Traditional Aromatherapy and Modern Aromatherapy
The term Aromatherapy was coined by the French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé (1881-1950) in 1928 after he cured a burn on his hand by placing it in a jar containing 100% pure lavender essential oil. This new word first appeared in print in French in 1937 with the publication of Gattefossé’s book “Aromathérapie: Les Huiles Essentielles, Hormones Végétales” (Aromatherapy: Essential Oils, Plant Hormones). During the Second World War, the term Aromatherapy and the use of aromatics began to develop in modern society, thanks to the work of French surgeon Jean Valnet (1920-1995) who used essential oils to treat wounds and burns, and later in the treatment of psychological disorders.
Aromatherapy: Its origins
Aromatherapy, when used to refer to the international discipline that uses aromatic plants and essential oils, as well as promoting living in harmony with nature, is therefore a relatively modern concept. This holistic practice acts on our physical, mental and spiritual processes through the use of aromatic substances, which represent the most highly evolved parts of the plant world – the soul of the plant, its personality. Essential oils are formed of odour molecules, they are simple matter, but extremely purified and refined – they become the information that travels between the material world and the soul.
Holistic Aromatherapy and Modern Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is an integral part of a new harmonious vision of the world, where it is essential that we rediscover a connection with nature and rebuild positive energy. It is primarily in relation to energy where essential oils and Modern Aromatherapy play a new, developing role: they act on the ether body and research has shown that plants, particularly flowers and trees, have a very similar aura to that produced by the human ether body. The imperceptible etheric essence of flowers and plants comes into contact with energetic human bodies through the chakras, then releases the healing, harmonious energies. Aromatic medicinal herbs have always played a preventive role: they nourish the immune system with incredibly precious molecules which are already present in our DNA memory.
Scent: The magic of transforming a smell into emotion.
Essential oils operate on the olfactory and limbic systems by stimulating several of the human body’s neurovegetative functions:
- Neurovegetative system
- Organs and their functions
Recent research confirms the action of essential oils on the nervous system, where they influence mental functions, mood and emotions in an effective and beneficial way. When we use essential oils, the “perfume” molecules come into contact with the olfactory mucous membrane, home to 10–25 million olfactory cells. These are actually nerve cells which transform the olfactory signal into electrical impulses to the hypothalamus, with input from the amygdala (a nerve structure that is viewed as the home of emotions, memories and moods), in relation to the olfactory stimuli.