Aromatherapy is a way to improve the quality of life on a physical,
emotional and spiritual level. Aromatherapy is already a part of our
lives, although we may not have associated the name with the
experience. Everyone has emotional responses, both pleasant and
unpleasant, to certain scents. The idea behind aromatherapy is, first,
to find the scents, unique for each individual, that evoke positive
sensory feelings and emotions; and then to introduce those scents into
our everyday life to enhance well-being. Natural scents keep us
connected to the earth, sparking memories and emotions.
Aromatic medicine, the
ancient beginnings of the art of aromatherapy, was recorded in both
Egypt and India more than 4,000 years ago.
The Egyptians used aromatic
plants to create massage oils, medicines, embalming preparations, skin
care products, fragrant perfumes and cosmetics. Plant aromatics were
also utilized in India as part of the ancient medical practice known as
Ayurveda. Many of these practices are still in existence today.
At the beginning of this century, particularly in France and England, a
movement by noted doctors and scholars in the naturopathic and medical
communities prompted a reawakening to the benefits of natural medicine
and aromatherapy. Today in England and the United States, aromatherapy
is a commonly accepted alternative medicine. In France, it is common to
find doctors who practice aromatherapy, pharmacies that sell essential
oils and health insurance companies that reimburse for treatments using
The Practice of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy uses pure essential oils, extracted from many parts of the
plant (flower, leaf, resin, bark, root, twig, seed, berry, rind and
rhizome) to relax, balance and rejuvenate body, mind and spirit.
Aromatherapy is both an art and a science. Aromatherapists, armed with
a technical understanding of an oil’s constituents, artfully blend
essential oils to produce new aromas.
The results of aromatherapy are very individual.
While there is general agreement about the actions of certain oils,
aromatherapy texts vary in their descriptions of the properties and
characteristics of an essential oil. No two persons are affected by the
same essential oil in exactly the same way. Even the same person can be
affected differently by the same oil depending on surroundings, time of
day or mood.
Aura Cacia, used with permission.