To sum up, aromatherapy is a type of alternative therapy that is mostly used to complement – not replace – existing therapies. Some people use it to keep themselves in good condition and to prevent diseases by boosting their immune system, while others find that it helps to keep their general mood positive. Whether it is used for a physical or a psychological benefit, many people find that aromatherapists help them and don't mind whether or not this is down to a placebo effect. After all, the use of strong-smelling agents to perform certain tasks is something that people have been doing for thousands of years. Since it became possible to distil certain naturally occurring chemical compounds into essential oils, their use has only become more popular.
However, it should be said that few aromatherapists would argue that it can replace conventional forms of therapy, such as Western medicine or psychotherapy, for example. In this sense, aromatherapy is very much part of the tradition of complementary therapy in the West, something that is useful even if a full, scientific understanding of how it works has yet to be established. Like some other complementary therapies - such as reflexology
, for example – some people will only ever consider it to be quackery, but that does not account for the large numbers of people who set great store by aromatherapy. Nor does it account for why people are attracted to certain smells but consider others to be foul. As such, aromatherapy is set to be around for a long time to come as more and more is understood about the brain and its interactions with a smell.