The Fascinating History Of Essential Oils
In the 1920’s a French chemist, Rene Maurice Gattefosse, coined the term “aromatherapy.”
Gattefosse suffered a serious burn to his arm, while working to refine a new perfume. He turned to the nearest cool liquid available to relieve his pain, which was a vat of lavender oil. Reportedly the chemist was rewarded with immediate relief and a speedy recovery without scarring. Occurring to Gattefosse, essential oils are not only useful in perfumery, but also as a healing agent. In 1937, Gattfosse referred to this emerging therapeutic field as “aromatherapie” in recognition of the antiviral, antiseptic, bactericidal and anti-inflammatory properties of essential oils.
Essential oils are the nerve/intelligence fluids of plants, being complex, volatile substances containing plant hormones, nutrients and thousands of other bio-chemicals that scientists haven’t documented yet. When smelling or applying essentials oil to the skin, they are absorbed and carried through the bloodstream to their intended target.
Essential oils have a balancing effect on the body, mind and emotions.
Having a wide range of healing properties, pure essential oils are used with ease and convenience by all.
The natural plant fluid oil offers gentle alternatives to the dangers of “synthetic drugs.” This aspect can be particularly beneficial for the chemically sensitive. You don’t have to be in therapy to use essential oils. That’s why “aromatherapy” is a misleading term creating “experts” having you believe that essential oils are a mystery that can only be understood with years of experience and specialized training. This is how many aromatherapists are justified. Neither, essential oils, nor their uses were invented by Gatlefosse.
Plant derived aromatic massage oils and salves were used by the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Arabic and Chinese enhancing mental, emotional and physical health. The father of Western medicine, Hippocrates, believed that “The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and massage every day.”
The 3,000 year old traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) regarded aromatic massage and baths as an important component of its healing. Spas today incorporate the benefits of essential oils in a form of massage known as “aromassage.” Even though a massage is relaxing and helps increase circulation and eliminates impurities, combining with deep massage the relaxing aromatic properties of essential oils, may influence your physical health and emotional outlook. Never having this type of massage you’re in for a feely, smelly treat, grab a towel and a partner and enjoy!
Remember Not All Oils are Created Equally! Making sure that the essential oils you are using are pure, botanically based and not synthetic fragrance oils is the first rule. Essential oils vary in price, depending on the type of plant they are extracted from and the manufacturing. In other words, if the price of the essential oil is low, your best bet is to assume that the product is also.
Also needed is a “carrier” or “messenger,” oil to add to, or blend your essential oils. These can be irritating when applied directly to the skin. Quality messenger oils such as jojoba, sweet almond, grape seed, apricot kernel, or peach kernel should be used. While oils such as vegetable or olive are sometimes recommended, I personally find that these tend to “cling” to skin rather than be neatly absorbed. The best ratio for mixing a massage oil blend is three to five drops of essential oil per each tablespoon of carrier oil.
Your personal preferences and needs should be complemented by your selection of essential oils. For instance, if you feel a need to de- stress, lavender or peppermint are good choices. If you’ve been lacking energy and need to refocus, lemon should be your choice. Remember, though, it is personal choice.