Updated: Oct 21, 2020
Aromatherapy is the inhalation and topical application of true, authentic essential oils from aromatic plants to restore or enhance health, beauty and well-being. It is a holistic healing treatment that can be a complementary therapy to traditional medicine or as a form of alternative medicine. One of the uses of aromatherapy is to strengthen the self-healing processes by preventative methods and indirect stimulation of the immune system.
Aromatherapists, people who specialize in the practice of aromatherapy, utilize blends of therapeutic essential oils that can be used as topical application, massage, inhalation or water immersion. Aromatherapist treat a variety of physical conditions, illnesses and psychological disorders with essential aromatic oils that are extracted or distilled from flowers, trees, spices, fruits or herbs. Since the 1970's Holistic health has become a popular and respected form of Medical practice.
Aromatic oils have been a part of human history for more than 3,500 years and appear with regularity throughout all major civilizations down the ages, with uses ranging from religious ritual, food flavoring, medicines, perfume and the masking of bad odors.
The use of essential oils for therapeutic, spiritual, hygienic and ritualistic purposes goes back to ancient civilizations including the Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Egyptians are credited with developing one of the first distillation machines to extract oils from certain plants -which were used to embalm the dead. The actual term "aromatherapy" first originated in 1937 when French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse invented the word after a burn incident, which he unknowingly plunged his hand into lavender to cool the burning. He went on to useOn the heels of Gattefosse's "discovery" that lavender oil helped to cure his burn, French surgeon Jean Valnet used essential oils to help heal soldiers' wounds in World War II, proving the medical benefits of aromatherapy.