What is Aromatherapy?

lavendel bosje(1)To most people, aromatherapy is nothing more than enjoying a relaxing fragrance. They light a scented candle and let the stress of the day slip away. Or maybe they will place some essential oils in a small dish and set it over a lighted candle to create a romantic mood. Other people burn some incense to cover bad odors in the house. In either case, the point is merely to fill the air with a pleasing aroma to achieve some desired effect. However, this isn’t really aromatherapy. It’s recreational fragrancing!

Holistic Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses plant materials and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering one’s mood, cognitive, psychological or physical well-being. Aromatherapists, who specialize in the practice of aromatherapy, utilize blends of therapeutic essential oils that can be issued through topical application, massage, inhalation or water immersion to stimulate a desired response.

René-Maurice Gattefossé

René-Maurice Gattefossé

Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being. The inhaled aroma from these “essential” oils is widely believed to stimulate brain function. Essential oils can also be absorbed through the skin, where they travel through the bloodstream and can promote whole-body healing.

The history of aromatherapy is very ancient. Throughout antiquity, aromatherapy has been used by many civilizations including the Egyptians, Romans, and the Greeks. But in those days, it wasn’t called “aromatherapy” – that term didn’t appear until 1937, first used by French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé. Gattefossé spent his life devoted to essential oils and their healing properties.

ancient-essential-oils1More than 6,000 years prior to Gattefossé, Imhotep, an Egyptian physician, suggested that oils be used for massage, bathing, and embalming the dead. Hippocrates, known as the father of modern medicine, used aromatic smoke and vapors to purge Athens of the plague.

A form of alternative medicine, today aromatherapy is gaining momentum. It is used for a variety of applications, including pain relief, mood enhancement and increased cognitive function. There are a wide number of essential oils available, each with its own healing properties.

A Few Reasons Why People Seek Aromatherapy:

  • Reduce stress and the physical, emotional, mental, and energetic impacts of stress.
  • Uplift the spirits.
  • Improve concentration and mental clarity.
  • Achieve and maintain balance.
  • Relaxation and improve sleep.
  • Relieve muscle and joint aches, stiffness, and tension.
  • Support respiratory functioning.
  • Deodorize and refresh.
  • Natural home and garden maintenance.
  • Promote and support healthy skin and address common skin conditions such as dryness, oiliness, acne, wrinkles, and others.
  • Reduce occasional nausea.
  • Support other healing modalities (conventional and complementary).
  • Support meditation and others forms of spiritual development.
  • Pamper oneself.
  • Preference for personalized natural products and treatments.
There are countless other reasons to use aromatherapy, but these reasons are some of the most common ones. What would your reason be?
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