The modern-day world has depended on conventional, allopathic medication for years. However, with the gradual shift from chemical-based treatments to more natural ones, there is an increasing inclination towards alternative medicine therapy. Many of these present potent methods that have existed for centuries now, but somehow been left behind in the race of progress. Among the most popular and fairly effective avenues of alternative therapy is aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy has often been misconstrued by people with commercial interests to represent anything that has a fragrance to it. But aromatherapy has much more to the ordinary buzz that it is found surrounded with. Let’s take a deep dive into the essence of this natural therapy and its incredible healing assets!
So, what is Aromatherapy?
Unlike the popular thought of associating aromatherapy with anything that smells good (such as potpourri, perfumes, and aromatic candles), it is the science of the therapeutic application of naturally extracted plant essences derived from their flowers, barks, leaves, peels, roots and seeds to heal physical, mental and spiritual disturbances. It is based on the premise that fragrance has a strong bearing on the mind or the control center of the body. And, indeed, smells do trigger memories that can involve sounds, sights as well as emotional impressions of past events, initiating cascading physiological responses that have a bearing on the body and mind!!
Besides, do you know that most Japanese companies use various aromas to increase work productivity? In fact, essential oils like eucalyptus have been seen to keep truck drivers as alert as if they would have consumed caffeine!!
To understand Aromatherapy, let’s first understand where it comes from!
The practice of healing through essential oils dates back to almost 6,000 years. This ancient art of healing has been around in ancient cultures of China, Babylon and more. Throughout history, these oils have formed the key elements in healing methods.
But the wisdom of the most complex use of these oils can be accredited to Ancient Egyptian culture, where fragrance was equated to divinity and used in all walks of life (and death too!). However, with the passage of time and subsequent conquests by Greek and Romans, this science and its use in the healing process got diluted and was lost to the masses.
From Ayurveda in India to the Australian Aboriginal communities, all have routinely employed essential oils for the natural healing properties of plants for more than 40,000 years, now.
However, the onus of bringing the therapeutic value of these natural plant ingredients to the fore lies with a chemist from the French perfume industry, René-Maurice Gattefossé. He happened to stumble on the healing powers of aromatherapy courtesy a mishap in his laboratory that burnt his hand.
Finding a vat filled with lavender oil nearby, he plunged his hand into it and found relief from pain and burning. This prompted Gattefossé to unearth the latent healing properties of essential plant oils and in 1928 he coined the term “aromatherapy”.
In recent times, aromatherapy has been witness to a noteworthy renaissance. It’s immensely incredible curative attributes have made it a much sought-after alternative therapy to the extent that many European countries today use it as an adjunct to conventional medicine.
Aromatherapy is powered by the natural healing and therapeutic nature of essential oils that have been found to alleviate and treat physical ailments like allergies, respiratory tract infections including bronchitis and asthma, joint inflammations, digestive disorders, migraines and more, besides also empowering the mind and soul and promoting mental health.
In fact, all across the globe, the scientific community is exploring the positive effects of application of aromatherapy for the treatment of a variety of diseases including HIV, cardiac diseases, cancer, spinal cord dysfunction and much more.
More than 90 essential oils, each with its own health benefits, exist and these are used in combinations by Aromatherapists.
But, how does it work?