Aromatherapy can be described as the use of essential oils via baths, massages, or diffusers in order to achieve health benefits. Many today turn to aromatherapy for relieving stress and anxiety, boosting their memory and cognition, or even aiding their immunity. Some essential oils have properties that can also help improve skin conditions, digestion, mood, or headaches.
Even if you think you already know a lot about aromatherapy and essential oils on a broad scale, you’ll still be interested in knowing these five facts about aromatherapy:
1. The use of essential oils dates back over 6,000 years.
While believed to have been started by the Egyptians, the ancient Chinese, Greeks, Indians, and Romans were also known to engage in aromatherapy with their use of plant extracts and essential oils. Even the Christian Bible mentions the use of essential oils via religious ceremonies.
The ancient Egyptians used essential oils and formulations for perfumes and preserving the deceased. Royalty also used essential oils to maintain their beauty. In ancient China, Greece, India, and Rome, aromatics were used alongside medicine. For example, the Greeks used fumigation in Athens to combat the plague. Oils were also used to heal injured Greek soldiers. (See also: 7 Essential Oils You Can Use to Relax)
2. Aromatherapy wasn’t a coined term until the 1920s, and it was an accident.
Although we can’t fully credit French Chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse for discovering aromatherapy, considering our ancient ancestors did first, we can thank him for giving aromatherapy its name in the 1920s.
Gattefosse didn’t understand the power of essential oils until he got burned in his laboratory and then treated his burns with lavender essential oil, realizing that it helped soothe his wounds and speed up the healing process. This mistake Gattefosse made was big in aromatherapy considering it taught us the extent that lavender essential oil, in particular, can be useful.
3. Our sense of smell is tied to our limbic system.
According to the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI), when we smell something, our brain translates that scent into readable information, and then that information transfers to our limbic system. Our limbic system is partially responsible for our emotions, memory, and motivation.
In response of our sense of smell having direct ties with our limbic system, when we engage in aromatherapy, the scents we utilize can certainly alter our emotions, how we learn and memorize, and our level of motivation and energy. Thus, essential oils can have the power to positively influence our behavior.
4. During the Dark Ages, the Catholic Church banned aromatherapy.
Once the Catholic Church banned the use of alternative remedies including aromatherapy, these natural practices had to be practiced in secret for centuries. At the time, the Catholic Church believed that people received illnesses as a punishment from God and that the only way to cure them was through prayer or bleeding.
Today, the Catholic Church has mixed views on the use of aromatherapy. However, some priests claim that using essential oils as a method of healing is fine as long as those following Catholicism aren’t engaging in aromatherapy to practice new age spirituality (i.e., using aromatics to lure spirits).
5. Essential oils are often classified into categories based on their scent.
There are hundreds of different essential oils out there. However, only about 90 of them are commonly used. Some of these include peppermint, lavender, lemon, frankincense, rosemary, and oregano. To make it easier to classify the wide variety of scents, these oils are often broken down into categories: woody, floral, citrus, mint, spicy, earthy, or herbaceous.
If you’re interested in giving aromatherapy ago, check out AromaTech Scent Diffusers to learn about modern diffusers and how they work.
Even after its use for thousands of years, aromatherapy is still relevant today, and if anything, is currently trendy. This ancient type of healing is deemed safe for many and has been proven to improve mental, emotional, and physical ailments. Being a form of alternative medicine, learning about aromatherapy is important as we have the power to decide how we treat ourselves.
About The Author:
Stacey Smith is a freelance health writer. She is passionate to write about women’s health, dental health, diabetes, endocrinology and nutrition and provide in-depth features on the latest in health news for medical clinics and health magazines.