History of Aromatherapy
For 1000’s of years the healing powers of plants have been used. Famously the Egyptians used myrrh as an antiseptic and Cleopatra is said to have harnessed the power of rose oil to blind Marc Anthony with her charm! (Powerful stuff). In the early part of the 20th Century the healing powers of lavender were rediscovered by Gattefosse – a French scientist who self-treated a burn whilst working in his laboratory. He subsequently gave the study of oils in therapeutic use the name Aromatherapie. Many years later, in 1977, the first Aromatherapy book was published in English by Robert B Tisserand ‘The Art of Aromatherapy’.
Today, Aromatherapy and the use of essential oils still plays an important part in our lives. You only have to browse the supermarket shelves and see ‘aromatherapy’ used as a description for fragrances in household cleaning products and cosmetics, but do not confuse this with their therapeutic uses. Essential oils have a wide use, in healing insect bites, easing aches and pains, skin preparations; in conjunction with massage oils are a wonderful way to ease stress – both physical and emotional.
In the modern world, we are all experiencing the effects of stress. Whether that means we are suffering with stiff shoulders from sitting at a computer screen all day, picking up coughs, colds and general feeling run down or dealing with the effects of high blood pressure, stomach problems and alike. Stress plays an ever-increasing role in determining the state of our health. One of the most commonly used phrases you will hear is ‘there’s never enough time’ or ‘I need more time for myself/my family/ to relax/ to sleep’. Increasingly we are trying to find ways to relax amidst our hectic and demanding lifestyles. Some of us turn to the easy alternatives of alcohol, smoking, overeating – but there is a more satisfying, natural alternative.
A recent study in America has suggested that lavender reduces the need for pain relief immediately following gastric band surgery. When tested – by applying lavender oil or unscented baby oil to the oxygen mask – 82% of patients using the baby oil required post-op pain relief, whilst only 46% of the lavender group needed the same level of relief.