Candles = Brain Power??? - page 2

I don't know if anyone else has heard this or not, but supposedly certain scents of Colonial Candles help aid the brain in learning new information. "Harbor Mist" works on the RA-system of the brain... Read More

  1. by   kahumai
    Quote from hypnotic_nurse
    Aromatherapy is a nice adjunct to my hypnotherapy practice. It's not going to make anyone Einstein but it does make my patients more alert when they're under.
    It's gonna take alot more than a candle to make me as smart as Einstein! :chuckle

    Nice to see the opinion of someone with alot of experience in this.
  2. by   NurseFirst
    Quote from targa
    You're joking, right?!? I mean... as someone who most likely believes in the scientific method, you don't REALLY think that "aromatherapy" has the ability to affect cognitive skills (other than grossing you out so that you can't study) ?
    http://www.contumacy.org/7Nursing.html
    http://skepdic.com/aroma.html

    Take two Brahms concerti and call me in the morning... because I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.
    For my intro to nursing class (pre-req to entering the RN program).
    We had to explain what we thought nursing was. I pointed out that Nursing, on one side, seems to be embracing "evidence-based practice" and "nursing science"--conducted in the finest tradition of the scientific method and the statistics that form the foundation under it. At the same time, there are elements of nursing which seem to embrace the new-agish stuff like aromatherapy and therapeutic touch. I decided nursing had to resolve this contradiction to really come in to its own and be respected as a profession.

    That said...have there been studies that show "pet therapy" works? That geriatric patients do better when they get some exposure to kids? That people (not just children) need human touch? I don't know. But I really don't think I need scientific proof to believe that the above examples work. There is a whole set of psychological factors that, because they can vary widely, are harder to pin down than those in physics--where people are not involved.
    Life is too short and too complex to define reality simply by what has been scientifically proven, because there is only enough money and time to investigate a very small fraction of human experience.

    That said, here are my criticisms of science:

    1. Science is based upon statistics. You know what Mark Twain said about statistics: "There are lies, d*** lies and statistics". Statistics can be twisted and manipulated.

    2. "Soft science" such as psychology is highly susceptible to the population selected for testing. As I was told in an intro Psych class, psychology is really the study of young adults with college education, in the United States and largely done on white populations. Now this has changed some in the many years since I took that class--but the point is still valid.

    3. One of the steps of the scientific method is repeatability. How many studies out there get funded to repeat someone else's results? Do you see this in the journals--"this study backs up study X" ?

    4. Scientific publishing is pushed forward by much of the "publish or perish" ideas of academic institutions. Scientific fraud is, unfortunately, not all that uncommon.

    5. Who paid for the scientific research? Might the researcher be biased based upon who is paying his salary? Gee, remember all those studies funded by the cigarette companies showing that cigarettes aren't harmful? Geeeee.

    6. Even though other cultures haven't followed the "scientific method" as we know it, do we really think *everything* that a particular culture has done in the health arena can be explained by the "placebo effect", or the "general electric" effect? Surely accupuncture hasn't been practiced for thousands of years without achieving at least some results! That doesn't mean, however, that everything taught in accupuncture is 100% valid, either.

    7. changing variables. People put critters into lab environments to be able to control the variables--but haven't a whole lot of variables been changed by taking a critter out of its natural environment?

    8. There's a lotta poor logical and lack of critical thinking running around. It's sorta like "100% of the people who are in prison have eaten potatoes. Therefore, eating potatoes results in imprisonment." The problem with the above statement is obvious; but there is a lot of stuff in scientific literature that uses similar logic. hmmmmm. Most people are not familiar with most logical fallacies -- and I know I couldn't name them off-hand. Critical thinking also relates involves thinking about what the author gets out of writing whatever it is that they have written (articles, etc.)

    8. As I stated above, there isn't enough time or money to examine but a small fraction of human experience.

    NurseFirst

    Yes, I find that if I'm tired that a little hot pepper can make me more alert, at least for a while. Peppermints, too. Pleasant smells are good distractors and help to relax me, as does exposure to touch. And I find that I do much better in reviewing my multiple choice answers and changing them, rather than taking the first choice. I think this may be different in nursing because nursing questions are not simply fact based questions but involve application and critical thinking.
  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Peppermint supposedly curbs appetite (didn't work for me, just made my mouth very dry).
  4. by   targa
    ... I suppose.

    Candles, chocolate, music, etc... all can put one in the right mood... make one more "receptive" for studying, or for ... whatever.

    But I doubt that any of those directly affect the upper brain. Adderall, however, is an entirely different story. I know of at least one student who is taking it (with a doctor's prescription) to improve memory and concentration. Anyone here taking it?
  5. by   NurseFirst
    Quote from targa
    ... I suppose.

    Candles, chocolate, music, etc... all can put one in the right mood... make one more "receptive" for studying, or for ... whatever.

    But I doubt that any of those directly affect the upper brain. Adderall, however, is an entirely different story. I know of at least one student who is taking it (with a doctor's prescription) to improve memory and concentration. Anyone here taking it?
    People who have ADHD take it to improve focus and concentration; not so sure about memory effects. I don't think most people would get an rx for adderall if they went and asked their physician for one

    Personally, I'd rather take provigil, but it's so darned expensive.

    NurseFirst

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