Aromatherapy involves body application and inhalation of essential oils from aromatic plants to relax, rejuvenate, restore or enhance body, mind and spirit. Aromatherapy is a term coined by French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse in the 1920's to describe the practice of using essential oils taken from many parts of the plant including the flower, leaf, resin, bark, root, twig, seed, berry, rind and rhizome. Rene Gattefosse experienced the power of lavender oil to heal a burn he had suffered during a laboratory accident. This stimulated his interest in the subject and lead to further experimentation on this topic. He subsequently formed the term aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is more than just smelling something to make you feel well. Aromatherapy can be defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit. Aromatherapy is derived from two words: aroma meaning smell or fragrance and therapy meaning treatment. It is the art and science that explores the subtle, yet profound effects of essential oils have on our mind spirit and body. It explores the physiological, psychological and spiritual realm of the individual's response to aromatic extracts as well as to observe and enhance the individual's innate healing process. Aromatherapy helps to relax, balance and stimulate the body, mind and spirit. It helps to strengthen the self-healing processes by indirect stimulation of the immune system. The aromas of oils, whether natural or synthetic, are generally themselves are not considered therapeutic. Aromatherapy works both a preventative approach as well as an active treatment during acute and chronic stages of illness. Aromatherapy is an ancient science and art and is probably as old as the
human race. Aromatherapy was used by the most ancient civilizations and is thought to be at least 6000 years old. Essential oils can be used in a wide variety of ways for many different purposes from simple allergy on the feet to the most serious conditions. The essential oils is can be used with varying penetration, ranging from deep and penetrating therapeutic uses to the extreme subtlety of a unique fragrance. Aromatherapy consists of a natural, non-invasive treatment system designed to affect the whole person not just the symptom or disease and to assist the body's natural ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain itself by the correct use of essential oils. It is widely believed that Aromatherapy began in Egypt. It has reference to religious, medicinal and sensual use in many ancient writings. Even though aromatherapy is an ancient science and art it is considered by many to be a timely and modern approach to total well being that is in tune with nature. The chemical properties of the essential oil are thought to give the healing properties of aromatherapy. In aromatherapy interaction between the therapist, patient and essential oils, working together in harmony to bring forth the healing energy which will help the patient to regain their sense of well being and vitality. Ancient writings dating back to 1555 BC shows description of remedies for all types of illnesses and the methods of treatment that are similar to the ones used in aromatherapy and Herbal medicine today. Unlike ancient times, in the modern era many different essential oils been easily obtained. This helps the expert aromatherapists, with intricate knowledge and technical understanding of an oil's constituents to artfully blend essential oils to produce new aromas with new healing properties.