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Back to Aromatherapy

Benefits of Aromatherapy

The term ‘Aromatherapy’ was first used in the 1920’s, but the knowledge of how to extract and apply essential oils is a very ancient art. Aromatic plants and oils have been used for thousands of years as perfumes, incense and cosmetics as well as for their medicinal and culinary applications. The ancient Egyptian, Persian, Indian, Chinese and Arab cultures made use of many aromatic oils, as did the early Greek and Roman civilisations.

At one time in Europe, many houses had their own still-room... even small cottages and farms had fragrant herbs hanging from their rafters, and shelves were lined with rows of aromatics contained in pots for scenting linen, sweet bags and clothes. The herbs and oils were of course also employed as household remedies and used to maintain a fragrant and hygienic environment. But like the old custom of using herbal ‘simples’ as remedies for common complaints, the practise of using aromatics at home simply for well-being and pleasure became a largely neglected tradition.

Nowadays, the benefits of essential oils and other natural products is being re-assessed and re-evaluated. Introducing aromatics back into the home is proving to be a healthy and enjoyable substitute for the many synthetic fragrances with which we are surrounded, and a valuable alternative to certain commonly used drugs. Current research confirms increasingly the value of many traditional remedies: for example, the bactericidal, anti-septic, fungicidal and healing qualities of tea tree have been shown through scientific research to be even more effective than many of its synthetic substitutes.

In a survey carried out at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, UK, patients in an intensive care unit were divided into three groups and given either:

  • 1. a period of rest
  • 2. a foot massage or
  • 3. a foot massage using lavender oil.

The outcome of this experiment showed conclusively that those patients in the third group who had an aromatherapy massage, experienced the greatest decrease in heart rate, blood pressure and pain levels together with an increased feeling of well being.