Introduction Clinical aromatherapy offers many advantages in the care of patients, including low dosing requirements and multiple administration routes, such as inhalation, topical, oral and rectal. Contemporary clinical aromatherapy can be traced to the empirical work of Dr. Jean Valnet and the scientific work of his students, Christian Duraffourd, MD and Jean Claude Lapraz, MD, among others.
Clinical aromatherapy can lead to very satisfactory symptomatic relief for many patients, and much of the literature to date has focused almost exclusively on symptomatic treatment (Buckle, 1999; Hedayet, 2008; Hueberger et al, 2004 and 2006; Tildesley et al, 2003 and 2005; Lin, 2007; Goel et al, 2005; Haze et al 2002). For clinical aromatherapy to advance to a precise methodology, a systematic approach is needed in order to evaluate the totality of a patient’s illness. The Endobiogenic method, developed by Drs. Duraffourd and Lapraz over the last 40 years, presents such an approach. The original work was with essential oils, and essential oils still play an important role in this method (Duraffourd and Lapraz, 2002).
Endobiogeny Endobiogeny is a systems approach to clinical practice that takes into account the entire system of the body: the individual organs, cellular and metabolic activity, in and of themselves as well as in relationship to each other and to the global functioning of the person. It is firmly rooted in modern scientific research in endocrinology, physiology and pathology (Lapraz and Hedayat, 2013). Endobiogeny is the integrative study of the structural mechanisms of regulation of the human body during homeostasis as well as its functional response to internal and external stressors, such as infectious pathogens and emotional stress.
The Endobiogenic method evaluates the qualitative and quantitative state of the body and its internal milieu: the biological ‘terrain’ in which the body operates. The Endobiogenic treatment strategy is to re-establish the pre-illness terrain of the individual’s constitution. When this is not possible, then we seek to support buffering capacity and help the organism achieve the highest level of homeostatic function. The buffering capacity are the adaptive mechanisms that the body has to deal with when sudden demands placed on it. For example, the body stores bicarbonate and can quickly deal with some acid build up in this way. Another example is that 98% of most hormones are bound and unusable, staying in a back up state attached to carrier proteins. However, during times of great physiologic demand, these hormones (like T3) can be quickly released. Symptoms of any disease are always regarded in the context of the global functioning of the entire organism.
The Endobiogenic method consists of three arms. The first is a detailed history, starting with prenatal history, childhood characteristics, family history, hereditary factors, etc. A timeline is created that maps out various important physical and emotional traumas which are then related to the onset and progression of various symptoms.
The second arm is a detailed physical examination. The Endobiogenic examination is quite comprehensive and unique in many ways. It is based on the observation that certain neurologic and endocrine relationships can be seen and palpated on the human body. For example, dopamine is known to affect the rapidity of spontaneous blinking (Karson, 1989). A patient who complains of anxiety and blinks a lot has elevated dopamine. An essential oil with neuro-physiological dissociative properties, such as Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata), may be indicated for such a patient. (A neuro-physiological dissociative is an agent that increases mental activity while reducing physiological signs of stress, such as blood pressure and heart rate.) Recent clinical studies showed inhalation and transdermal applications of Ylang ylang increase a state of calm-focus (alpha waves) while reducing peripheral blood pressure (Hongratanaworakit and Buchbauer, 2004 and 2006). As another example, cortisol causes a fat pad to develop over the zygomatic arch, among other places. A patient with symptoms of stress and fatigue with such a fat pad may benefit from a neuro-endocrine balancer, a product that supports adrenal activity while reducing central nervous system and hormonal stimulation of the adrenal gland. Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) is a good example of an essential oil suited to the terrain of such a person (Park and Lee, 2004).
The third arm of the endobiogenic approach is a biological modeling system, the Biology of Functions. The Biology of Functions is a biological modeling tool that relates serum biomarkers through direct and indirect ratios and products. It allows for both a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the terrain of the patient and can greatly enhance a clinician’s treatment of the true cause of the patient’s illness. Because of the mathematical nature of the indices, a patient’s status can be assessed objectively over time (Lapraz and Hedayat, 2013).
With a proper assessment of the terrain, the Endobiogenic practitioner is able to apply a rational phytotherapeutic regimen. It is our belief that the use of medicinal plants and their various extracts—including essential oils—is the most efficient method for regulating imbalances. However, the Endobiogenic method also uses other remedies, including the judicious use of pharmaceutical products where indicated by the severity of the disease and/or the insufficiency of the buffering capacities of the patient.
by Jean Claude Lapraz MD, Kamyar M. Hedayat, MD, and Dan Kenner PhD, LAc
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The full article can be seen in the June 2013 issue of the International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy (IJPHA-Vol. 2, Issue 1). Go to http://www.ijpha.com to subscribe.
Disclaimer The editor/publisher does not accept responsibility for the opinions, advice, and recommendations of its contributors. Furthermore, the IJPHA accepts no responsibility for any incident or injury to persons or property resulting from the use of any method, products, instructions or ideas contained within this publication.