Aromatherapy is an ancient healing practice that has been used for upwards of 6000 years. Many different cultures, including the Greeks, Romans and ancient Egyptians used essential oils and aromatherapy. The term, aromatherapy, however, was not used until the 1920s. French chemist, Rene Maurice Gattefosse, coined the phrase after a fortunate accident.
During an experiment, he set his arm on fire and quickly immersed it in the first cold liquid he could access which was lavender oil. He immediately noted that the pain decreased dramatically and a much faster, less painful healing time with no scarring. Aromatherapy was also used in World War II to treat soldiers who had gangrene.
Essential oils are mentioned 188 times in the Bible. Oils were used for anointing and to heal the sick. Some of the more popular oils were frankincense, myrrh, rosemary hyssop and spicknard. In fact, it was frankincense and myrrh that the wise men brought as gifts to the Christ Child.
Today aromatherapy is used by many people for a variety of ailments ranging from depression to poison ivy to the flu. Each oil has certain properties that work to treat specific conditions. The art of aromatherapy has become a science over the years. There are special “blends” of various essential oils that combine to bring about a desired healing effect. These blends can be applied to the skin, used in a diffuser or sprayed into the air and then inhaled.
Many essential oils have strong antiseptic properties. They are often used to combat infection and some are inhaled by people who are battling a cold of flu. Some essential oils are also believed to have strong effects on the mind and are used to uplift a person’s mood. Likewise, other oils, such as lavender, are used for relaxation and to aid in sleep. Different essential oils offer different therapeutic benefits.
Aromatherapy and essential oils can be a viable alternative to health and wellness practices. It can help enhance the mood, ward off infection and even heal certain diseases. Care should be taken, though, that the oils are handled correctly. The oils are very concentrated and some can have adverse effects if not handled properly.
It is important that before using aromatherapy for serious health issues, you first obtain guidance from a qualified, certified aromatherapist. Today, aromatherapy is recognized as a comprehensive natural therapy by many healthcare professionals.