Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils which hold therapeutic properties for specific outcomes.
Essential oils are derived from plant matter, such as leaves, bark, petals, stems, seeds for example.
Essential oils can be chosen to meet the client’s individual needs, and for their therapeutic properties
Inhaling the aroma sends compounds through the bloodstream and then into the nervous system, where they act upon the brain’s limbic system. The limbic system is linked to instinctive behaviour, emotions and the control of hormones.
The History of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy dates back to as far as ancient 2000 BC. Records in the bible show the use of plants and their aromatic oils both for the treatment of illnesses and for religious purposes.
The ancient Egyptians used the aromatic oils in cosmetics and the perfume was voted the favourite in the whole of the middle east.
The Greeks and Romans obtained most of their knowledge about aromatherapy from the Egyptians and used the aromatic oils in massage and daily bathing.
A French cosmetic chemist named Rene-
Maurice Gattefosse, in the 1920’s, then discovered the healing properties of the essential oils / plant medicine while burning himself whilst making fragrances in his laboratory and discovered that the essential oil of lavender was exceptionally healing to the skin and left no scarring. This discovery then caused him to undergo extensive research into the medicinal uses of the oils, in which he discovered that it was possible for the essential oils to penetrate the skin and be carried in the blood and lymphatic system to the organs.
China and India have a long history of using plants and herbs as medicine. Chinese medicine is still used today throughout the world ranging from Herbalism to Shiatsu.
In the Middle Ages, people protected themselves from infections by wearing herbal bouquets and they perfumed their homes by throwing herbs on the floor, as well as warding off infections.
In the 15th & 16th centuries, Columbus and Cortes, explorers, brought new plants back to Europe from their expeditions to the Americas. But the use of aromatic plants became more unpopular when the Industrial Revolution hit Britain, when the production of synthetic plant oils overruled the ancient use of pure aromatic plant oils.
A French surgeon, called Jean Valnet, established the medicinal uses of essential oils, which he used as antiseptics in the treatment of wounded soldiers during world war 2.
Like other Holistic treatments, aromatherapy does not claim to cure any ailments, but the use of essential oils can help with many physical and emotional symptoms by helping the body to re-balance so it can activate its own defence and work to its optimal ability.
Essential oils should be diluted first before application to the skin to avoid irritation and allergic reactions, for example, in carrier oil, lotion, cream, gels, waxes.
Here are some benefits of using Aromatherapy oils:
* They can be deeply relaxing, or invigorating, dependant on the oils used
* It can help restore the feeling of well-being and homeostasis
* It can help with stress-related disorders
* It can help with tension
* It can have a positive effect on the body systems.
Because different essential oils have different therapeutic benefits, it is important to study the individual oil’s properties before using it. An oil can contain one or more therapeutic benefit, dependant on the chemical constituents within the oil, such as antibacterial, analgesic, carminative, anti-Inflammatory, antiseptic, soothing, expectorant, sedative, to name a few.
Aromatherapy is such a vast subject that is impossible to contain in just one blog, but please do check out my other blogs.
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