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What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy, also referred to as Essential Oil therapy, can be defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.  It seeks to unify physiological, psychological and spiritual processes to enhance an individual’s innate healing process.


It was the French perfumer and chemist, Rene- Maurice Gattefosse, who coined the term “aromatherapie” in 1937 with his publication of a book by that name. His book “Gattefosse’s Aromatherapy” contains early clinical findings for utilizing essential oils for a range of physiological ailments. It seems vital to understand what Gattefosse’s intention for coining the word was, as he clearly meant to distinguish the medicinal application of essential oils from their perfumery applications.


So we can interpret his coining of the word “Aromatherapie” to mean the therapeutic application or the medicinal use of aromatic substances (essential oils) for holistic healing. As the practice of aromatherapy has progressed, over the years, it has adopted a more holistic approach encompassing the whole body, mind and spirit (energy).

In Summary:

- Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants (flowers, herbs, or trees) as therapy to improve physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

- Aromatherapy may be used with other complementary treatments as well as with standard treatments to manage symptoms.

- Essential oils are most often used by inhaling them or by applying a diluted form of them to the skin.

- Aromatherapy research with cancer patients has studied the effect of essential oils on anxiety, nausea, vomiting, and other health-related conditions.

- Safety testing on essential oils has found very few side effects. Lavender and tea tree essential oils have been found to have some hormone -like effects.

- Aromatherapy products do not need approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)


Source: 

Aromatherapy and Essential Oils (PDQ®)–Patient Version was originally published by the National Cancer Institute.

National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy

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