Have you noticed how children smell everything? It is such a basic instinct. We are attracted to our partners by smell and a baby can identify its mother by smell. Our sense of smell can help us identify whether or not we should eat something. This, the most under valued of our five senses, both lures and protects us.
The fragrant substances from plants known as Essential Oils can entice us to use them by their outrageous variety of aromas. In using them they can produce a startling array of effects. They can enhance mood, sedate or relax. Work as an antiseptic or insect repellent. Soothe and smooth, cleanse and refresh, promote deep breathing and concentration or simply pamper. You can harness the properties of essential oils easily and effectively in your day to day life to promote health and well being.
So why is Aromatherapy so appealing? There are many reasons.
1. It is singularly the most luxurious and pleasurable alternative therapy.
2. It is incredibly effective.
3. It is thousands of years old and there is now a great desire to embrace ancient arts.
4. Disillusionment with some mainstream drugs and their side effects.
5. Desire to take control of our lives and create our own good health.
6. It is a therapy that can be integrated into anyone's lifestyle very easily.
When you smell a tangerine you immediately think of Christmas? Smell a rose and you probably think of a warm summer's garden. Eucalyptus and you just know it will help clear your blocked nose!
Our ancestors the cave men most likely noted the effects from different leaves and twigs as they burned them on their fires. Some will have made them feel sleepy while others will have invigorated them. Essential oils have been found in ancient tombs and pyramids. Botany formed the basis of all pharmacology and plants have been used since the beginning of time for medicinal purposes.
The growth of modern medicine produced a turn away from natural remedies as they appeared to be obsolete in the presence of these new wonder drugs. What was once handed down as general knowledge in how to attend to basic ailments with readily available natural substances was cast aside by fast acting medicines and almost forgotten.
Then in 1937 a scientist named Rene Gattefosse badly burned his hand one day in his laboratory. In agony he plunged it into the nearest available liquid. Scary when you think what that might have been, but lucky for him it was pure lavender oil! His hand healed so quickly that he documented the effect of lavender oil on burns and went on to study the effects of many other essential oils on various conditions , coining the term Aromatherapy in the books he wrote.
During the second world war an army surgeon named Valnet researched and used Essential Oils because of the shortage of drugs available at the time. Some of these oils were more effective than the drugs they were replacing! Growers of the essential oil Tea Tree were exempt from the call up in Australia as this oil was standard issue in their soldier's kit bags.
It is Magaret Mauray though who is responsible for aromatherapy as we know it today. She blended oils together to create individual remedies tailored to specific needs and used them to massage the body. A concept that had not really been used for thousands of years. This personalised blending enhances the fact that the possibilities of Aromatherapy are limitless.