AROMATHERAPY

Aromatherapy can be defined as the correct use of essential oilsto promote or improve health, hygiene and well-being. Aromatherapy as used today originated in Europe and has been practiced here since the early 1900s. It is now finding popularity world-wide.

History

The word aromatherapy first appeared in print in 1937 with the publication of a French book called Aromathérapie: Les Hormones Végétales by René-Maurice Gattefossé, a chemist.  In 1910, Gattefossé burned one of his hands very badly in a laboratory explosion. The hand developed a serious infection known as gas gangrene, which he intentionally, and successfully, treated with lavender oil. This incident helped greatly to fire Gattefossé’s interest in aromatherapy, though it was not the “lucky accident” that is sometimes recounted by others. In his book, he refers to “The numerous papers, theses and observations made on this subject [aromatherapy] by the large number of scientists interested since 1907, when our work on the subject commenced..” A French surgeon, Jean Valnet, further pioneered the medicinal uses of essential oils, which he used as antiseptics in the treatment of wounded soldiers during World War II.

However, although the word aromatherapy was not coined until the 20th century, the medicinal use of essential oils and aromatic plants is very much older.

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