The definition of aromatherapy reads:
The use of volatile plant oils, including essential
oils, for psychological and physical well being (http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Spa/4278/findex.html).
While each researcher, advertiser, or practitioner may submit a different definition of what
aromatherapy is, all definitions focus on plant oils (namely essential oils) and their use in
improving both the psychological and physical self.
Many may classify aromatherapy as a type of alternative treatment or a division of
holistic medicine. While others believe that aromatherapy is a proven science used both in
the prevention and treatment of disease. Aromatherapy has actually been practiced since
ancient times. But, the actual date (or time period) when aromatherapy was first
introduced is much disputed. Most experts claim that the ancient Egyptians were the first
to practice aromatherapy.
Ancient Egyptians recognized the physical and spiritual properties of these oils and
used them in their daily lives. Egyptians used oils in their mummification procedures and
over time they became aware of the healing properties of many of these oils. The priests
became "healers" mixing and prescribing medicinal potions. During the fifteenth century
people in Europe began using essential oils to disguise their body odors and to ward off sickness.
chemist Dr. René-Maurice Gattefossé is considered the "father"
modern day aromatherapy. Gattefosse was the first to use the term "aromatherapy" in
1928. The French physician Dr.Jean Valnet was very impressed with Gattefosséís findings
and began using essential oils to treat war injuries during World War II. Marguerite
Maury, an Austrian bio-chemist, studied the rejuvenating powers and cosmetic uses of
essential oils. These three people reintroduced aromatherapy in the twentieth century.
Today, more than a thousand doctors in France use aromatherapy in their practice (Suzieís
Stress Solving Site at (http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/2248/history.html)
It has been said that aromatherapy can be used to cure and/or prevent many
diseases. Some other major uses of aromatherapy are in weight loss, the treatment of
depression, the treatment of most infections, and stress reduction/control. As the amount
of stress that the average American encounters every day increases so do the ways to
combat its effects. Aromatherapy is only one of the many forms of stress reduction that
individuals can explore in the nineties.
Back to Aromatherapy and Stress Reduction Page
Psychology DepartmentThe Health Psychology Home Page is produced and maintained by David Schlundt, PhD.
Vanderbilt Homepage | Introduction to Vanderbilt | Admissions | Colleges & Schools | Research Centers | News & Media Information | People at Vanderbilt | Libraries | Administrative Departments | Medical
|Return to the Health Psychology Home Page|
|Send E-mail comments or questions to Dr. Schlundt|