Articles

Equine Aromatherapy

September 5, 2019


We put six drops of
lavender on this pad here. And then we just turn it on. And then there’s a little heater
in here, an electric heater, that causes the
lavender to vaporize. And then it comes out of here. I’ve been interested in horses
ever since I was a child. I started riding when I was six. And then I became interested
in science and research. And then I happened to
meet a couple of people who were doing equine therapy. I became aware of how horses are
being used with people to help reduce their stress levels. So that really gave
me the inspiration for doing more work
with horses and people. I teach a course
at the University of Arizona, Physiology
for Mind Body Interaction. ISABELLE: One of the units that
we were learning specifically talks about the amygdala. And then we also learn
about the olfaction system and how it has a direct
link to the amygdala. And aroma therapy
was always something that I was kind of interested in
and wanted to learn more about and to see how it
works and understanding how it might be able to impact
our stress response because of the amygdala. And from there we were able
to come up with an experiment that we were both interested in. The lavender physiologically
causes them to relax. It stimulates what’s called the
parasympathetic nervous system, which then stimulates
the salivary glands to produce saliva. So licking and chewing
is a sign of relaxation. Horses have an extremely
sensitive sense of smell. And they are sensitive animals
because they are prey animals. They evolved as prey animals. They’re always looking
around to make sure that there’s no danger. That’s why horses are a good
model for testing aroma therapy because they’re highly
sensitive and they have a good sense of smell.

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