The Magic Of Aromatherapy- The History And Healing
It is amazing to know what our ancestors knew about essential oils long before than we can think of. The use of essential oils dates back to approximately 6,000 years when many civilizations like Romans, Indians and Greeks etc seemed to have the hidden knowledge of healing powers of essential oils.
The history of Aromatherapy
Our ancestors believed in the healing powers of essential oils. Ancient cultures like Indians, Chinese, Egyptians, Romans and Greeks used essential oils to heal, relax and beautify the mind and body. At that time essential oils were also used symbolically for spiritual salvation and as a means of mythical interpretation.(Trillia Mina 3 Handmade Wooden Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser)
The origin of essential oil usage is unclear as many cultures were using essential oil for healing purposes extensively. However, it was Egyptians who seemed to take the usage of essential oils to the next level by designing a distillation unit to distill extracts of cinnamon, cedarwood, clove etc.
The distilled extract of essential oil was used to anoint the coffins and mummies so that the heavenly bodies rest in peace. The essential oil extract was also thought as a mood booster, especially in China where the essential oil infusions were used in tea to enhance moods.
When it comes of Greek culture, Hippocrates was fond of using essential oils for healing purposes while perfume connoisseur Megallus used myrrh extracts in his signature perfume called megaleion. Indian and Greek mythology professes the idea of gods and angels as fond of perfumes.
In Indian and Moghul culture possession of essential oils of highest quality was considered as a luxury and sign of prosperity. Moghul Harems were loaded with various plant extracts, perfumes and essential oils that magnified the court romance in olden days.
It was not until 1928 healing from essential oils was taken seriously. While working in his laboratory, French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse burnt his hands and accidentally discovered that his wounds can be healed by Lavender oil. He was so intrigued that he proceeded to research the chemical composition of essential oils to know therapeutic properties.
Following the research, the results led people to use essential oil on injured soldiers of World War I, to treat their burns and wounds. Found by the French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, Aromatherapy was embraced by many physicians, doctors and therapists as a healing aid by the end of 19th century.
Essential oil and healing
So what is there in these oils that can possibly heal? When we experience pleasant smell certain types of neurochemicals like serotonin are released in our brain that make us happy and enhance our mood. In the same manner essential oils when used in aromatherapy imparts a sense of happiness in us.
There are many researches on aromatherapy that suggest the effect of various smell on different parts of our brain. One such study reveals the need of antidepressant dosages can be reduced by using citrus fragrance when treating a patient for depression.
- Citrus fragrance is found to balance hormones at a neuroendocrine level
- Citrus fragrance is also found to enhance the immune system in the body
- There are also studies that suggest the role of citrus fragrance in calming effects on blood pressure, pulse and pain in terminally ill cancer patients.
How aromatherapy works
Aromatherapy consists of using essential oils for inhalation and topical application. In inhalation the essential oil vapors are inhaled through mouth or nose based on the requirement or type of the healing that the patient needs.
Nasal inhalation facilitates the connection of airborne molecules with olfactory senses and thus with the brain while for respiratory issues and complaints essential oils taken through mouth will act on the lungs and respiratory system for relief.
- Many studies suggest that essential oil inhalation (lavender, peppermint etc) can reduce or even prevent the oxidative stress in the brain
- The best way to inhale essential extract would be to use essential oil diffuser to diffuse the vapors in the living area.
- Alternatively essential oils can also be used in the forms of sprays or steam.
For treating cuts, wounds or any type of skin allergies and complaints topical application is preferred. When applied topically, essential oil tends to get absorbed in the skin and work at a cellular level to heal.
- Essential oils are a great option to relieve tension/stress induced headaches, muscle pain and spasms
Even though there are many scientific studies underway to determine the effectiveness of aromatherapy, the efficiency of the treatment is accepted by most of the healthcare providers. Aromatherapy has found its place as one of the effective alternative treatment option for many ailments.