Definitions of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is the inhalation and application of essential oils to restore or
enhance health, beauty and well being. This holistic treatment can help you
to relax, rejuvenate or energize your body, calm your mind and lift your spirit.
The term "aromatherapie" was coined by the French chemist, Rene Maurice
Gattefosse in 1928. He was convinced that the essential oils had antiseptic
properties and other important healing abilities. While conducting an
experiment in distillation he burned his hand and needing to cool it down, put
his entire hand into a vat of pure lavender essential oil. The pain was gone
almost instantly. Over the next few days his burn healed with no blisters,
scars or infections. Thereafter he continued his research of this incredible
phenomenon and uses of essential oils for other possible medical uses.
History of Aromatherapy
Combinations of resins, oils and fragrant plants were used in some form - for
ceremonial, medicinal, or pleasurable reasons - in most ancient civilizations.
In fact, perfumes and aromatic plants were the basis for many of the early
trade routes. Some of the earliest documented uses of aromatherapy were in
ancient Egypt. There, 3000-year-old papyruses have been discovered
containing remedies for many types of illnesses; some of the methods of
application are similar to the ones used in aromatherapy today. The ancient
Egyptians used aromatic plants and their essential oils to create massage
oils, medicines, embalming preparations, skin care products, fragrant
perfumes and cosmetics. There are other written accounts of aromatic oil use
in ancient Africa, Mesopotamia, Greece, Babylon, India and China.
What are Aromatherapy Essential Oils?
Essential Oils are highly concentrated and potent oils extracted from plants,
leaves, flowers, fruit, bark and roots by distillation with either water or
steam, by mechanical processing of citrus rinds, or by dry distillation of
natural materials. It takes at least one pound of any given plant to create
one drop of pure essential oil and are most expensive. Synthetic fragrance
oils have little or no therapeutic effect and are often mixed with
How do Aromatherapy Essential Oils work?
Inhalation of Essential Oils - The effects of essential oils can be felt simply by
breathing in the aromatic vapor. Smell triggers psychological and physiological
responses in the body. Smell receptor cells transmit impulses about the smell
to the olfactory area of the brain in the limbic system, which is linked, to
memory, emotions, hormones, sexuality and heart rate. These impulses
trigger neurochemicals and endorphins that can bring about a mental and a
Absorption of Essential Oils through the Skin - The second way for essential oils
to penetrate the body is through the skin. Essential oils can stimulate
circulation, encourage cell regeneration and the formation of new skin cells.
Some essential oils calm inflamed or irritated skin, release muscle spasms,
and relieve muscular tension. The positive effect of essential oils on blood
circulation is well known. Studies have found that basil, tea tree and thyme
essential oils can encourage the production of white blood cells and boosting
the immune system of the body.
It takes 6,000 pounds of jasmine pedals to produce one pound of jasmine
essential oil. In addition, jasmine can only be picked 3 months out of the year
between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. It takes 4,000 pounds of rose pedals to produce 1
pound of rose essential oil. Roughly translated that means it takes about 30
roses to produce 1 drop of essential oil.