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PostSubject: What is Aromatherapy?   What is Aromatherapy? Icon_minitimeThu Jun 09, 2016 3:41 pm

What is Aromatherapy?

What is Aromatherapy? Images12

You can harness the healing and uplifting qualities of plant fragrances to help you relax, unwind and even treat minor ailments. You can discover simply and pleasurably just how beneficial aromatherapy can be by adding a few drops of Lavender essential oil to the next bath that you take. You will notice the difference immediately. As you smell the relaxing fragrance of the oil surrounding you, its peacefulness and tranquility will lift your spirits, promote relaxation and soothe stress as you take in its healing molecules.

Aromatherapy is the art of healing with "essential" oils - distilled essences that have been extracted from plants. These can be used in massage and inhalation techniques, added to bathroom products such as soap, skin crems, bath gel and shampoo, and also used to create room fragrances. Aromatherapy also involves the use of incense, in loose, powdered form or as joss sticks, pot pourri, steam inhalations, scented candles and fresh flowers. All the methods used though, raise your mood, treat ailments, and improve your sense of well being.

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.

Some of the materials employed in Aromatherapy include:

Essential oils: Fragrant oils extracted from plants chiefly through steam distillation (e.g., eucalyptus oil) or expres​sion(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). There are many herbs that make herbal distillates and they have culinary uses, medicinal uses and skin care uses. Common herbal distillates are chamomile, rose, and lemon balm.

Infusions: Aqueous extracts of various plant material (e.g., infusion of chamomile).

Vaporizer (Volatized) raw herbs:
Typically higher oil content plant based materials dried, crushed, and heated to extract and inhale the aromatic oil vapors in a direct inhalation modality.

We learn more about each use as we progress through the study.

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