Aromatherapy 101: The Power to Heal
For more than 6,000 years, different cultures have relied on the power of aromatherapy. Early Egyptians, Greeks, and Chinese used essential oils for ritual and healing purposes—recognizing that extracting essential oils from medicinal plants had powerful effects on the body. Both the Greeks and the Romans used distillation processes learned from the Ancient Egyptians to systematically obtain essential oils. The Greek Hippocrates, who is regarded as the spiritual father of modern medicine, was a clear advocate of essential oils for medicinal purposes. He prescribed pleasant-smelling incense and hot wraps to cure certain illnesses, and his belief that “our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food” set the stage for the modern belief in the healing power of nature.
Hippocrates used a wide range of medicinal plants to restore health in ancient times, and we now know that scientists have been able to identify and isolate many active chemicals in plant materials from which modern medicine has evolved.
The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) defines aromatherapy as “the therapeutic application or the medicinal use of aromatic substances (essential oils) for holistic healing.” Aromatherapy applications include massage, topical applications, and inhalation, with many essential oils believed to have antiviral, antifungal, insecticidal, and antioxidant properties. Aromatherapy stimulates the emotional part of the brain to create subtle healing benefits for heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress and hormone imbalances.
Today, aromatherapy is regarded as a form of phytotherapy (plant-based healing) and is used around the world. In many countries aromatherapy is part of medical treatment in schools. And as essential oils have become more available to the masses, using aromatherapy to heal has become increasingly popular.
In recent years, professionals have recognized the healing power of essential oils in skincare. Thanks to the ongoing focus on health and wellness and a shift towards a more natural, holistic lifestyle, essential oils are becoming increasingly popular, and many believe facial oil blends featuring essential oils can offer many benefits for skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, and aging skin.
The truth is if you or your skin are suffering from certain conditions, why not look to plant-based oils that people have relied on for thousands of years—the highly-concentrated healing magic that comes in the form of aromatherapy and essential oils.