The History of Aromatherapy and What it is Today
The History of Aromatherapy
The healing art of using herbs and the highly concentrated oils produced by these plants have been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes, as well as in a wide variety of historical rituals.
The following cultures were of the first in our known history, to harness the knowledge and methods of healing with essential oils:
- The Egyptian’s (perfume, cosmetics, medicine, embalming)
- The Chinese (medicine, religious ceremonies)
- The Jews (religious ceremonies)
- The Greeks (perfume, medicine)
- The Romans (perfume, medicine)
- The Arabs (perfume, medicine)
The use of essential oils then moved into Europe and was used during the Middle Ages. Over the next few centuries, producing these oils to match their demand birthed the first of many apothecary-based medicinal business and commercial distillery operations. These distilleries began in Greece and in France.
Through the centuries, the idea of the Mind, Body connection as the main way of healing was set aside for more “modern treatments”, and the use of medicine was chosen over the traditional plant based healing methods of the past. People then began using essential oils mainly for perfumery, rather than for healing. That is, until 1928, when a French Chemist who went by the name of Gattefosse, was badly burned while working at his families perfumery. He had previously been intrigued by the therapeutic benefits of essential oils and intentionally applied Lavender oil to his burn. The way in which it helped to heal his skin was enough to light a fire within him, even more so, leading him to call his new focus and passion, “Aromatherapy”.
What Aromatherapy is Today
Aromatherapy, is the use of essential oils and aroma, through varying application methods, to help an individual alter or enhance their transpersonal well being (the holistic, “whole health” of the mind, body, spirit, and emotions). *I will cover these basic application methods, in your my next post.
Let’s Address the “Gray Area”…
A side note, before we really dive in further… As we enter into the realm of aroma and methods for alternative health, using essential oils, there are a LOT of myths, misconceptions, conflicting information, and butting of heads, around the subjects of proper usage and practices. It is my goal to design this course from a grounded, but open-minded point of view that is as safe, and as unbiased as possible, so that you can gain a broader perspective, and a more complete picture of the field, in its entirety. Please take what resonates with you, and leave what doesn’t! Giving you this type of course experience will allow you to become empowered, giving you room to develop your own philosophies around aromatherapy, and as a result, you will emerge from this course as a very well rounded Aromatherapy and Holistic Practitioner!
In my view (and of course you are welcome to your own opinion), within modern Aromatherapy, there are “4 Main Schools of Thought” within the field (which I will cover in my next post).
Now, just based off of my own observations, if someone is very firm in their school of thought (for a lack of a better term), they commonly come off as being close-minded to other “methods”. At times, this can create the conflict of opinion between individuals, which is not uncommon to see, especially online…
With that being said, there really aren’t any official “methods” set in stone, either, since Aromatherapy, especially in the US, is not standardized. Aromatherapy, in my view, is actually a Holistic, Non-Secular Field, which allows it to be fluid, spiritual in nature, and it can fluctuate, grow and flow from one person’s personal use, professional practice and teachings, to another, and with this, comes the good, the bad and the muddy…
There are no set standards set by State or Federal Governments within the US, spelling out exactly what this field is, or how it should work for every person/business. This lack of legal standards ultimately puts Aromatherapy into the hands of the Holistic Teachers and independent users (which is what allows essential oil MLM companies to work and function the way they do). Now, with this being said, some aromatherapy guidelines are backed by science and are heavily rooted in chemistry, so although there are many schools of thought within Aromatherapy, there are some basic bits of science that we can lean on, to ensure that we are using safe practices, within whichever school of thought (or thought’s) that we personally resonate with, most.
Now, with this being said, some aromatherapy guidelines are backed by science and are heavily rooted in chemistry, so although there are many schools of thought within Aromatherapy, there are some basic bits of science that we can lean on, to ensure that we are using safe practices, within whichever school of thought (or thought’s) that we personally resonate with, most.
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