They recruited 100 healthy spa workers to stay in the room for two hours each during three separate visits, while researchers recorded their heart rate and blood pressure every 15 minutes.
For the first hour, the subjects’ heart rates and blood pressure dropped slightly, but after 75 minutes the reverse happened — heart rates and blood pressures increased. Average increases were small, but enough to cause alarm, suggested the researchers.
Chuang, whose study was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology points out that aromatherapy oils are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are considered indoor air pollutants that can irritate the eyes, throat, and lungs.
A study published last year had also found that spas that offer massage therapy using fragrant essential oils may have elevated levels of potentially harmful indoor air pollutants such as VOCs and ultrafine particles.