What is Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is all the rage these days. Every so-called 'lifestyle' store and department store has a section that stocks scented candles, bath salts and vials of scented oils claiming that these products have therapeutic value. While a fragrant room or scented bathwater, undoubtedly make a person feel good, like most luxuries in life, these products may not have any therapeutic value that would fall within the definition of aromatherapy. Whatever the product, it is imperative that it contain pure plant essence that has natural, healing properties and not artificial, man-made petroleum based fragrances, which is more often the case. Even if these synthetic oils are chemically similar, they lack the vital 'life force' that makes essential oils so valuable therapeutically. Keep in mind that unless there is a declaration stating that the oils are natural, pure and unadulterated, assume otherwise.
Essential oils are subtle, volatile
liquids that are extracted from plants, shrubs, flowers, trees, bushes,
herbs, spices, woods and fibres, usually by distillation, expression and
solvent extraction. Solvent extraction is only acceptable for aromatherapy
if the solvent used is completely removed after the manufacturing process.
Aromatherapy has been practiced for thousands of years, though it may not have been called by that name in ancient times. You will come across the mention of plant oils in the Bible. The ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians had recognized the medicinal value of essential oils. Cleopatra used them as perfume. Of course, the Indians and the Chinese have also been aware of the therapeutic benefits of essential oils for centuries.
Next: How to use the oils
Next: A Quick Guide to Aromatherapy
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