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Issue 21

June 2014

Supplemental Science Sources Review by Lori L. Barr In any field of study and practice, there is a tendency to think that the important research is published in journals where findings are reviewed by specific peers. The truth is that awareness of discoveries in other fields sparks innovation within a discipline. With this in mind, the ARC Board offers the following introduction to scientific reports that might impact the field of Aromatherapy. Below are synopses of major findings, their relevance to the aromatherapist, and complete citations to the complete articles.

processes currently used and that there are no standardized tests for the evaluation of antibacterial activity of essential oils. The major limitation is that high viscosity and water insolubility make for irregular distribution and unequal dilution of the essential oil throughout the culture media. The article then expounds on the seven key factors in essential oil activity evaluation.

“Effect of Essential Oils on Pathogenic Bacteria.” Pharmaceuticals, December 2013. (Free on-line.)

This article summarizes the current body of knowledge regarding odor perception and attached emotional memories. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) allows researchers to map how the brain responds to sensory input. The mapping that is now available for olfaction helps to explain how some odors modulate emotion and cognition. There is good evidence that the sense of smell may be an effective, often subconscious emotional driver. In addition, there is good evidence that the autonomic nervous system relaxes with exposure to smells deemed safe or pleasant by the person doing the smelling. Of particular note is the discussion on the perception of odor that details the role of the piriform cortex to both group together similar odors and separate out individual odors.

The growing resistance of microorganisms to prescription drug therapy has prompted interest and research in plants and their derivatives. This article summarizes the current theories and science surrounding the ways essential oils interact with pathogenic Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. It summarizes the effects of essential oils on bacteria and then dives deep into the current knowledge of mechanisms of action on cells, beginning with the cell membrane and moving from cell shape deep inside to the genes and proteins that compose the cells. It ends with a discussion of how essential oils are promising as agents that are anti-pathogenic and do not encourage resistance strain development because they decrease the ability of bacteria to communicate to each other and to higher organisms through quorum sensing (think social media on the cellular level). While this summary is accurate, it does not describe the limitations in performing research on the effects of essential oils on bacteria. “The Mode of Antibacterial Action of Essential Oils.” Science Against Microbial Pathogens: Communicating Current Research and Technological Advances. 2011. (Free on-line.) This chapter does a fantastic job of summarizing the factors that influence the determination of antimicrobial activity in section 3.1. It really helps the reader who might not be a microbiologist to understand the laboratory and experimental conditions of the research that is reported in the literature. The article explains the origin of the

“Effect of Odor on Emotions, with Implications.” Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, October 10, 2013. (Free on-line.)

National Cancer Institute: PDQ® Aromatherapy and Essential Oils. October 16, 2012. (Free on-line.) This PDQ Cancer Information Summary on Aromatherapy and Essential Oils is the current assessment of aromatherapy from the perspective of scientific and medical investigators funded by the United States government in the field of cancer research. It is interesting to view the filed of aromatherapy from their perspective. The information is somewhat dated and anyone who believes that the information is not accurate is able to give the committee feedback as instructed on the site. Probably the most useful information for aromatherapists is the table entitled “Use of Aromatherapy as a Supportive Care Agent in Cancer and Palliative Care Table of Clinical Studies.” This table summarizes published clinical trials along with the rigor of the study design in the seventh column. The lower the level (Continued on page 2)

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of evidence score, the stronger the study design and the outcomes. This provides aromatherapists who are willing and able to partner with researchers on clinical research studies with the type of study design that is considered reliable evidence of effectiveness of essential oils.

Newsletter Bibliography “Effect of Essential Oils on Pathogenic Bacteria.” Filomena Nazzar, Florinda Fratianni, Laura De Martino, Raffaele Coppola, and Vincenzo De Feo. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). December 2013; 6(12): 1451-1474. Published online November 25, 2013.

“Allergic Contact Dermatitis: Epidemiology, Molecular Mechanisms, In Vitro Methods and Regulatory Aspects.” “The Mode of Antibactierial Action of Essential Oils.” M.L. Cellular and Molecular Science, March 2012. (Free on-line.) Faleiro. Science Against Microbial Pathogens: Communicating Current Research and Technological This is the current consensus on the irritants and mechanism Advances. Series 3: Vol. 2, 2011, pp. 1143-1156. of response by the skin in cases of allergic contact dermatitis. Essential oils are a known cause of contact “Effects of Odor on Emotion, with Implications.” dermatitis, and aromatherapists are at risk of occupational Mikiko Kadohisa. Front Syst Neurosci. 2013; 7: 66. exposure. While limonene and linalool rarely cause Published online October 10, 2013. sensitization, as they are oxidized by air, their oxidized forms are highly sensitizing. This article highlights changes National Cancer Institute: PDQ® Aromatherapy and to top human allergens, how people are exposed to them, Essential Oils. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. and what happens on a molecular level to mediate the Last modified 10/16/2012. Available at: http:// inflammatory response. The reason this article is important ist hat occupational contact dermatitis is the most common healthprogessional. occupational disease in many countries and can be debilitating. A better understanding of how to prevent “Allergic Contact Dermatitis: Epidemiology, Molecular occupation sensitization through the use of personal Mechanisms, In Vitro Methods and Regulatory Aspects.” protective equipment is presented. Current knowledge assembled at an international workshop held in BfR, Germany. Cell Mol Life Sci. March 2012; 69 (5): 763 -781. Published online October 14, 2011.

UPCOMING EXAMINATION DATES October 4—18, 2014 Application Deadline: 9/1/2014 Download a Handbook and Application at

RA EXAM AVAILABLE IN JAPANESE AND KOREAN The Aromatherapy Registration Council was established in 1999 as a resource for a growing community of aromatherapists. Since that time, we are pleased to say that hundreds of aromatherapists have elected to take and have passed the Registered Aromatherapist Exam, which continues to strengthen our aromatherapy community by affirming our shared commitment to a core body of aromatherapy knowledge and public safety. Our community continues to grow! In fact, we have gone global! ARC now offers the Registered Aromatherapist Exam in Japanese and Korean. Candidates can sit the exam in Japan! Soon the Exam will be available for candidates to take in Chinese, too! If you or an aromatherapist you know would like more information on the Japanese or Korean Registered Aromatherapist Exam, or forthcoming Exam in Chinese, you can find more information on the ARC website.

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Don’t Stress About This Exam! By Lori Barr Have you ever noticed that when you sit for an exam like the ARC Registration Exam in Aromatherapy, it is easy to feel anxious? Even if you have taken more than enough classes in the subject, even if you have practiced the discipline daily, even if you have reviewed extensively for the big test day, you still might find your hand sweating as you answer the questions. Here are some facts about taking tests in general and about this examination in particular that might make it easier for you to demonstrate your expertise when you sit for the ARC Exam. The purpose of this article is to dispel common exam myths, equip you with strategies, and encourage you to shine when you come for the test. Newcomers and old-timers alike might have misconceptions about the origins of the Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC) and the purpose of the exam. (Frequently asked questions are answered on the ARC website at http:// It is important to dispel misconceptions and disinformation because, when an individual takes in disinformation, it leads to a skewed perception regarding the subject. The misperception can lead to an inability to objectively analyze the questions that are being asked on the exam. In other words, instead of reading the question for what it is, the test-taker might read more into it by thinking that the exam creators had a specific ideological agenda that the test promotes. Do not let worry, fear, or doubt cause you to second guess the knowledge you have worked so hard to acquire. Here are three common myths about this exam. Myth 1: “This test only reflects one person’s experience with aromatherapy. It isn’t broad enough in scope to be fair.” A review of the origins of this Council shows that this myth is not true. The exam is the result of a self-regulatory effort to encourage safe use of aromatherapy in varied clinical settings by a variety of practitioners. Questions are submitted by aromatherapy practitioners and vetted by peer review after undergoing rigorous evaluation by the Professional Testing Corporation. Any member of the Registry can volunteer to participate in an item review to better understand the process and provide input. Myth 2: “The exam excludes good people from the practice of aromatherapy.” We see two trends in failure to achieve a passing score. The most common is language barriers that prevent the test-taker from understanding the question and answering appropriately. In response, we have recently begun efforts to translate the exam into additional languages. It now is available in Japanese and Korean in addition to English. The second trend is that occasionally people who enter the field from a product sales perspective might have enough training to sit for the exam but not enough to demonstrate competence. Like all other qualifying exams, this is a test of minimal competence. Those who are passionate about the discipline and understand its varied facets should be capable of passing. Myth 3: “In the digital age, when almost any answer is available immediately via a short internet query, there is no point in learning the Latin nomenclature and other basic science behind aromatherapy. That is just rote memorization.” Aromatherapy is a life science. Linnean Nomenclature is used to minimize ambiguity among species of essential oil sources. In Texas, a tree grows that is called a Cedar. It really is Juniperus ashei. In order to keep up-to-date with this exploding life science field, you will need to understand scientific methodology and standard nomenclature. This test is not a test of memory. This is a test of understanding. Let’s move on to some strategies that will help you be successful when taking any standardized test. Use these three tips below to help yourself in situations where you are tempted to guess at the answer. Tip 1: The sooner you take responsibility for passing the ARC exam, the more eager you will be to efficiently take notes and consolidate information as you study. This will help you make less of the mistakes common to all test-takers (more about these later). You have chosen aromatherapy as a field of excellence in your life. You have traded precious days, months, and years of your life for the knowledge you now hold in your mind. Resolve right this minute to take full responsibility for discovering all the information you need to pass this test. The ARC Handbook for Candidates (http:// gives all of the categories that are covered on the exam and even gives you sample questions. Use the brochure to outline your reviews. Begin linking your learning or practical experiences to the categories covered in the Handbook. That will anchor your learning. Use the process of active revision: identifying and applying the key points in each section of your study outline. Ask yourself, “How could this point be expressed on this exam?” Consider

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enlisting a study buddy, an accountability partner who will ensure that you are covering the material you need to cover and whom you can brainstorm with as you revise your studies. Tip 2: If you feel anxious, stay calm, breath deeply, and reframe your experience with a statement like, “I have all the time I need and have learned more than enough to display my expertise on this test of minimal competence.” Tip 3: For multiple choice questions, cover all answers and answer the stem without looking at the choices. Then uncover the choices and read all of them carefully. If you know an answer with certainty, select it and move on. If not, eliminate any answer that you know for certain is not correct. Look for answer pairs that are close in wording; the correct answer might be one of the two that are closely worded. Mistakes common to test-takers that you can avoid: --Failure to read the instructions at the beginning of the test, for each test section, and for each question. Read, check, and then follow the instructions that are given. --Failure to recognize the keywords and verbs in the stem of the question. Note keywords as you encounter them. Identify the verb. --Failure to properly use the allotted time. Answer the questions you know the answers to first. If you cannot narrow the choices and quickly come to a best guess, then flag the questions, then come back after you have completed the rest of the exam. --In the case of a paper-and-pencil exam, failure to fill in the answer sheet correctly. If you skip questions on the test, you run the risk of marking the wrong number on the answer sheet when you answer the next question. Check and double check the question number and the answer number before you fill in the bubble on the answer sheet. In summary, the ARC Registration Examination in Aromatherapy is a voluntary test of minimal competence designed by peers to help maintain safe standards for clients who seek the assistance of an aromatherapist. Take responsibility to design and implement a study plan over time to cover the material outlines in the Handbook and master a few simple test-taking strategies if you want to demonstrate all the amazing knowledge you hold on this fascinating subject.

Lori L. Barr, M. D., is an internationally recognized radiologist and best-selling author of Think & Grow Well. Dr. Barr helps over 18,127 patients and their doctors each year in Austin, Texas and is an advocate for integrative healing. She was introduced to aromatherapy in 2001 and became a registered aromatherapist in 2005. Dr. Barr teaches safe and effective utilization of essential oils through the Texas Aromatherapy Institute. She serves as a board member of the Aromatherapy Registration Council. Dr. Barr was named a Radiology Society of North America Scholar for her ultrasound research in the developing brain. Both the American College of Radiology and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine named her fellow for teaching, research, clinical care and community advocacy.


ARC is pleased to announce that the Registration Examination in Aromatherapy now is available in Japanese as a paper-and-pencil exam. For more information, please contact ARC at

How you can get involved April 5-19, 2014 Application Deadline: 3/1/2014

There are many ways you can get involved with ARC activities. One of the easiest ways is by writing test questions for an upcoming ARC examination. October 4—18, 2014 You may also participate in an ARC item review session to review potential test questions. Application Deadline: 9/1/2014 In addition, you may write articles for the ARC Newsletter. All of these activities also qualify for contact hours for reregistration. Check the reregistration guidelines at ARC/index.html Download a Handbook and Application at If you would like to help in any of these capacities, contact ARC for further information at call (503) 244-0726. or email

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Congratulations to the aromatherapists who registered in April 2014: In English: Sue Fitzgerald Byel Kim Mi Jin Kim

Leiann P. King Kathryn J. Kliewer Eun Kyung Lee

Timothy M. Miller Susan M. Smith

Hyunah So Kaoru Takifuchi

In Korean:

Hyui Yeon Cha Yukyoung Cho Eun Jung Choi Hag Soon Choi Jeong Yun Choi Ju Nam Eom

Hyun Jung Her Chaewon Jo Jin Hee Jung Ji Suk Kang Min Ah Kim Na Ri Kim

Na Yong Kim Sunhee Kim Eun Sang Ko Jiyoon Lee Soo Jeong Lee Mi Jin Oh

Soo Jin Park Sung Shin Park Su Kyung Soung Sunghyun Um Soon Young Yoon Chae Mok Yu

In Japanese: Kaori Matsuura Congratulations to the aromatherapists who reregistered in April 2014: By Examination: Dawn D. Larson By Continuing Education Units: Lori L. Barr

Becksun Park

Michael F. Dell’Orfano

Elvira Dilibero

American College of Healthcare Sciences is seeking contract adjunct faculty for online clinical aromatherapy teaching positions. ACHS offers accredited, online graduate and undergraduate programs in clinical aromatherapy. U.S. Department of Education approved accredited PhD or professional terminal degree required; RA credential preferred. ACHS seeks faculty who are caring and attentive to students and provide a collaborative and engaging online learning experience for students. At least two years teaching experience and subject knowledge required. Experience with an online learning platform such as eCollege is essential (Angel, Moodle, and Blackboard considered). Instructors should be available to log in to class six days per week and respond to student inquiries within 24 hours. Please register to apply online at

ARC Newsletter June 2014  

This is the June edition of the Aromatherapy Council's Newsletter, 2014.