A Brief Introduction To Aromatherapy, Part 1
Aromatherapy is derived from two words. Aroma – meaning fragrance or smell and Therapy – meaning treatment. It is the practice of using essential oils to maintain and promote physical and emotional well-being. Essential oils have been around for centuries, used by many different cultures, in a variety of ways and as a form of holistic therapy. Research has shown essential oils to be some of the strongest metabolite agents; ridding the body of toxins and fighting infections. Aromatherapy is one of the fastest growing fields in alternative medicine. The current interest in the practice of aromatherapy seems to emphasize the fact that nature is continuing to offer us ways to heal ourselves while allowing us to enjoy the beauty that is before us. Classed as an alternative therapy, aromatherapy is now offered by many hospitals that employ aromatherapists to enhance their patient’s general well-being and optimize their quality of life. The aim of aromatherapy is centered on the healing of the body, mind and spirit.
HISTORY OF AROMATHERAPY
The history of aromatherapy goes back thousands of years. Plant oils are mentioned several times in the Bible. Aromatic plants and essential oils were used in biblical times. Cleopatra was also known to use essential oils in her perfumery. The Egyptians used aromatic plant essences to treat both physical and mental health problems. In the East, Chinese doctors also knew the therapeutic benefits of plant essences. The science and practice of modern aromatherapy and concepts began with a French chemist named Rene-Maurice Gattefosse. Around the year 1910, Gattefosse discovered the healing properties of lavender oil after severely burning his hand in a laboratory explosion, and needing to cool it down, put his entire hand into a vat of pure lavender essential oil.
The pain was gone almost instantly. Over the next few days his burn healed with no scars or infections. This led him into a lifetime of research and discovery on the subject of essential oils.
WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?
Essential oils are found in different parts of the plant, to name a few:
- flowering tops – lavender. chamomile
- grass- lemongrass.palmarosa
- leaves – peppermint.tea tree
- peel- lemon.bergamot
- seed – cardamon.fennel
- twig – pine.eucalyptus
- wood – rosewood.cedarwood
- gum – frankincense.myrrh