant as an assessment of research methods in general. The title and format of the report are adapted from an article by J. C. Bailar and F. Mosteller (1988). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Two themes are argued in this comment on the use of statistical significance tests. First, effect sizes are an important aspect of results that should be reported. However, 10 empirical studies (some of several different journals) of articles in various disciplines demonstrate that effect sizes are still not usually being reported, notwithstanding the admonitions of the 1994 American Psychological Association (APA) Publication Manual. Second, using statistical significance tests does not (and cannot) make scientists (or their science) objective.
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Objective: To evaluate the effects of long-term therapy with fosinopril, irbesartan and atenolol on the autonomic control of the cardiovascular system in hypertensive patients. Methods: We enrolled 58 patients (mean age 38 +/- 10 years) with never-treated mild hypertension with no evidence of target organ damage. The study was single blind. Patients were assigned to receive fosinopril 10-20 mg/day, irbesartan 150-300 mg/day or atenolol 50-100 mg/day for 14 weeks. Dosage was titrated to reach an average office blood pressure (BP) of <140/90mm Hg. Before therapy all patients underwent a 24-hour Holter ECG to evaluate heart rate variability (HRV) through nonlinear methods, 24-hour ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM), and measurement of baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) using a Portaprés device; all measurements were repeated after therapy. Results: All three therapies significantly and equally decreased BP, both office (systolic/diastolic blood pressure 152 +/- 11/97 +/- 7mm Hg vs 129 +/- 7/85 +/- 4mm Hg after fosinopril, 151 +/- 11/97 +/- 6mm Hg vs 133 +/- 9/87 +/- 8mm Hg after irbesartan, 149 +/- 13/96 +/- 9mm Hg vs 132 +/- 9/87 +/- 7mm Hg after atenolol; p < 0.001) and ABPM values. HRV calculated with nonlinear methods and BRS were significantly increased after atenolol whereas no significant change was found in the fosinopril and irbesartan treatment groups. Conclusions: All three therapies significantly and similarly reduced BP without modifying heart rate, except for atenolol, which significantly decreased it. Although angiotensin directly increases sympathetic tone, neither fosinopril nor irbesartan modified cardiovascular autonomic function; this is likely to be connected to the fairly good basal autonomic function of the population evaluated. Atenolol is associated with a significant increase in HRV and BRS probably through an improvement of parasympathetic tone.
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Fragrance compounds and essential oils with sedative effects influence the motility of mice in inhalation studies under standardized conditions. A significant drop in the motility of mice was registered following exposure to these fragrances. The same results were achieved when the mice were artificially induced into overagitation by intraperitoneal application of caffeine and subsequently subjected to inhalation of fragrance compounds and essential oils. These results proved the sedative effects of these fragrants via inhalative exposure in low concentrations. Blood samples were taken from the mice after a 1-h inhalation period. Chromatographic and spectroscopic methods were used to detect and characterize the actual effective compounds after solid-phase extraction. Serum concentrations of 42 different substances, including fragrance compounds, were found in low ranges (ng/mL serum). The results contribute to the correct interpretation of the term aromatherapy (i.e., a stimulating or sedative effect on the behaviour of individuals only upon inhalation of fragrance compounds).
Article
The use of a placebo run-in phase, in which placebo responders are withdrawn from a study before random assignment to treatment condition, has been criticized as favoring the active treatment in clinical trials. We compared the effect size of randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials (in the treatment of depression with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs]) that include a placebo run-in phase with those that do not, using a meta-analytic approach. This study differed from earlier meta-analytic studies in that it considered only SSRIs and included only studies using continuous measures of depression, allowing for a more refined assessment of effect size. An extensive literature search identified 43 datasets published between 1980 and 2000 comparing placebo with SSRI and using a continuous measure of depression (usually the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale). We included only studies of at least 6 weeks' duration focusing on treatment for primary acute major depression in adults 18–65 years of age. Studies focusing on depression in specific medical illnesses were not included. Analysis of efficacy was based on 3,047 subjects treated with an SSRI antidepressant and 3,740 subjects treated with a placebo. There was no statistically significant difference in effect size between the clinical trials that had a placebo run-in phase followed by withdrawal of placebo responders and those trials that did not. Despite the lack of a statistically significant difference between studies of withdrawing early placebo responders and those not using this procedure, this approach is likely to continue to be used widely because it produces large absolute effect sizes. It is recommended that future studies clearly describe these procedures and report the number of subjects dropped from the study for early placebo response and other reasons. Depression and Anxiety 19:10–19, 2004. 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Chapter
Concerns about the deleterious consequences of oral creatine (Cr) supplementation were initiated in Spring 1998. Two British nephrologists published a paper in “The Lancet” suggesting that there is “strong circumstantial evidence that Cr was responsible for the deterioration in renal function” (1) (details given in Section 3.3.2). Three days after this publication a French sport newspaper “L’Equipe” (28th April 1998) stressed that Cr is dangerous for the kidneys, in any condition. This news was handed over to several European newspapers. Cr became the champion’s viagra with eventual death! Indeed, Pritchard and Kalra commented on the case of three American college wrestlers who died (1). This later turned out to be false and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled out Cr supplementation as a primary cause of the deaths of these young athletes (2).
Article
Eudaimonic theories of well-being assert the importance of achieving one’s full potential through engaging in inherently meaningful endeavors. In two daily diary studies, we assessed whether reports of engagement in behaviors representative of eudaimonic theories were associated with well-being. We also examined whether eudaimonic behaviors were more strongly related to well-being than behaviors directed toward obtaining pleasure or material goods. In both studies, eudaimonic behaviors had consistently stronger relations to well-being than hedonic behaviors. Data also provided support for a temporal sequence in which eudaimonic behaviors were related to greater well-being the next day. Overall, our results suggest that “doing good” may be an important avenue by which people create meaningful and satisfying lives.
Article
Statistical rituals largely eliminate statistical thinking in the social sciences. Rituals are indispensable for identification with social groups, but they should be the subject rather than the procedure of science. What I call the “null ritual” consists of three steps: (1) set up a statistical null hypothesis, but do not specify your own hypothesis nor any alternative hypothesis, (2) use the 5% significance level for rejecting the null and accepting your hypothesis, and (3) always perform this procedure. I report evidence of the resulting collective confusion and fears about sanctions on the part of students and teachers, researchers and editors, as well as textbook writers.
Article
As an attempt to quantitatively analyze the physiopsychological effects elicited by odorants, white blood cells and gene expression were profiled in the whole blood of the rats exposed to (R)-(-)-linalool during restraint stress for 2 h. In neutrophils and lymphocytes, significant changes caused by the restraint were repressed by their exposure to the odorant. This indicates that inhalation attenuates stress-induced changes. Significant changes on the stress-induced variations were induced by inhalation in 115 gene expression levels. Of those, 109 genes were down-regulated, whereas the remaining 6 were up-regulated. These findings show that (R)-(-)-linalool inhalation represses stress-induced effects on the profiles of both blood cells and gene expression. Furthermore, these results suggest the possibility that the odorant-induced effects can be quantitatively evaluated by analyzing the profiles of blood cells and gene expression.
Article
MOST THEORIES IN THE AREAS OF PERSONALITY, CLINICAL, AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY PREDICT ONLY THE DIRECTION OF A CORRELATION, GROUP DIFFERENCE, OR TREATMENT EFFECT. SINCE THE NULL HYPOTHESIS IS NEVER STRICTLY TRUE, SUCH PREDICTIONS HAVE ABOUT A 50-50 CHANCE OF BEING CONFIRMED BY EXPERIMENT WHEN THE THEORY IN QUESTION IS FALSE, SINCE THE STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESULT IS A FUNCTION OF THE SAMPLE SIZE. CONFIRMATION OF 1 DIRECTIONAL PREDICTION GENERALLY BUILDS LITTLE CONFIDENCE IN THE THEORY BEING TESTED. MOST THEORIES SHOULD BE TESTED BY MULTIPLE CORROBORATION AND MOST EMPIRICAL GENERALIZATIONS BY CONSTRUCTIVE REPLICATION. STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE, PERHAPS THE LEAST IMPORTANT ATTRIBUTE OF A GOOD EXPERIMENT, IS NEVER A SUFFICIENT CONDITION FOR CLAIMING THAT (1) A THEORY HAS BEEN USEFULLY CORROBORATED, (2) A MEANINGFUL EMPIRICAL FACT HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED, OR (3) AN EXPERIMENTAL REPORT OUGHT TO BE PUBLISHED.
Article
The test of significance does not provide the information concerning psychological phenomena characteristically attributed to it; and a great deal of mischief has been associated with its use. The basic logic associated with the test of significance is reviewed. The null hypothesis is characteristically false under any circumstances. Publication practices foster the reporting of small effects in populations. Psychologists have "adjusted" by misinterpretation, taking the p value as a "measure," assuming that the test of significance provides automaticity of inference, and confusing the aggregate with the general. The difficulties are illuminated by bringing to bear the contributions from the decision-theory school on the Fisher approach. The Bayesian approach is suggested.
Article
When blood pressure (BP)-lowering efficacy is assessed by measurements taken in a clinic setting, angiotensin II-receptor antagonists show similar efficacy to angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and better tolerability. A search of MEDLINE to date, however, reveals no randomized, double-blind studies using ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM) to compare the BP-lowering efficacy of irbesartan and enalapril in a large number of patients ( > 200) with essential hypertension. This study compared 24-hour BP reduction and BP control, as assessed by ABPM, in patients with mild to moderate essential hypertension treated with irbesartan or enalapril. The relative tolerability of the 2 treatments was also evaluated. This was a multicenter, randomized, double-blind study in patients with mild to moderate essential hypertension (office diastolic BP [DBP] 90-109 mm Hg or systolic BP [SBP] 140-179 mm Hg). After a 3-week, single-blind placebo washout phase, patients with a mean daytime DBP > or = 85 mm Hg, as measured by ABPM between 10 AM and 8 PM, were randomized to 12 weeks of active treatment with irbesartan or enalapril. Starting doses were 150 and 10 mg/d, respectively, with titration to 300 or 20 mg/d if clinic DBP was > or = 90 mm Hg at week 4 or 8. Based on clinic measurements, BP control was defined as a BP reading < 140/90 mm Hg after 12 weeks of treatment; patients achieving a reduction in DBP of > or = 10 mm Hg at 12 weeks were considered responders. The ABPM criterion for BP control, independent of clinic values, was achievement of a daytime BP < 130/85 mm Hg after 12 weeks of treatment; patients achieving a reduction in 24-hour DBP > or = 5 mm Hg at 12 weeks were considered responders, in dependent of clinic values. A total of 238 patients were randomized to treatment, 115 to irbesartan and 123 to enalapril. The study population was approximately 52.0% female and 48.0% male, with a mean ( +/- SD) age of 52.7 +/- 10.6 years. The study was completed by 111 patients in the irbesartan group (dose titrated to 300 mg/d in 72.0% of patients) and 115 patients in the enalapril group (dose titrated to 20 mg/d in 76.5% of patients). BP reductions were similar in the 2 groups, both as measured in the clinic (DBP, 12.7 +/- 8.8 mm Hg irbesartan vs 12.4 +/- 7.4 mm Hg enalapril; SBP, 19.0 +/- 14.1 mm Hg vs 17.5 +/- 14.0 mm Hg) and by 24-hour ABPM (DBP, 9.4 +/- 8.5 mm Hg vs 8.8 +/- 8.5 mm Hg: SBP, 14.7 +/- 14.7 mm Hg vs 12.6 +/- 13.1 mm Hg). As assessed by ABPM, rates of BP control were 40.5% (45/111) for irbesartan and 33.9% (39/115) for enalapril, and the response rates were a respective 71.2% (79/111) and 71.3% (82/115). The overall incidence of adverse events (40.0% irbesartan, 51.2% enalapril) was not statistically different between groups, although the incidence of adverse events considered probably related to antihypertensive treatment was significantly higher with enalapril than with irbesartan (24.6% vs 9.2%, respectively; P = 0.026), essentially because of the higher incidence of cough (8.1% vs 0.9%). As assessed by ABPM, irbesartan 150 to 300 mg/d was as effective in lowering BP and achieving BP control as enalapril 10 to 20 mg/d. Based on the number of treatment-related adverse events, irbesartan was better tolerated than enalapril.
Article
Considering the brief time that psychoneuroimmunology has existed as a bona fide field of research, a great deal of data has been collected in support of the proposition that homeostatic mechanisms are the product of an integrated system of defenses of which the immune system is a critical component. It is now clear that immune function is influenced by autonomic nervous systems activity and by the release of neuroendocrine substances from the pituitary. Conversely, cytokines and hormones released by an activated immune system influence neural and endocrine processes. Regulatory peptides and receptors, once confined to the brain, are expressed by both the nervous and immune systems enabling each system to monitor and modulate the activities of the other. It is hardly surprising, then, that immunologic reactivity can be influenced by stressful life experiences or by Pavlovian conditioning.
Article
Olfaction is typically described as behaviorally slow, suggesting neural processes on the order of hundreds of milliseconds to seconds as candidate mechanisms in the creation of olfactory percepts. Whereas a recent study challenged this view in suggesting that a single sniff was sufficient for optimal olfactory discrimination, a study by Abraham et al. in this issue of Neuron sets out to negate the challenge by demonstrating increased processing time for discrimination of similar versus dissimilar stimuli. Here we reconcile both studies, which in our view together support the notion of a speed-accuracy tradeoff in olfactory discriminations that are made within about 200 ms. These findings are discussed in light of the challenges related to defining olfactory perceptual similarity in nonhuman animals.
Article
The specific physiological responses induced by pleasant stimuli were investigated in this study. Various physiological responses of the brain (encephaloelectrogram; EEG), autonomic nervous system (ANS), immune system and endocrine system were monitored when pleasant stimuli such as odors, emotional pictures and rakugo, a typical Japanese comical story-telling, were presented to subjects. The results revealed that (i) EEG activities of the left frontal brain region were enhanced by a pleasant odor; (ii) emotional pictures related to primitive element such as nudes and erotic couples elevated vasomotor sympathetic nervous activity; and (iii) an increase in secretory immunoglobulin A (s-IgA) and a decrease in salivary cortisol (s-cortisol) were induced by rakugo-derived linguistic pleasant emotion. Pleasant emotion is complicated state. However, by considering the evolutionary history of human being, it is possible to assess and evaluate pleasant emotion from certain physiological responses by appropriately summating various physiological parameters.
Article
An existing attentional-associative model of classical conditioning [Schmajuk N, Lam Y, Gray JA. Latent inhibition: a neural network approach. J Exp Psychol: Anim Behav Process 1996;22:321-49] is applied to the description of reinstatement in animals and humans. According to the model, inhibitory associations between the context (CX) and unconditioned stimulus (US) are formed during extinction, which help preserve the association between the conditioned stimulus (CS) and the US. However, summation and retardation tests fail to reveal these associations because (a) the CX is not attended or (b) a CX-CS configural stimulus formed during extinction is both poorly attended and weakly active during testing. When US presentations and testing occur in the same context, reinstatement is the consequence of a decreased CX inhibition and the increased attention to the CS, which activates the remaining CS-US association. When US presentations occur in the context of extinction but the CS is tested in a different context, reinstatement results from an increased attention to the CS and the combination of CS-CX and CX-US excitatory associations. The assumption that associations between CSs are impaired following neurotoxic hippocampal lesions or in amnesia, is sufficient to describe absence of reinstatement in those cases. However, additional assumptions might be needed to describe the effect of hippocampal lesions on other postextinction manipulations.
Article
While ethics of placebo use has been debated since discovery of the phenomena, there has yet to be a study that examines the aftereffect of individuals learning of a personal placebo response on their future ability to experience a placebo response. In the first study, eleven participants diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome in a placebo study were interviewed individually about their personal placebo response. We found no changes in attitudes about the likelihood of using medical and non-medical treatments for pain, likelihood of participating in future studies or likeability and trust of experimenters. In addition, we found no changes in mood except for a slight improvement in frustration. In the second study, 77 undergraduate students from the University of Florida were divided into three conditions: placebo, control and repeated baseline. We used a double placebo design with verbal placebo suggestion and conditioning to induce a placebo response and to examine the effect of providing information about a participant's personal placebo response on their future placebo response. Using a heat thermode, we discovered that there were no differences in future pain responding between participants who were told that they experienced a placebo response versus those who were not. In addition, similar to the first study, we found no detrimental effects of the placebo information variables measured. These studies suggest the placebo response persists even after revelation of a personal placebo response and placebo use does not appear to cause adverse effects on mood and other attitude variables assessed.
Article
Despite aromatherapy's popularity, efficacy data are scant, and potential mechanisms are controversial. This randomized controlled trial examined the psychological, autonomic, endocrine, and immune consequences of one purported relaxant odor (lavender), one stimulant odor (lemon), and a no-odor control (water), before and after a stressor (cold pressor); 56 healthy men and women were exposed to each of the odors during three separate visits. To assess the effects of expectancies, participants randomized to the "blind" condition were given no information about the odors they would smell; "primed" individuals were told what odors they would smell during the session, and what changes to expect. Experimenters were blind. Self-report and unobtrusive mood measures provided robust evidence that lemon oil reliably enhances positive mood compared to water and lavender regardless of expectancies or previous use of aromatherapy. Moreover, norepinephrine levels following the cold pressor remained elevated when subjects smelled lemon, compared to water or lavender. DTH responses to Candida were larger following inhalation of water than lemon or lavender. Odors did not reliably alter IL-6 and IL-10 production, salivary cortisol, heart rate or blood pressure, skin barrier repair following tape stripping, or pain ratings following the cold pressor.