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What is Aromatherapy
The use of various plant extracts to produce a natural concentrated liquid known as an essential oil. Examples of sources include roots, stems, flowers, barks, seeds, berries etc.
Other perceptions of Aromatherapy
A plant’s life force captured in a bottle The personal signature/character of the plant’s identity
How old is Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is thousands of years old, possibly dates back as far as 4500BC +
The ancient Egyptians used oils to embalm their dead, in candles, perfumes, medicine and to worship their gods
The ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Arabs and Persian cultures soon followed in their aromatic/medicinal trails…
Centuries passed… the crusades then spread the trade and knowledge to other countries around the 10th century.
Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1664)
A famous influential herbalist and astrologer also studied and used essential oils but his work was mostly focussed around herbal and physical energetics. Culpeper made a huge contribution to herbal medicine.
Modern Aromatherapy 1881-1950
French chemist Rene- Maurice Gattefosse rediscovered the healing powers of essential oils during an experiment in his lab. He badly burnt his hand and found quick relief by using Lavender to calm and stop the spread of gangrenous sores.
Modern Aromatherapy continued
Gattefosse continued to attract much scientific attention from his published research in 1937 and coined the word … aroma-therapie
Modern Aromatherapy 1950’s
Jean Valnet continued to research Rene’s work during the second world war. Whilst Valnet was on the battlefield assisting wounded soldiers, he ran out of medicine and made a quick decision to substitute it with essential oils which worked just as well.
Marguerite Maury (1895-1968) Maury was an Austrian born biochemist who was responsible for pioneering the use of essential oils through massage after opening up clinics in France, Switzerland and England. Her concept was simple, by diluting 4-6 essential oils in fatty oils for safer application to promote a sense of well being.
Robert Tisserand (1977)
Tisserand wrote the very first English based aromatherapy book titled ‘Art of aromatherapy’ after being inspired originally by his mother and spurred on by Gattefosse’s writings in French.
How can we use aromatherapy today
We can visit a qualified aromatherapist
We can purchase essentials oils and administer them ourselves
Visiting a qualified therapist
When you first visit a qualified therapist you need to have a patch test done 24-48 hrs prior to any treatment Allow at least 1 ½ for an initial consultation on your first visit Expect to pay anything from £25-40 per session
Purchasing Essential Oils
Bear in mind that prices vary from brand to brand A general rule to follow (if affordable) is aim for an organic range Shop around until you feel comfortable with your brand Ensure you buy them in dark bottles only
How to use essential oils
Inhale them on a tissue or on a scarf Light a burner and diffuse them in a room Add them to water spray bottles Make up your own unique aromatherapy massage oil Add them to body shower gels or in the bath
Amazing Aromatherapy Facts
Tea Tree is said to be 10 times stronger than Domestos! (Lecture notes) Margaret Thatcher had regular aromatherapy treatments to assist her with neuralgia (British Sunday Telegraph, 1987) Glove makers avoided the plague by using Lavender, cloves and camphor
References and Bibliography
British Sunday telegraph (1987) Defoe, D. ( 1661-1731) Gattefosse’s Aromatherapy (1937) Level 2 Advanced Aromatherapy Lecture Notes (1994) Wildwood, C. Encyclopaedia of aromatherapy (1996) http://hs.riverdale.k12.or.us/~dthompso/exhib_03/haruka/Historiacl_and_Current_U