Archives for: December 2006, 04
In the orbit of Blood Type Science teachings, we are well acquainted with the notion of the host organism's individual endowment ("terrain") as complex mediator of processes of health and disease, AND as a key factor in therapeutic selection. In the field of Aromamedicine, an empiric in vitro tool for both diagnosis and treatment selection in cases of infectious illness is the aromatogram (pronounced aro-MAT-o-gram). Impressive as it is, it is often incomplete without taking into account the patient's olfactory preference (along with other host variables), a factor not yet understood, yet uncannily accurate.
Developed in France, birthplace of Aromamedicine itself, by M. Girault (1969) et al (1972), the aromatogram involves the collection of specimen from the infected patient, the laboratory culturing of infectious agent, and the impregnation of multiple agar samples with this culture; each petri dish's center contains a disk of filter paper saturated with a different essential oil, each chosen for likely effectiveness versus the likely pathogen (note that it is not even necessary that the pathogen be definitively identified). Each disk is rated for its effectiveness in "repelling" proliferation of the cultured agent, measured by diameter of surrounding uninvaded substrate. Then, a combination/program of those essential oils most clinically antipathogenic is prescribed as treatment in that case.
"Terrain" is shown to be significant in at least two known ways:
(1) Olfactorily: A patient for whom two essential oils, for example, have shown equal anti-infectious effectiveness in vitro may greatly prefer the fragrance of one of these two remedies - usually the one that proves, in vivo, to be of markedly greater therapeutic value.
(2) Immunologically: An essential oil relatively ineffective against a given pathogen may otherwise positively affect the host terrain, enabling his own resources to prevent the proliferation/spread of that pathogen.
Most English speakers associate "Aromatherapy" with massage, bath oils and room fragrancing, as these constitute the major forms of essential oil use in the so-called "English School" popular also in the US, Australia, and Germany. This school is sometimes called "Holistic Aromatherapy" and commonly uses patient/consumer olfactory-preference as a key, if not essential, treatment selection factor.
Aromamedicine, on the other hand, is practiced by a large minority (about 20%?) of medical doctors in France, where the laboratory aromatogram is standard procedure. Essential oils are there blended and prescribed for administration via inhalation, oral ingestion, vaginal pessary or douche, rectal suppository or enema, and/or topical application. The oils are, in France as in the US, also readily available to the general public in health shops, increasingly in organic therapeutic grade/quality.
Kurt Schnaubelt, PhD, is a Swiss biochemist greatly responsible for popularizing French Aromamedicine in the US, by means of his books (see below), lectures and articles, as well as his organic line of essential oils, "Original Swiss Aromatics, and his educational program at the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy, in San Rafael, California. He is energetically pioneering an inclusive art and science of Aromamedicine; his consumer-empowering ideology is decidedly anti-"Licensed-Practitioner-Only", flying in the face of the UK's massage/aromatherapist "Don't-try-this-yourself-at-home" warning-laden approach, while endeavoring to upgrade the scienticfic legitimacy of Aromamedicine through increased controlled clinical experimentation and validation of long-known holistic/anecdotal findings.
Dr. Schnaubelt is joined by Robert Tisserand, Marcel Lavabre, and Len and Shirley Price of the English School, Peter Damian of Germany, and Drs. Daniel Pénoël and Pierre Franchomme et al of the French School in publishing about the Aromatogram for lay consumption.
The role (limbic and other) of host olfaction in human health is still largely a medical mystery, holding promise of providing an important key to our understanding of bio-individuality. This, coupled with other "terrain"-mediated variables in the interaction of infectious agents and essential oils presents clinical Aromamedicine as a particularly exciting field of enquiry in genomic naturopathy and all individuality-geared medicine.
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Refs. and Further Reading:
Belaiche, Paul, & Girault, M., Traité de Phytothérapie et d'Aromathérapie, Paris, Maloine SA, 1979
Damian, Peter and Kate, Aromatherapy: Scent and Psyche, Rochester, Vermont, Healing Arts Press, 1995
Durante, Alain and Malherbe, Sylvie, "The Aromatogram: A Vital Key to Optimizing Treatment in the French Practice of Aromatherapy", Aromatic Thymes, Vol 7.3, Fall/Winter, 2000
Franchomme, Pierre, and Pénoël, Daniel, L'Aromathérapie Exactement, Limoges, 1990
Lavabre, Marcel, Aromatherapy Workbook, Rochester, Vermont, Healing Arts Press, 1990
Price, Shirley, and Price, Len, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, 2nd edition, Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone, 1999
Schnaubelt, Kurt, PhD, Advanced Aromatherapy: The Science of Essential Oil Therapy, Rochester, Vermont, Healing Arts Press, 1998
Schnaubelt, Kurt, Medical Aromatherapy: Healing with Essential Oils, Berkeley, Ca., Frog Ltd., 1999