What is “galvanic skin response”?

Galvanic skin response (GSR) is the term I have found in the promotional material of some popular devices that are supposed to be able to scan your body and then with complex algorithms, determine which essential oils and/or supplements are best for you. GSR is an older term for what is today more commonly called electrodermal activity or EDA. These devices are hugely popular, very expensive, and trusted by millions.

Years ago I got caught up in this technology. I could put my hand on a device and in less than two minutes I would get the scan results. With those results I had a window to my body and soul. This was due to using a desk reference to decipher the results. Was I “toxic”? If an essential oil or product thought to help with that was listed, well, I must need detoxed. Was I angry? If some oil blends with emotional names popped up, I must need them to “release” this emotion.

I had some very intriguing and unexplainable scans. One woman had a brain tumor and what do you know, an oil came up on the scan that was supposed to support the brain. Another time an “emotional” oil blend appeared. I asked the person a question about it and they burst into tears saying, “How could it know that?”

That’s what I wanted to know. More and more I began to question this magic tool that knew so much.

EDA can be boiled down to the activity of the sweat glands on the skin. These are controlled by the autonomic nervous system. I emailed the company that I had the device with for more explanation. They gave me none, but just said that it measured the galvanic skin response. How could this specifically tell me what was going on in my body? How could a particular oil or supplement be recommended based on minute changes in the sweat of my hands? They could not or would not answer.

I canceled my account and threw away my $800 device as fast as I could.

This article goes into more detail about the history of such devices. They are numerous and most have already been exposed as pseudoscience and quackery. It compares the devices to “magic 8 balls.” Some energy healing websites believe that they measure “energy, use quantum physics, or intuition and the subconscious.” There is no possible way to verify that. All that is left are testimonials. I heard that one woman was told after a scan that she was completely toxic. I would ask you, what is she to do with that information? Supposedly, use all the recommended products.

There is a lot of pseudoscience in alternative medicine, aromatherapy included. In my opinion, whether a specific wellness strategy, diet, plant or whatever comes from the East or West, is ancient or modern, it is either medicine or nonmedicine, science or psdeudoscience. It is up to the consumer to research those who advocate it and those who oppose it. The truth will be borne out if one is not afraid to research.

I do believe that there are things that “work” that are not rooted in real science. In my experience I have seen the paranormal. I have seen pseudoscience be effective, but I now question the source of the effectiveness. I have personally stopped doing all of those techniques and have thrown away the tools. Most of the time, the “healing” was temporary or one malady was exchanged for another. In my opinion and conviction, these devices are like expensive Ouija boards, giving advice that is neither accurate nor profitable for body or soul.

Published by Gwendolyn Christopher Rodriguez

I am a certified aromatherapist and PraiseMoves instructor.

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