Friday, February 13, 2015

Introduction To Aromatherapy

What Is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy (also known as essential oil therapy) can be defined as the art and science of natural aromatic essences extracted from the plant balance, coordination and promotion of health of body, mind and spirit. It aimed at unifying the physical, mental and spiritual processes in order to increase individual's innate healing processes.

Brief History Of Aromatherapy
Using essential oils for treatment of mental health and ceremonial purposes can be traced to many ancient civilizations, including Chinese, Egyptian, Greece and the Romans.  They also used essential oils in cosmetics, perfumes, and medications.  Several paintings in the caves of Lascaux in the Dordogne region of France also suggested the medicinal use of plants as far back as 18000 BC.

The ancient Chinese Emperor, Shennong, also known as the Father of Chinese medicine (approximately 2700BC), published a herbal book, Shennong Bencao Jing (Herbal Classic of Shennong), which contains information on over 300 plants.
There is also plenty of evidence that the Egyptians employed aromatic for a variety of purposes. A variety of ancient stone walls and the ancient temple records indicated the aromatic plants have been widely used in medicine, cosmetics, and even in the preservation of the body.

The Egyptians passed a lot of their knowledge in the use of plants in medicine to the ancient Greeks.  Hippocrates of Kos (460 -- 370 BC), the 'father of medicine', described the effects of more than 300 plants and recommended the use of daily aromatic massage and medicine.  The Romans refined their knowledge from the Egyptian and Greeks.  They are known for their practices and enjoyed a massage and an aromatic oil bath.

Aromatherapy was not created until late 1920s, in the early 19th century, a French chemist, René • René-Maurice Gattefossé, learned the healing properties of lavender oil when he used it to treat a burn on his hand caused by an explosion in his lab. He was surprised to see how quickly the burn healed without a scar. He then began an analysis the chemical properties of essential oils and how they were used to treat burns, skin infections, and soldiers ' wounds during the first world war.  In 1928, Gattefossé established the science of aromatherapy.  By the 1950s, massage therapists, Estheticians, health care providers such as nurses, physical therapists, and physicians started using aromatherapy. Gatttefossé is now regarded as one of the pioneers of aromatherapy.

Other notable pioneers of aromatherapy, including Dr. Jean Valnet, Madame Marguerite Maury, and Robert B. Tisserand. A French doctor, Dr. Jean Valnet, published a book in French, “The Practice of Aromatherapy”, in 1964.  The book is regarded as the “Bible of Aromatherapy” by many.  An Austrian biochemist, Madame Marguerite Maury, introduced aromatherapy into the cosmetics world and used them in massage.  An English Aromatherapists, Robert B. Tisserand, published the first aromatherapy book in English in 1977. He was known for bringing aromatherapy to the English speaking population.