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Tracing The History of Aromatherapy

Many people may not be aware of this but aroma therapy refers to the use of aromatic materials to improve a person’s physical and psychological well being. Aromatherapy has its controversies and debates but one undisputable fact is that it has been around for a very long time. Perhaps the fact that human beings have been using aromatherapy for centuries might give a clue to some to its overall efficacy in improving our well being.

 Burning incense to heal

 We know form historical records that many ancient kingdoms (such as the Egyptian kingdom) used incense as a way of driving out evil spirits from people. It is very likely that in such early societies, affliction from evil spirits probably referred to one form or another of physical illness. Nevertheless, the association between burning aromatic plants and illnesses is an interesting one and forms the foundation of modern day aromatherapy. We know that aromatherapy was used in many other civilizations that came after the Egyptian civilization. Aromatherapy (although not yet called that) was extensively used by the Greek, Persian and the Roman empires.

 Birth of modern day Aromatherapy

 Aromatherapy as we know it today has its direct roots to a French chemist called Rene-Maurice Gattefose who was the first person to coin the term aromatherapy. Rene-Maurice studied the effects of medicinal oils on treatment of various ailments. His book titled ‘Aromathérapie: Les Huiles essentielles hormones vegetales’ in 1937 has the distinction of being the first public use of the term aromatherapy and in many ways pioneered the use of essential oils in the treatment of various ailments.

More pointedly, a French surgeon by the name of Jean Valnet used essential oils to treat wounded soldiers during world War two. Vanet went ahead to publish the book ‘The practice of aromatherapy’ which became of the first set of books to explain the use of essential oils for healing and set is aside as distinct practice. Many other pioneers in this area include Robert Tisserand, an aromatherapist, who has the unique distinction of having pioneered aromatherapy in the English speaking nations.

 Aromatherapy today

Today, aromatherapy is the subject of intense debate on its efficacy with heated debated on either side of the issue. There is a large school of thought at believes that aromatherapy helps reduce stress, relieve pain, reduce blood pressure and improve blood circulation.  Typically, there are three common methods of applying the essential oils used in aromatherapy to a patient. One of those methods is through massaging the patient with highly concentrated essential oils which are then rubbed into the skin and allowed to soak in. Another common method is by breathing the essential oils in.

Here, a little oil is applied on a clean cloth and then breathed in. A variation of this is to have a burner that burns the essential oils and fills a room with their aroma which is then breathed in. Finally, essential oils can be applied to a sizable amount of water (such as a bath tub) and a person then soaks themselves in the water.

With so many people having experiences stress relief and other benefits from aromatherapy, it is difficult to argue that is has no health benefits. Clearly, from the history of Aromatherapy, it would appear that many civilizations in the long history of humanity have found aromatherapy and the various variations of it useful. It is hard to argue that they were all wrong. Perhaps a great idea would be to try it yourself and form your own conclusion. So get out there today and find an aromatherapy spa in North York to try it for yourself!