Can aromatherapy oils poison you?

 Aromatherapy oils have also been found to worsen breathing problems in those with lung disease and to increase symptoms of asthma.

The essential oils used in aromatherapy treatments can release chemicals that react in the air to produce a 'mist' of pollutants that damage your airwaysThe essential oils used in aromatherapy treatments can release chemicals that react in the air to produce a ‘mist’ of pollutants that damage your airways

They are meant to soothe aches and pains, relieve stress and induce a sense of relaxation. But aromatherapy oils may in fact do more harm than good, according to scientists.

They have claimed that the extracts – used in baths, massages or burned in rooms – react with the air to produce tiny irritant particles. Researchers found that when the so-called essential oils were used in relaxation spas for massages, the concentration of these potentially harmful particles increased tenfold.

The scientists said that certain chemicals in the oils, called volatile organic compounds, mix with the air to form secondary organic aerosols.These particles irritate the eyes, nose and throat, and are also known to cause headaches, nausea, and damage to the liver and kidneys.

This study only examined the size and number of these particles released when people had massages in spas. However other research has shown they are also produced by burning essential oils in the home or office – although not to the same extent.

Essential oils such as lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus and peppermint are extracted from plants and trees. The oils are thought to have a number of health benefits, including improving the skin, boosting the immune system and helping with sleep.

But the scientists from the  Chia-Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, Tainan, Taiwan, warn that the negative effects ‘cannot  be neglected’.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Engineering Science, measured the volumes of certain secondary organic aerosols when oils were rubbed in during massages in two spas in Taiwan.

All fragrant essential oils - used in aromatherapy massage treatments - release pollutant chemicals into the air, the researchers found. Ventilation in spas can help to control levels of the pollutantsAll fragrant essential oils – used in aromatherapy massage treatments – release pollutant chemicals into the air, the researchers found. Ventilation in spas can help to control levels of the pollutants. Oils which generated the highest number of aerosols were lavender, tea tree, peppermint, lemon and eucalyptus.

The scientists concluded: ‘As aromatherapy, used by the general public and some health institutes, has become one of the most popular complementary therapies, its impact on indoor air quality and health effects cannot be neglected.

‘Volatile organic compound degradation caused by the reaction of these compounds with ozone present in the air can produce small, ultrafine by-products called secondary organic aerosols which may cause eye and airway irritation.’

They added: ‘We compared secondary organic aerosol levels associated for the various fragrant and herbal essential oils tested and conclude that the layout and ventilation within a particular spa may affect the level of indoor air pollutants produced during massage with aromatherapy.’

In 2007, another group of scientists also from Taiwan showed that burning tea tree, lavender and eucalyptus oils in the office also produced large numbers of these harmful particles. Aromatherapy oils have also been found to worsen breathing problems in those with lung disease and to increase symptoms of asthma. And nurses have reported that they can cause skin burning and rashes – often because people put far too much into their baths or on to their skin.

Sceptics argue that many of the perceived benefits of the oils are caused by a placebo effect – and people just convince themselves they feel calmer and more relaxed. They also say there is little  scientific evidence that they can relieve pains, cure wounds or  boost immunity.

 

Advertisements

Pornography destroying men’s ability to perform with real women

Internet pornography is creating a generation of young men who are hopeless in the bedroom, according to research.

Exposure to lurid images and films in the new media is de-sensitising so many young people that they are increasingly unable to become excited by ordinary sexual encounters, a report said.

The result is that impotence is no longer a problem associated with middle-aged men of poor health but is afflicting men in the prime of their lives.

 

According to a report in Psychology Today, a respected U.S. journal, the problem is now so common that men in their 20s consider their inability to perform to be ‘normal’.

The report, called ‘Porn-Induced Sexual Dysfunction is a Growing Problem’, explains that the loss of libido 30 years early is caused by continuous over-stimulation of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that activates the body’s reaction to sexual pleasure, by repeatedly viewing pornography on the internet.

A ‘paradoxical effect’ is created whereby with each new thrill, or ‘dopamine spike’, the brain loses its ability to respond to dopamine signals, meaning that porn-users demand increasingly extreme experiences to become sexually aroused.

The Psychology Today report found that continuous over-stimulation of dopamine through looking at porn is leading to loss of libido

‘Erotic words, pictures, and videos have been around a long while, but the Internet makes possible a never-ending stream of dopamine spikes,’ said Marnia Robinson, the author of the report.

‘Today’s users can force its release by watching porn in multiple windows, searching endlessly, fast-forwarding to the bits they find hottest, switching to live sex chat, viewing constant novelty, firing up their mirror neurons with video action and cam-2-cam, or escalating to extreme genres and anxiety-producing material. ‘It’s all free, easy to access, available within seconds, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,’ she said.

But she added: ‘In some porn users, the response to dopamine is dropping so low that they can’t achieve an erection without constant hits of dopamine via the internet.’ Many were initially shocked, she said, when they discovered their sensitivity was declining ‘toward normal sex’.

‘When they try to have actual intercourse and cannot, they understandably panic,’ Robinson said.

‘Most men are astonished to learn that pornography use can be a source of sexual performance problems.

‘Instead, many are becoming convinced that erectile dysfunction at 20-something is normal,’ she said.

‘They are amazed that heavy porn use can affect them adversely, that no one told them it could affect them.’

Robinson said recovery was possible over a period of months by giving the brain a chance to ‘reboot’ itself by shunning pornography completely.

But she said that while recovering, addicts were likely to experience a temporary loss of libido as well as ‘insomnia, irritability, panic, despair, concentration problems, and even flu-like symptoms’. ‘This research gives the lie to the idea that pornography is just a bit of harmless fun.

‘Not only does it depersonalise those who take part in it, but it also has the potential to damage the real-life relationships of those who use it. ‘People who exercise self-control in this area and make a point of steering clear of pornography and sexual imagery in all its forms are not the repressive killjoys they are often taken to be,’ he added.

‘These findings suggest that prizing modesty and respecting the private nature of expressions of sexuality will bring its own rewards.’

Want to live to 100? How seven simple lifestyle steps could help you get there – free from disease

Many people could live to the age of 100 by following seven simple steps, according to a leading heart doctor.

Changes to lifestyle such as keeping a healthy weight, not smoking and controlling your cholesterol levels are an easy way to add an extra decade or more to your life span. 90 per cent of people could live to the age of 90 and even reach 100 by following below mentioned seven easy advice. The other steps are regulating blood pressure, managing diabetes, eating a healthy diet and getting active.

Achieving these seven simple lifestyle factors gives people a 90 per cent chance of living to the age of 90 or 100, free of not only heart disease and stroke but from a number of other chronic illnesses including cancer. The advantage of all these could be that the risk of early death will be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, which is known as the ‘silent killer’ because it has no symptoms.

By following these steps, we can compress life-threatening disease into the final stages of life and maintain quality of life for the longest possible time:

SEVEN LIFESTYLE CHANGES

1. GET ACTIVE: Inactivity can shave almost four years off a person’s expected lifespan. People who are physically inactive are twice as likely to be at risk for heart disease or stroke.

2. KNOW AND CONTROL CHOLESTEROL LEVELS: High blood cholesterol can lead to the build up of fatty deposits in your arteries – increasing your risk for heart disease and stroke.

3. FOLLOW A HEALTHY DIET: Eating a healthy diet including plenty of fruit and vegetables is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health.

4. KNOW AND CONTROL BLOOD PRESSURE: High blood pressure is often called a ‘silent killer’ because it has no warning signs or symptoms. By knowing and controlling your blood pressure, you can cut your risk of stroke by up to 40 per cent and the risk of heart attack by up to 25 per cent.

5. ACHIEVE AND MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT:  either overweight or obese − major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Being obese can reduce your life span by almost four years.

6. MANAGE DIABETES: Diabetes increases the risk of high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries), coronary artery disease, and stroke, particularly if your blood sugar levels are poorly controlled.

7. BE TOBACCO FREE: Half of all long-term smokers die early from smoking-related diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer and chronic bronchitis. As soon as you become smoke-free, your risk of heart disease and stroke begins to decrease. After 15 years, your risk will be nearly that of a non-smoker.

Healthy Living Messages


Be involved in your health care.  Take an active role.  Work with your health care team to improve your health.

Be physically active.  Avoid inactivity.  Aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week.

Eat wisely.  Eat a variety of foods including vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.  Limit salt, fat, sugar, and alcohol.

Be Involved In Your Health Care

Be Physically Active

Eat Wisely

Strive for a healthy weight.  If you need to lose weight, losing even a little will help.  If you are of normal weight, maintain it.

Manage stress.  Pay attention to stress.  Learn about ways to help you manage and reduce your stress.

Be safe.  Find out how to prevent sexually transmitted infections, falls, and motor vehicle crashes.  Take action to protet yourself and those you love from harm.

Strive For A Healthy Weight

Manage Stress

Be Safe

Be tobacco free.  Quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do to improve your health and protect the health of your family members.  Don't use tobacco in any form.

Limit alcohol.  If you choose to drink alcohol, drink in moderation (women no more than 1 drink a day; men no more than 2 drinks a day).  Avoid "binge drinking."

Get recommended screening tests and immunizations.  Recommendations for preventative services depend on your age, gender, health status, and family history.  Ask which screening tests and immunizations are recommended for you.

Be Tobacco Free

Limit Alcohol

Get Recommended Screening Tests & Immunizations