The history of Aromatherapy goes back to 2000BC where it shows in the bible that plants and aromatic oils were used for religious purposes and treating illnesses.
We also know that the Chinese and Indians many years ago used essential oils as well as the ancient Egyptians who used aromatherapy oils for cosmetics, medicine, for religious purposes and embalming the dead to delay decomposition. They extracted the oils by a method of infusion
The Greeks and Roman’s knowledge of the aromatic oils came from the Egyptians, they used the oils in their baths and for massaging with.
The Greek Herodotus in around 425Bc was the first to actually record the method of distillation of turpentine.
Hippocrates a Greek Physician wrote about the medicinal plants and how to use them. He claimed to attain good health you should use the aromatic oils in your bath and have an aromatherapy massage every day!
The recordings of Hippocrates and others who discovered aromatic oils were then translated into Arabic and after the fall of Rome the surviving physicians took their books and knowledge and fled to Constantinople.
Avicenna an Arab physician wrote over 100 books describing the 800 plants and what effect they had on the body and he is known to be the one who invented the refrigerated coil which was a form of distillation to produce pure oils and aromatic oils.
In the UK the first written records of the use of essential oils was in the 13th Century. Then from there between 1470-1670 right across Europe many more herbal books were published alongside books where they show you recipes of how to use essential oils.
Those who survived the plague which hit Europe were the ones using aromatic oils as it is known that a lot of the essential oils have antiseptic properties.
Nicholas Culpeper a herbalist later wrote a book in 1652 stating the medicinal properties of 100’s of plants.
Renee Gattefosse in the 1920’s bought about the scientific studies of the properties of essential oils. He discovered purely by accident one day while making fragrances in his laboratory, he burnt his arm and immediately placed it in Lavender oil and noticed it healed his arm and was left with no scarring. He went on to discover in his studies that it is possible for essential oils to penetrate the skin and into your blood stream and travel through the body to organs.
After him other French Doctors and Scientists went on to do further studies and research to validate the use of essential oils.
The term “Aromatherapy” was coined by Gattefosse and it was Marguerite Maury a former student of Gattefosse that introduced it to the UK in the late 1950’s. She went on to develop her own specialised aromatherapy massage techniques with the combination of essential oils which she would prescribe specifically to treat the individual person she was treating in order to give them more of a holistic treatment helping them with their physical and emotional needs. She went on to train Beauty Therapist in the UK this method allowing them to be able to treat clients in order to help relieve skin conditions, stress etc..
Aromatherapy is now recognised as a complimentary therapy and widely used all around the world in hospitals, clinics etc as a holistic treatment and many times these days alongside orthodox treatments to treat the person as a whole and re-balance the body.
Have you ever had an Aromatherapy treatment and what did you think of it, please comment below.