While the term Aromatherapy wasn”t used until modern times, the history of using aromatics to achieve various desired results is well documented over thousands of years.
Evidence suggests the Chinese used some of the first formulated herbal blends, especially for spiritual and emotional effects like peace. There’s no question that by the time Egypt came into power that various aromatics were already valued by religious people and traders alike, and each had a specific quality attributed to them.
Consider the story of Cleopatra who decorated her floor with fresh rose petals and had bowls of rose water in hopes the aroma would further inspire love in Marc Anthony. And even Hippocrates later wrote about aromatic fumigations as having various benefits.
Aroma therapy is a natural way to relax mind and body. Photo by ernestf2002.
Jump from there to the 19th century when the art of perfumery blossomed to great global status. Perhaps that’s why we find the French chemist Rene Gattefosse in 1928 talking about various fragrant oils and their uses in essential form. His book, written in 1937, is considered a classic in this field. For the home crafter there are two ways to approach aromatherapy.
The first is from the books and recipes pre-contrived on the subject that provide foundational insight into the psychology of aromas. However, it should be noted that scent is also a highly subjective and personal thing.
The second approach (and one that’s more fun if you like to tinker) is creating your own blends to which you personally respond most strongly. In either case, the basic safe proportion of essential oil to any base media is two drops of oil to one tsp. of base. If you‚re using this for massage, sweet almond oil is a great choice.
For relaxation, the traditional method recommends lavender, sage, bergamot, jasmine, and rose. On the other hand, for improved outlook and energy try geranium, rosewood, neroli, and bergamot. As an aside, both these two blends seem nearly universally recommended for stress.
If you know of other aroma therapy ideas please leave your comments for others to see!