Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts to improve health and well-being of the body, mind, and spirit. It enhances both physical and emotional health.
The History of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy has been used for thousands of years, dating as far back as 4,000 B.C. Cultures from around the world including Egypt, China, France, and India used these active ingredients derived from aromatic plants for their curative, therapeutic and preventative properties. Steam and water distillation along with mechanical cold pressing are the main methods used to extract the essential oils from the leaves, flowers, and bark of the plant. Once this process is complete, the essential oils can then be blended with a carrier oil. The most common carrier oils are fractionated coconut oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, evening primrose oil, flaxseed oil and olive oil.
It was not until 1935 that the term ‘aromatherapy’ was first used by René-Maurice Gattefossé, a chemist from Lyon, who discovered the healing benefits of lavender after he experienced a burn. He treated his burn effectively with Lavender oil. Gattefossé later went
on to publish his book in 1937 on aromatherapy which included more than twenty works and experiments that are still considered references today. Other scientists, such as Charles Chamberland, a biologist and assistant to Louis Pasteur, had already investigated their spectacular antimicrobial properties. He studied the scientific effects of measuring clove, oregano and cinnamon essential oils on anthrax, a serious infection caused by a bacteria that can be fatal. In the fifth century, Hippocrates was already treating patients with
aromatic vapors. He used a wide range of medicinal plants to restore health. One of Hippocrates’ quotes relating to medicinal plants was that he believed in a gentle approach to healing and the restorative power of adequate rest and relaxation.
“Healing begins with an aromatic bath and daily massage”.
Hippocrates also recommended boiling water and oregano for a steam inhalation. These old-fashioned remedies are making a come-back with pharmacists often recommending inhalation for easing discomfort for colds and flu.
Popular Essential Oils & Their Benefits
|Lavender||calming, reduces minor skin irritation and reduces blemishes|
|Peppermint||digestive and aids gut health, soothes fatigued muscles|
|Tea Tree||antibacterial, anti-fungal|
|Bergamot||reduce stress and anxiety|
|Clary sage||calm the mind and help reduce stress|
|Eucalyptus||relieves cold symptoms, reduces skin irritations, clarity|
|Chamomile||calming and soothing|
|Jasmine||uplifting, calming increase clarity and alertness|
|Ylang Ylang||stimulate oil production in skin, alleviate anxiety and boost mood|
|Lemongrass||purifies the air, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, reduces stress|
|Patchouli||improve skin conditions like dermatitis, acne and dandruff|
|Cedarwood||deters the growth of mildew, relax the body and enhance concentration|
|Sandalwood||uplifting, boosts memory and concentration|
Other Ways To Enjoy The Benefits of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy can also be used through steamers, diffusers and mists. Additionally, they can be absorbed through the skin in creams, salves, balms and lotions. Despite being a natural ingredient, essential oils can still cause allergic reactions. Never apply pure essential oils directly to the skin, as they may cause irritation. They should be blended with a carrier oil before doing so.
Bathing with aromatic essential oils is a particularly comforting way to rest, helping to reduce tension in the body and mind. It is recommended to use three drops of Bergamot and two drops of Rose, in 10ml of Rosehip Seed oil. Inhaling the delightful aroma of both these essential oils will undoubtedly facilitate rest, while Rosehip Seed oil provides a luxurious way to moisturize and nourish dry skin.
One of our treatments that we offer at Complexions Spa is the Aromatic Alchemy Massage, where you will be guided through a series of questions that lead to a custom blended aromatherapy oil. Your unique oil is then used for your personal massage experience. After your treatment, you will be given your prepared bottle to take home for continued use. We also carry a wide selection of essential oils and diffusers for homecare. Aromatherapy is a great gift idea and is also a wonderful way to keep your home safe during cold and flu season.