What is Aromatherapy?

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy refers to a complementary health tactic that entails the use of essential oils from plants, such as trees, flowers, and herbs. Sometimes, you will hear other people from different fields and disciplines call it the necessary oils therapy.

From the International Standards Organization (ISO) to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), aromatherapy has many definitions. Yet, it is used for physical and mental healing purposes.

Aromatherapy applies aromatic essential oils medicinally to improve the health of the mind, spirit, and body. As a result, this enhances both emotional and physical health. Thought of as both a science and an art, aromatherapy has prevailed in the medicine and science fields.

The use of aromatherapy is not a new discovery. In fact, it has been around for many decades. Ancient Egypt, Chinese and Indian cultures, among others, have included aromatic plant elements in oils, resins, and balms. Known for their psychological and physical benefits, they were used for both religious and medical purposes.

While the distillation of essential oils is ascribed to Persians in the 10th century, it may have been used before this recorded time.

The first periodical on the distillation of essential oils dates back to Germany in the 16th century. However, their potential in treating ailments was popular and gained prominence in the 19th century with French physicians. By the 19th century, when medical doctors were becoming recognized the research and development of Pharmaceutical drugs, German and French physicians were a step ahead with natural botanicals.

Aromatherapy is a term that was devised by René-Maurice Gattefossé, a French chemist and perfumer. Gattefossé had discovered the healing potential of burns after he severely burnt his hand in 1910 and claimed to heal it using lavender. Later on, he wrote a book on aromatherapy that was issued in 1937, discussing the use of essential oils in treating medical conditions.

The medicinal uses of essential oils were pioneered by Jean Valnet, a French surgeon, after he used them as antiseptics during World War II when treating wounded soldiers. The essential oils used in aromatherapy include tea tree, bergamot, ginger, lavender, and lemon.

You can also find essential oils extracted from Roman chamomile, cedarwood, and geranium. Sometimes, aromatherapy is used to treat insomnia, but its effectivity is yet to be known. Massage therapy also sometimes incorporate aromatherapy for several conditions. These include pain, anxiety, some cancer symptoms, and knee pain from osteoarthritis.

According to aromatherapy practitioners, the fragrances in essential oils stimulate nerves in the nose, which send impulses to the brain section that controls emotion and memory. The outcome can either be stimulating or calming, depending on the type of essential oil.

In an aromatherapy study, researchers used two contrasting scents of lavender and lemon on people under stress. The results showed that lemon displayed a positive outcome on mood. However, neither scent affected the immune system’s biochemical markers or stress indicators.

Aromatherapy essential oils are mixed with other substances, such as alcohol, before spraying in the air, inhaling, or applied on the skin (during a massage). The oils can also be mixed with bathing water.


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