The Benefits of Aromatherapy

What are Essential Oils?

Put simply essential oils are oils distilled or cold pressed from plants, shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes and seeds. They are considered to be therapeutic in that they help transport nutrients to the cells of our body.

Essential oils have many properties including cytophylactic (cell regeneration), antiseptic, wound healing, anti-fungal and anti-inflammative. This makes them ideal for natural skin care when applied through massage or via the application of creams and oils, thereby aiding well being.

How do Essential Oils work?

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The molecules within essential oils are easily absorbed by the skin due to their ability to be readily dissolved in alcohol, emulsifiers and fats. As these oils evaporate into the air they are also carried to the nose and inhaled. This sends sensory messages to the brain so an aromatherapy treatment is able to enhance both the physical and psychological well-being at the same time. Each oil has its own distinctive chemical composition which dictates its fragrance, color, volatility and the ways in which it affects the body, giving each oil its unique set of beneficial properties.

What are the effects of using Essential Oils?

The body can be affected both directly and indirectly by essential oils. Some oils are known to aid digestion as well as help to treat skin conditions whereas others will stimulate the brain to produce a sense of calm and well-being. Many scents act to uplift the spirit and calm the nervous system. i.e.lavender is calming and sedative with a few drops placed on the pillow aiding sleep whereas basil, rosemary and peppermint are uplifting and stimulating. These precious essential oils heal and enliven body, mind and spirit by enchanting your senses!

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the science and art of using the volatile, non-oily essences of plants in healing.

The History of Aromatherapy

Southampton Uk mail order aromatherapy hand cream face oil shower gel body lotions foot creamAromatherapy can be traced back before 3500 BC, when the use of aromatics was first recorded in human history. In reality, the history of aromatherapy is inexorably linked to the development of aromatic medicine, which in the early days was itself combined with religion, mysticism and magic. This was a time when the ancient Egyptians first burned incense made from aromatic woods, herbs and spices in honour of their gods. Frankincense, myrrh, galbanum, etc were all know to have been used in the process of mummification. As the Egyptian Empire crumbled into decline around 300 BC, Europe and specifically Greece became the heart of empirical medicine, where new methods were steadily evolving into a more scientifically based system of healing. Asclepius and Hippocrates pioneered many treatments icluding the use of baths and massages. The rise of the Roman empire brought the Greek physician Claudius Galen (129-199 AD) to the court of Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Galen had studied medicine from the age of seventeen and began his medical career aged 28 under Roman employ treating the wounds of gladiators with medicinal herbs. This unique experience provided him with the opportunity to study wounds of all kinds, and it is said that not a single gladiator died of battle wounds while under the care of Galen. It was the Persians and Al-Razi (865-925) who next made the most enduring contributions to the knowledge of aromatics and medicine. His most influential work was a medical encyclopedia covering 25 books called 'AI Kitab al Hawi', which was later translated into Latin and other European languages, and known in English as 'The Comprehensive Work'.

During the 13th and 14th centuries in Europe, medicine was almost entirely governed by the Catholic church. They considered illness and disease to be a punishment from God, and the standard form of treatment administered by the priests was prayer, and perhaps a session of blood-letting. for beautiful blends of essential oilsThe term 'aromatherapie' was coined by a French chemist named René-Maurice Gattefossé (1881-1950) who studied the medicinal properties of essential oils for many years whilst working in his families perfumery business. He had the opportunity to personally test his innovative theories when an explosion in his laboratory caused a severe burn to his hand. He plunged his hand into a vessel of pure lavender oil which immediately reduced the swelling and helped accelerate the healing process. Most impressively, he was left with no scar. He was a prolific writer covering many subjects, but it was his passion for researching essential oils that eventually led to the publication in 1937 of his ground-breaking book, 'Aromathérapie: Les Huiles essentielles hormones vegetales'.

A French doctor named Jean Valnet followed the work of Gattefossé, and as a surgical assistant he used essential oils of chamomile, clove, lemon and thyme to treat gangrene and battle wounds. After graduating as a surgeon he continued to use essential oils to treat illnesses, and was the first ever to use them to treat psychiatric conditions.

The work of Valnet and Gattefossé stimulated and influenced Englishman Robert Tisserand, who in 1977 wrote the very first aromatherapy book in English entitled, 'The Art of Aromatherapy'. This book became the inspiration and reference for virtually every future author on the subject for almost two decades. Today we are at last unfolding the final secrets of the Egyptian mysteries, revealing aromatherapy to be one of the finest ways to combat the detrimental effects of stress, restoring the beauty, tranquility and harmony of Nature into the lives of everyone.

The Benefits of Massage

To many people massage is just a luxury, but massage is much more than simply a time to relax. The therapeutic benefits of massage continue to be studied and the proven list of benefits include helping to decrease pain, reducing anxiety and stress, improving suppleness, reducing muscle soreness and stiffness, helping to boost the immune system, lessens depression, relieves back pain, relieves carpal tunnel pain, promotes tissue healing and regeneration, relieves foot pain, relieves migraine pain and lessens their occurrence, promotes good circulation and removes toxins from body tissues.

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