A Brief History of Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of plant oils (Essential Oils) for healing, well-being and preventative care. Aromatherapy is practiced worldwide and helps people to manage a whole range of symptoms and health issues. Although the term is new the History of Aromatherapy is along one. Aromatherapy has been used since ancient Egyptian times – one of the oldest preserved medical documents dates back to 1552BC and details many recognisable Aromatherapy formulas, alongside the names, characteristics and therapeutic uses of many plants.

A Brief History of Aromatherapy

The ancient Greeks expanded Egyptian Aromatherapy practices and Hippocrates recorded the benefits of treating the body as a whole when he used Aromatherapy Massage and baths in treatments in 460BC.

By 900AD Aromatherapy was in regular use in Britain.

As time passed the medical establishment began to frown upon the use of herbs and plants by aromatherapists and a division was created between the two disciplines, the use of essential oils for medicinal purposes declined and they began to be mainly used in perfumes.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, there was a renewed interest in the therapeutic actions of essential oils.  Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, a chemist who manufactured perfume, became interested after finding his badly burned hand healed very quickly after he plunged it into lavender oil.

His main interest lay in the chemical components of the essential oils, although as a perfumer he understood the ‘feel good factor’ that aromas could have, and he then went on to investigate the therapeutic actions of other essential oils.

More recently there have been scientific investigations in order to validate the use of essential oils to alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety. Studies to show the calming effect of lavender and sandalwood, a study at Manhattan’s Sloan-Kettering Hospital show the cases of anxiety and stress related to claustrophobia in MRI scanning machines dropped by 63% when patients were exposed to the scent of vanilla and many more.

Research continues to find links between the principles of aromatherapy and scientific fact. As many users of Aromatherapy can testify, Aromatherapy works; regular and proper use of essential oils relieves their symptoms and helps to improve their lives.

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