Mayfield organic lavender crop is harvested at the end of July and made into essential oil. Source: Getty
Aromatherapy can soothe stress, but breathing in too many essential oil vapors isn't good for your health, a new study suggests.
Dr. Kai-Jen Chuang and his team from Taipei Medical University in Taiwan set up an experiment designed to simulate conditions of a typical spa, using a vaporizer to dispel bergamot essential oil into the air.
They then recruited 100 healthy spa workers to stay in the room for two hours each during three separate visits, while researchers recorded their heart rate and blood pressure every 15 minutes.
For the first hour, subjects' heart rates and blood pressure dropped slightly, but after 75 minutes the reverse happened -- heart rates and blood pressures increased. Average increases were small, but enough to cause alarm, suggested the researchers. However, the study didn't include a control group.
Chuang points out that aromatherapy oils are volatile oraganic compounds (VOCs), which are considered indoor air pollutants that can irritate the eyes, throat, and lungs.
A study published last year found that spas that offer massage therapy using fragrant essential oils may have elevated levels of potentially harmful indoor air pollutants such as VOCs and ultrafine particles, according to an article in the journal Environmental Engineering Science.
Chuang's study was published November 29 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. Accessed Here.