Aromatherapy is not a new treatment. it has been around for over 3,000 years. Based on the use of oils, which are extracted from
aromatic herbs, flowers and plants, ti works in a number of ways to improve and maintain health. Each plant essence has its own healing properties for the skin and the emotions and they also have powerful cumulative effects on the body’s general health.
The history of aromatherapy massage ..
is shrouded in mystery. Although most people believe that is originated in China, traditional Indian medicine ayurveda, which dates back some 3,000 years, incorporates essential oils into its healing. The Egyptians were also known to use aromatic substances for healing and rituals adn it was the temple priests who blended medicines using essential oils for the pharoahs ailments.
The Egyptians also initiated the art of extracting essences from plants by heating them. It was the Greeks, however, who invented distillation, which preserved both teh fragrance and the healing properties of the plant for long periods. The Romans continued the tradition of aromatherapy, using oils for massage and to perfume both their homes and spas.
During the Crusades, the knowledge of perfumery and aromatic oils spread, especially in Arabia and the far east. Arabian chemists
perfected distillation and were famous for their exotic fragrances, such as incense, myrrh, sandalwood and musk. One of the most respected pharmacists, Avicenna, was the first to distill the essence of rose, which is still the most expensive oil as it take up to 1000 kg of rose petals to make 500 g of essence. The crusades brought back many of the methods and techniques to Europe. During the Great Plague, the essences of pine, cypress and cedar were burned in hospitals, sick rooms and even in the streets to ward off the virus.
The plundering of South America brought even more knowledge of essential oils. The Aztecs were famous for their medicinal concoctions and the Spanish discovered a wealth of knowledge about herbalism from Montezumas botanical gardens. The North American Indians had also developed their own herbal remedies adn used essential oils in cleansing cermonies.
In the 19th century, scientists began to research the effects of essential oils on bacteria. It was a French chemist, Rene Maurice Gattefosse’s, who started serious research into the use of essential oils to heal and he coined the word aromatherapy in 1928.
Massage is the most powerful medium for aromatherapy. In aromatherapy massage, essential oils are applied to the skin and worked into the skin using techniques that centre around the nervous system.The massage aims to unblock trapped energy by releasing muscle tension, thus letting the energy flow freely around the body. Depending on which essential oil is used, the result can be either invigorating or soothing.
The oils are not only beneficial to the skin – soothing, healing, stimulating and moisturising it. They also have a deep reaching effect because they stimulate the olfactory receptors located in the nose. These receptors send messages to the brains limbic system, which is the master controller of many other brain functions, such as the heart rate and breathing. The oils can affect how we feel, what we think and how we deal with stress.