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October 2021

Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery. 1997 Jun; 3(3): 63-5.

Yes, but how do we know it's true? Knowledge claims in massage and aromatherapy.

Vickers A.

Research Council for Complementary Medicine, London, UK.

While there is evidence that both massage and aromatherapy can be of benefit, practitioners make a great number of claims about the clinical effects of their treatments. These are presented in literature as simple statements of fact, often with no attempt to explain the basis upon which the claim is made. Though authors do occasionally make reference to the scientific literature, they often do so inadequately and in many cases the cited papers do not support the claims being made. Some authors have been explicit in giving personal experience as the source of their knowledge. However, there are several reasons why it can be difficult to make general statements based on individual experience. The many inconsistencies found in massage and aromatherapy literature--such as different properties being given to the same oil--provide further evidence that the knowledge base of these therapies is unreliable. Practitioners need to develop a critical discourse by which they can evaluate knowledge claims.

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