Ancient Origins of Modern Aromatherapy
Aromatic plant oils have been used therapeutically for thousands of years. The ancient literature of Vedic Indian, historic Chinese, and Arabic medical texts all document the importance of aromatic oils for both health and spirituality. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates, the “father of medicine”, used fragrant fumigations to rid Athens of a plague. Roman soldiers kept up their strength by bathing in scented oil and having regular massages. However, when it comes to ancient aromatherapists, the Egyptians were winning with physicians traveling there to learn.
Arrival in the West
It’s widely held that the practice and application of aromatherapy arrived in the west around the time of the Crusades. We find evidence of the use of essential oils during the plagues of the 14th century. The earth, animal, luxurious surface, and people friendly household cleanser used exclusively by the HomeRoma Therapy services granted by Life Enhancement by Genies is a direct descendant of these natural plague killers. In the 16th and 17th century the benefits of aromatherapy became popularly used among European herbalists. It wasn’t until the 18th and 19th centuries that the subjective art was backed by science in the identification of many of the individual components of plant chemistry.
Research and experimentation enabled scientists to extract the active components of medicinal plants. This examination of natural medicine in turn led to the development of synthetic pharmaceutical medicinal drugs and a dismissal of plant medicine, how ironic. Blame it on capitalism.
Revival of the Real
Thankfully, in the 1920’s the devoted dedication of a French chemist by the name of Rene Mauric Gattefosse, there was a modest revival of the real. Plant oils became his best friends when Gattefasse discovered that lavender oil quickly healed a burn on his hand and he went on to show that many essential oils were better than antiseptics than their synthetic counterparts. We owe the coining of the term aromatherapie, please excuse my French, to Mr. Gattefasse.
Later, a French army surgeon, Dr. Jean Valnet, also used essential oils as a method of treatment for soldiers wounded in battle as well as psychiatric patients. These experiences are documented in 1964’s “Aromatherapie”, Valnet’s work on essential oils that is still considered by many to be the go to book on aromatherapy.
In the 1950’s an Austrian beauty therapist and biochemist, Marguerite Maury, introduced the concept of using essential oils in massage and established the first aromatherapy clinics in Britain, France, and Switzerland.
Write your history today.
Incorporate aromatherapy into your lifestyle.
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