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A Brief Introduction to Aromatherapy

A Brief Introduction to Aromatherapy

Many of you that have found this site are perhaps new to spirituality and/or alternative therapies & holistic remedies so I’d like to offer brief introductions to a broad range of subjects to wet your appetite. I do not claim to be an authority on any subject I just present some of the things I have learnt to you and if you want to look at the subject more closely then go ahead!

Obviously, do not stop any treatments you are currently undergoing and always let your doctor or other health care professionals know what you are doing.

According to an online medical dictionary, the technical definition of the term “aromatherapy” is “the therapeutic use of plant-derived, aromatic essential oils to promote physical and psychological well-being. It is sometimes used in combination with massage and other therapeutic techniques as part of a holistic treatment approach.” Aromatherapy does not just mean that we are cured through the sense of smell alone. Essential oils as you will see over coming weeks, has individual ingredients which work with the body directly. This in turn effects our organs and body systems as a  whole.

For example, when the oils are used externally in the form of a massage treatment, they are easily absorbed via the skin and transported throughout the body. This can be demonstrated by rubbing a clove of garlic on the soles of the feet; the volatile oil content will be taken into the blood and the odour will appear on the breathe a little while later. It is interesting to note that different essential oils are absorbed through the skin at varying rates, eucalyptus for example takes 20-40 minutes to absorb into the skin whereas coriander, rue and peppermint take somewhat longer, anywhere from 100-120 minutes.

The vast subject of aromatherapy as we know it today is based on thousands of years worth of experience and usage but the term itself was first used after 1928 when a French chemist called Rene Maurice Gattefosse burned himself at the family perfume factory. It is said that he dipped his hand into a barrel of lavender oil and he noticed how quickly the injury healed. From this discovery he began to research  the therapeutic properties of plant oils rather than just the aromatic.

The use of oils can be traced much further back than this however. The Ancient Egyptians used oils for cosmetics, healing, medicine, incense making, rituals, religious ceremonies food preservation and embalming. All the Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt had their own oils allotted to them, Cleopatra for example was affiliated with the rose. The Greeks believed that the afterworld, or paradise they called Elysium, was a place where perfumed rivers flow.

In India, the Karma Sutra advises that oils be used to massage and soothe the body which nourishes the whole mind, body and spirit, enhancing the sexual experience and much more besides. Offerings were also made to the Ayurvedic God of Healing, Dhanwantari, who ruled all health and was the physician to the Gods, “journeying through the magick of aromatherapy”.

By the late fifth century, Babylon was the principal market for the perfume trade. The best selling essences of Babylonian times were cedar of Lebanon, cypress, pine, fir resin, myrtle, calamus and juniper. The Romans too, held essences in high regard and used them widely for their fragrance, cosmetics and healing. It was the Romans who were responsible for the spread and popularity of essential oils in Europe.

I think I best leave it there for today! It’s not going to be a brief introduction otherwise. If your hungry for more, here’s a good resource for you ….. http://www.essentialoils.co.za/history-essential-oils.htm

Catch ya later Spiriteers!

Sam x

Important Point!

As a general rule which is in line with the present day aromatherapy “code of practise”, it is best to use essential oils as external remedies only. This mainly due to the high concentration of the oils and the potential irritation or damage that they can cause to the mucus membranes and delicate stomach lining in undiluted form.

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