Aromatherapy uses plant materials and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds for the purpose of altering one’s mood, cognitive, psychological or physical well-being.
It can be offered as a complementary therapy or, more controversially, as form of alternative medicine. Complementary therapy can be offered alongside standard treatment, with alternative medicine offered instead of conventional, evidence-based treatments.
Aromatherapists, who specialize in the practice of aromatherapy, utilize blends of therapeutic essential oils that can be issued through topical application, massage, inhalation or water immersion to stimulate a desired response.
There is no good medical evidence that aromatherapy can either prevent or cure any disease, but it might help improve general well-being.
For a little bit of history, I promise I will keep it short and sweet.
The use of essential oils for therapeutic, spiritual, hygienic and ritualistic purposes goes back to a number of ancient civilizations including the Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans who used them in cosmetics, perfumes and drugs.
Oils are described by Dioscorides, along with beliefs of the time regarding their healing properties, in his De Materia Medica, written in the first century. Distilled essential oils have been employed as medicines since the invention of distillation in the eleventh century, when Avicenna isolated essential oils using steam distillation.
The concept of aromatherapy was first mooted by a small number of European scientists and doctors, in about 1907. In 1937, the word first appeared in print in a French book on the subject: Aromathérapie: Les Huiles Essentielles, Hormones Végétales by René-Maurice Gattefossé, a chemist. An English version was published in 1993. In 1910, Gattefossé burned a hand very badly and later claimed he treated it effectively with lavender oil.
A French surgeon, Jean Valnet, pioneered the medicinal uses of essential oils, which he used as antiseptics in the treatment of wounded soldiers during World War II.
The modes of application of aromatherapy include:
- Aerial diffusion: for environmental fragrancing or aerial disinfection
- Direct inhalation: for respiratory disinfection, decongestant, expectoration as well as psychological effects
- Topical applications: for general massage, baths, compresses, therapeutic skin care
Some of the materials employed include:
- Essential oils: fragrant oils extracted from plants chiefly through steam distillation (e.g., eucalyptus oil) or expression (grapefruit oil). However, the term is also occasionally used to describe fragrant oils extracted from plant material by any solvent extraction. This material includes incense reed diffusers.
- Absolutes: fragrant oils extracted primarily from flowers or delicate plant tissues through solvent or supercritical fluid extraction (e.g., rose absolute). The term is also used to describe oils extracted from fragrant butters, concretes, and enfleurage pommades using ethanol.
- Carrier oils: typically oily plant base triacylglycerides that dilute essential oils for use on the skin (e.g., sweet almond oil).
- Herbal distillates or hydrosols: the aqueous by-products of the distillation process (e.g., rosewater). Common herbal distillates are chamomile, rose, and lemon balm.
- Infusions: aqueous extracts of various plant material (e.g., infusion of chamomile).
- Phytoncides: various volatile organic compounds from plants that kill microbes.Many terpene-based fragrant oils and sulfuric compounds from plants in the genus “Allium” are phytoncides, though the latter are likely less commonly used in aromatherapy due to their disagreeable odors.
- Aroma lamp or diffuser: an electric or candle-fueled device which volatilizes essential oils, usually mixed with water.
- Vaporizer: typically higher oil content plant-based materials dried, crushed, and heated to extract and inhale the aromatic oil vapors in a direct inhalation modality.
For more inforemation: you can go to my library on different kind or oils