Modern aromatherapy can trace its roots back to ancient Egyptian culture. Aromatic oils were used for beauty and also for embalming!
A Greek scholar Dioscorides between 50 and 70 AD wrote a 5 volume book 'de Materia Medica' (regarding medical materials) which documented the use of many such oils. This book was widely read for 1500 years.
Essential Oils are often obtained by steam distillation of the dried plant material a simple process documented in the 11th century.
These substances could be said to be a fingerprint of the plant which nowadays can be analysed using gas spectrometry.
They smell georgeous.
Examples of some oils used for aromatherapy:
Geranium, Rosemary, Lavender, Melissa(Lemon Balm), Cedarwood, Cypress, Juniper, Frankincense, Myrrh, Vetiver, Lemongrass, Sandlewood, Tea Tree, Sweet Orange, Grapefruit, Ginger, Cardamon.
I usually make a blend of three for my client.
Science has now confirmed that these oils are anti septic, anti viral, anti fungal and anti inflammatory and sometimes all four! Our training goes into great depth with each oil and we learn of the many other benefits that they confer.
For me aromatherapy is not a science, rather an art. To make a blend of oils for the individual and find ways and means to deliver the benefit of the blend requires training and dedication to the process to ensure every treatment is appropriate at that particular time for that particular person.
I am a body worker and like to use massage. The blend is diluted in a base oil such as sweet almond and once on the skin the oils absorb directly into the circulation in minute amounts and also the aroma affects the olfactory system (sense of smell). Through both routes they exert their therapeutic effects and with the relaxation achieved through massage this therapy can be surprisingly effective while being very pleasant.
Some of the conditions aromatherapy is used for include:
Anxiety, stress or insomnia
Muscular aches and pains
Recovering from injuries, convalescing
Menstrual or menopausal problems