BEAUTY&STYLE Published October18, 2014 By Angela Betsaida Laguipo

Aromatherapy’s Rich History Unveiled

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Aromatherapy
(Photo : commons.wikimedia.org) A method to promote well-being and relaxation

The use of aromatherapy dates back in the ancient times where they used to burn plants and woods. They perhaps discovered that when they burn wood or plants, the scent would fill the air. However, it is hard to pinpoint when exactly aromatherapy was discovered because oils from plants have been used for centuries already. It was stated in ancient history that the burning of wood and plants to produce aroma in the air was done in 7000 to 4000 BC.

In Egypt, it was claimed that they first used aromatherapy in the form of incense.
They burned aromatic woods, plants and herbs to pay due respect and honor to their gods. This is based from their belief that the smoke from the aromatic pieces rise up the sky and their prayers and wishes are carried with them. After many years, dating back to 2650 BC, the history of Egypt is known that they have procedures like embalming and mummifying in lieu of eternity or immortality. It was known that essential oils or volatile oils from plants or trees were used in the process. Egyptians were also popular for the early or primitive perfumery. They were believed to love perfumes or fragrance. In 1859 onwards, their knowledge and use of aromatic were developed into more intensive and comprehensive manners like using it for medicine, cosmetics and fragrances.

It was also claimed that the Chinese used aromatherapy thousands of years back. It was believed that they were the first civilization to use essential oils as incense in order to attain harmony, balance and the yin and yang theory. It was just known that the Egyptians were the first to manufacture perfumes and fragrances because they were able to provide a distillation machine.

The Greeks also took part in the rich history of aromatherapy. In fact, they say that the Greeks learned this from the Egyptians as well. Yet, they claim that their knowledge on aromatics and perfumes were credited from their gods. The Greek personality, Hippocrates, who is known as the "Father of Medicine," once used aromatherapy for fragrance and for its medicinal properties.

Then the Roman Empire came in the picture but they learned a great amount of knowledge from both the Egyptians and the Greek.  They invented perfumeries in order for them to manufacture fragrances and oils for medicinal uses. After that, the use of essential oils and aromatherapy reached other civilizations such as Israel and the whole Mediterranean countries. It then reached Europe where the vast manufacture of these oils from plants took place. The rest is history.

Throughout history, various traditional healers and households used these volatile oils in many uses from medicine, perfumery to cosmetics. During the age of enlightenment, many researchers took part in studies that entail the importance and efficacy of these essential oils both for medicine and relaxation.  At present, people have the knowledge of separating volatile and essential oils from plants to form synthetic chemicals and additives to many things like medicines, soaps, massage oils, and even cosmetics.  The use of essential oils never stopped and ceased because until now, it is being widely used all over the globe.

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