Although Aromatherapy has only become popular in recent years it has been know and used as a form of healing for over 5000 years. As with all herbal medicine it is impossible to point to an exact date when essential oils were first used. We do know however that gums and resins, such as myrrh and cedar were used for healing purposes and spiritual ceremonies in ancient Egypt. Tablets and papyri recording such use as well as ointment jars with solidified frankincense were found, among others in the tomb of Tutankhamen that had been sealed over 3000 years ago.
The Greeks ended up learning a great deal from the Egyptians concerning the properties and uses of "aromatics." The recipes for a number of medicinal " perfumes" are inscribed on marble tablets in the temples of Aesculapius, a Greek god of healing and the temples of Aphrodite. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine said that "the way to health is and aromatic bath and a scented massage everyday."
Another of history's famous physicians, the Arabian Avicenna, who lived in Constantinople in the tenth century, wrote over a hundred books the first of which was on the beneficial effects of the essential oil of rose. The last century has brought a renewed interest in this form of healing, especially in Great Britain, France and Italy. The French chemist Rene-Maurice Gatfosse is considered the father of modern aromatherapy. He coined the term aromatherapy and used it as the title of a book he published in 1937.A number of European scientists have been conducting experiments with essential oils since the 1930's.
Today we understand that essential oils enter our body in two ways; absorbed by the skin they reach the organs via the circulatory system and through our breathing process they reach the brain. When we inhale fragrance molecules they reach the innermost control center of our brain, the place where "our emotions are made."
Scent stimuli in that part of the brain release a number of neurotransmitters that effect our mood and reduce the experience of pain.
Because essential oils act in accordance with a holistic approach to healing they are more and more becoming a treatment of choice as we begin to understand that illnesses often originate in the body and the mind. The list of ailments that can be addressed with essential oils is endless, however here are some of them that respond particularly well:
- Stress& Anxiety
- Respiratory Infections
- Digestive Disorders
- Hormonal Imbalances