History of Aromatherapy
Some scholars believe that the history of aromatherapy dates back to 40,000 years, although the aromatherapy will be unrecognizable in today’s modern society. Egyptologists credit ancient Egyptians for using plant oils in healing between four and six thousand years ago. They used these plant oils for medicinal and cosmetic purposes, including bathing, perfuming, healing and embalming.
The history of aromatherapy also documents its use in cleansing and cosmetic make up. Rome was the first large civilization to understand the importance of regular bathing and as such they brought the use of bathing oils to the masses. Much later, during the Middle Ages, the returning crusaders and the flourishing of trade routes brought the use of oils and perfumes to Europe. During the plague in Europe in the middle ages, the health benefits of essentials became part of the history of aromatherapy as there effects on healing and the immune system were first seen. It wasn’t until the 19th century that scientists of Europe began investigating the healing properties of oils.
The term aromatherapy has been credited to Rene Maurice Gattefosse who, in his book, wrote about the anti-bacterial affects of essential oils. However, it wasn’t until a French Biochemist Madame Margaret Maury came up with massages using the essential oils of plants as a healing practice did the history of aromatherapy become realized.
Listed below are some of the uses for essential oils:
This is the most effective method of using the oils that combines all essential properties with the therapeutic power of touch and feeling. The oils should never be used undiluted, but should be diluted with an odourless carrier oil such as grape seed oil, sweet almond oil or peach. A dilution of 3% essential oil with carrier oil is the recommended level. This is approximately one drop essential oil to two millilitres of carrier oil. Essential oils are needed in very minute quantities. The skin is the largest surface part of the body and is assigned to keep out contaminants from the skin layers.
Soothing Bath Soak
Using oils in baths is a simple, effective and pleasant exercise to relax and receive the therapeutic and soothing effects. It is well known that water itself has therapeutic value, which further enhances the powers of the oils. For daily use, add 10 drops of essential oil or a blend to the water and then bathe yourself for some time, while you deeply inhale the superior vapor. Please be careful when bathing with children on the amount of essential oil you place in the bath.
Recipe for a Relaxing and Calming Bath:
2 drops Lavender 2 drops Bergamot 2 drops Cedarwood.
Place a few drops of essential oil into a bowl of very warm water. Lean over the bowl (approximately 8 inches from the water, or choose a comfortable distance for you), and drape a towel over your head. Inhale the steam deeply for 5-10 minutes, (again, the length of time should be determined by your comfort level), remove the towel from your head, and blot the moisture from your face. Hint: Once you are finished, leaving the bowl and its contents out in the open will continue to release the healing steam and aromas into the air, so don’t be so quick to dump it down the sink!
Recipe for Cold & Flu using Steam Inhalation:
Diffusers can be used to make oils diffuse slowly in your home. They are a good way of getting all the benefits of essential oils while you are relaxing at home. The essential oils can be burned in an oil burner or by an electric diffusers.
Storing Essential Oils
Because essential oils are affected by sunlight and higher temperatures, they should be stored in dark glass bottles, with tight stopper caps. Cap should be secured properly and the bottle stored in an upright position. Maintain a uniform temperature and moisture. Never allow these oils to come in contact with children. Never store essential oils in plastic bottles. Good Essential oils have a shelf life of several years if properly stored, while the oils derived from citrus fruits will not last long. Patchouli is rare kind oil which actually gets better as it ages.
Mixing Essential Oils
Blending different essential oils and carrier oils in various proportions can yield you some fabulous products. You should have right knowledge and a will to experiment various combinations. It is suggested that you use good quality essential oils and always leave the dropper in the bottle it makes it easy to measure the actual number of drops easily. get unstable too quickly. Use a different dropper for different oil to avoid cross contamination. Never mix oils that you do not know the properties or the effects that they can do