What is Aromatherapy?
Posted on 22 February 2017
Short history of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy has been used in many forms along side herbal medicine for thousands of years. Flowers and herbs were placed in burials and burning of fragrant woods, leaves, needles, and tree gums were a practice at ancient times. Plants were used as medicine and burnt in rituals for protection. We still use incense in churches around the world, most commonly frankincense and myrrh. Greeks and Romans are known to have used plants and herbs in their baths and for medicinal purposes. They also developed techniques to extract oils from the plants, mostly for use of aromatic waters.
In the 1300s when the pharmaceutical industry started developing the distillation of essential oils became more commonly used for relaxation and perfumery. Later in the 1600-1700s perfumery had developed into an art form. The modern day Aromatherapy was developed in France, the land of perfumery, around 1930s. More techniques were developed and aromatherapy became a part of cosmetic industry. Most synthetic perfumes are still developed emulating natural flower and plant fragrances.
Nowadays aromatherapy is used around the world in holistic practices, cosmetics and natural products like soaps and room fragrances. Even though the essential oils are natural, it is good to keep in mind the are the essence of the plants and very potent, so care should be used when working with them.
Benefits of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy uses essential oils and flower waters extracted from plant sources, for example flowers, leaves, resin, bark, grass and fruits. We use aromatherapy in our every day lives, mostly in synthetic form in perfumes, soaps, deodorants, cleaning products, room fragrances etc. A smell is an important sense for most of us and it can transport us through time and space. Aromatherapy can be very powerful, especially from psychological point of view, triggering memories, feeling and emotions.
Make sure you read the labels for safe use if you are making your blends yourself or seek professional advice if unsure. Remember essential oils are pure plant essences, so should be used in small quantities. A few drops goes a long way.
How to use aromatherapy?
There are many ways to use aromatherapy in your every day life. Most of us don't even realise it, but we use aromatherapy daily in our products, like shower gels, soaps, lotions or bath salts. Aromatherapy can also be used in massage treatments and the oils are fantastic in skincare and body products.
You can make your personalised scents for soaps, bath products or use the essential oils on their own in a diffusers or burners. You can even use aromatherapy in your cleaning products. They are great insect repellents and peppermint works wonders when tackling ants in your house. One of the easy ways to use essential oils is just to place a ceramic small bowl with water on your radiator with couple of drops of essential oil. The heat of the radiator helps to a vaporise the water and the soft scent in to the air. Try adding a couple of drops of your favourite oil to your washing up liquid or cleaning water when you wash the floors.
Most products in the market still use synthetic perfumes which are cheaper to manufacture, but natural plant materials are getting more popular. Nowadays you can find many base products without any fragrances and easily use these to make your own blends. Try making shower gels, lotions or base oils and butters and blend your own scents for your skin and body care. If you feel creative, soap and candle making is fun, you can also add dry herbs or flower petals to create a personalised touch. They also make great gifts. If you want to create your own signature perfume it is also possible, especially the flower oils can make amazing delicious scents. Only your imagination sets the limits on what you can do
Do you use aromatherapy in your daily life? Do you have any favourite? Please leave your comments below