Some medical practitioners put Aromatherapy in the category of unproven and empirical stream of healing practices similar to other energy balancing therapies. Some feel that any impact if at all, it is there is due to ‘placebo effect’. The ‘placebo effect’ refers to use of dummy substances or techniques, that a patient feels are proven treatment methods and is relieved of his symptoms or disease itself just because he perceives that he is taking a proper treatment. Aromatherapy is certainly not a placebo. The efficacy of essential oils have been proven in labs, hospitals and controlled tests. The only issue could be less number of trained aromatherapy practitioners and its possibility of usage as simple home remedies.
So controversy or criticism if any is purely due to lack of awareness and absence of widespread educational mediums on the subject. The same group of people some time put Ayurveda, Homoeopathy and Naturopathy amongst the category of placebo effect related therapies.
This is unfortunate, as due to a perception change that occurred after the discovery of sulphur drugs and then after the discovery of antibiotics, a bigger medical fraternity shifted its focus and trust towards research in a particular stream only. This also lead to deep rooted problem related to clash of commercial interests and risks involved in differing from the current trend.
Today the so called Allopathic practitioners (Interestingly the word ‘Allopathy’ itself means, alternative medicine, search Google) reject anything not produced by pharmacy companies. These companies are nothing but big business houses that synthesize or extract certain molecules, give them fancy names and approach doctors to prescribe their brand names only. In most cases the only version of knowledge about these molecules is the version as given by a specific pharmacy company and not the one which is widely acceptable by other practitioners. This is alarming. This disallows the usage of a bigger knowledge base and makes it unavailable for the benefit of masses. The use of essential oils for healing is a part of that huge knowledge base.