One of the fastest growing therapies in the world today, aromatherapy dates back to ancient Egypt, the Far East, China, and Renaissance Europe. Ayurveda, a traditional Indian medicine dating back to 100 B.C., includes aromatic oils in many of their rejuvenating and healing recipes.
Ancient Egyptians used essential oils for religious purposes and for medicinal purposes....mummification. In Europe wigs were scented with oils, and nosegays or tussie mussies were carried to help mask the stench of their unsanitary streets and bodies. In France, hospitals burned rosemary and lavender to fumigate them. In Greece, 2000 years ago, Theophratus, a physician, wrote of the healing properties of "aromatic" plants. The technique of distillation can be traced back to the Persians centuries ago where they learned to distill sophisticated essences such as attar of roses. The Crusaders quickly learned of these valuable medicines and brought them back to Europe.
Rene -Maurice Gattefosse was a French chemist who conducted experiments with essential oils on wounded soldiers during World War I. He found that essential oils were excellent antiseptics that detoxified, especially lavender. Which worked much better than the chemical compounds being currently used. He is also responsible for coining the phrase "aromatherapy". Aromatherapy enhances the quality of life through the use of pure essential oils from herbs, roots, flowers, barks and resins. They are the essence or soul of the plant. Essential oils are not oily; they are volatile - they evaporate easily.
Pure essential oils are best used in the form of massage oils, bath oils or inhalations if you are a beginner. This simple therapy leaves you uplifted, stimulated, relaxed, or invigorated depending upon the oil used. (Always use essential oils in a carrier oil unless under the care of a licensed aromatherapist.) Used in bath or massage, essential oils are absorbed through the skin and into the body where they will stimulate cellular renewal, enhance your emotions and rejuvenate the spirit. When inhaled the aroma penetrates the bloodstream through the lungs to cause physiological change. These changes affect the limbic area of the brain which is related to emotions and memories. The brain has total recall for scent - it never forgets! Because the sense of smell is so immediate, the fragrance from an oil will affect the body's chemical balance quickly.
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