The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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  • Recent Comments

    The role of expectation on the response to lavender aromatherapy

    Different theories attempt to explain the relaxation response to lavender aromatherapy.

    This study suggests there’s another reason.

    Potential lavender relaxation mechanisms include?

    • Stimulation of pleasure centers in the brain
    • Direct effects on hormones or enzymes
    • Stimulation of the adrenal glands

    First, the details of the study.

    • 96 healthy women were given instruction and then exposed to lavender, placebo, or no aroma after an arousing cognitive (intellectual) task.
    • The instruction covered the aroma’s likely impact on their ability to relax.

    And, the results.

    • The content of the instruction was associated with relaxation patterns.
    • When expecting the aroma to inhibit them, participants relaxed more.
    • When expecting facilitation, participants relaxed less.
    • The effect was not related to self-reported relaxation (as represented by changes in anxiety) and was independent of the attitude towards aromatherapy.

    The bottom line
    Based on these results it appears that the association of lavender aroma with relaxation might be influenced by expectations, and these expectations are easily manipulated.

    It causes one to reassess the findings of earlier studies here and here.

    9/12/ 22:19 JR

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