Introduction to Aromatherapy

You have heard the term Aromatherapy and wondered what exactly that funny word, ‘aromatherapy’ means. (“Aromatherapy: How Scents Can Heal Us — Grateful Earth”) “It is the use of plant oils in their most essential form to promote both mental and physical well-being.” (“Candle Making 4 You – How to Make Your Very Own Candles …”) “The use of the word aroma implies the process of inhaling the scents from these oils into your lungs for therapeutic benefit.” (“Aromatherapy: How Scents Can Heal Us — Grateful Earth”)

“If you have ever used a vapor rub for a cough then you have tried aromatherapy, although not in its purest form.” (“UpLevel Your Current State of Mind with Essential Oils”) In fact, you probably have been using aromatherapy on yourself and your family for many years without realizing it through vapors rubs or electric vaporizers.

Vicks or other brands of vapor rub use eucalyptus or menthol to clear out stuffy chests and noses. “Imagine if you used the undiluted essential oil of eucalyptus how clear your lungs would feel.” (“Aromatherapy: How Scents Can Heal Us — Grateful Earth”)

The term aromatherapy is new, beginning to be used in the 20th century, but the practice has been around for thousands of years. (“Aromatherapy and Essential Oils for Healing : The …”) It is believed that the Chinese were one of the first cultures to use the scents of plants to promote health through the burning of incense. Ancient Egyptians used distilled cedarwood oil mixed with clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and myrrh to embalm the deceased. The Egyptians also used oils to perfume both men and women.

In the 14th century when the bubonic plague hit, killing thousands of people, aromas were used to ward off the deadly disease. There is even discussion that the popular nursery rhyme, “Ring Around the Roses” refers to aromatherapy. The lines, “a pocket full of posies” refers to keeping the flower in one’s pocket to keep the illness away. (“Books – Progressive Possibilities”)

“Moving forward through later centuries a growth in books about the use of oils in healing grew.” (“Aromatherapy: How Scents Can Heal Us — Grateful Earth”)

The Greek alchemist, Paracelsus, used the term “essence” and focused study on the use of plants for healing purposes.

While the use of essential oils for perfume continued to grow throughout the ages its’ use for medicinal purposes waned slightly until around 1928. It was at that time that a French chemist named Rene-Maurice Gatehouse accidentally discovered the use of lavender essential oil to heal wounds. (“Introduction to Aromatherapy – BigGoals.com”)

The story is told that he burned his forearm and reflexively placed it in the closest liquid he saw, which was lavender essential oil. He was surprised to find that the burn healed rapidly and left no scar. It was then that he began using the term aromatherapy and wrote about the powers of essential oils. (“Sunspirit Aromatherapy – Posts | Facebook”)

Today, many people are trying to get back to nature. “People have seen firsthand the dangerous effects of synthetic chemicals and processed medications.” (“Statement of Rights”)

The use of all natural essential oils for medicinal, cosmetic and therapy purposes continue to grow. Many people have found the results of using aromatherapy to be far greater than manufactured medications and with far fewer negative side effects. (“Aromatherapy: How Scents Can Heal Us — Grateful Earth”)

Aromatherapy can be used by itself or in conjunction with typical medical treatments. For example, you may use aromatherapy to ease pain after a surgical procedure. You still get the benefit of the surgery but do not have to take the powerful and often dangerous pain medications that a doctor prescribes. (“Aromatherapy: Essential Wisdom”)

Best Wishes, Coyalita

Behavioral Health Rehab Specialist

See Tomorrow: “Quality and Safety Control”

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