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Aromatherapy

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History and origins (click sub.title to show/hide content)

Aromatherapy has been used for ages and throughout history. What exactly is it? It is the use of essential oils in holistic treatments to help improve our physical and emotional health. The term 'aromatherapy' is coined in the 1920s by French chemist René Maurice Gattefossé, but the concept was already widely practised in many different cultures and civilisations, such as by the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Chinese and the Indians.

The Egyptians

Other cultures

René Maurice Gattefossé

Dr. Jean Valnet

Marguerite Maury

What are essential oils

Essential oils are aromatic, non-greasy plant extracts. Even though they are called 'oils', they are not oily at all! They are volatile and can be extracted from leaves, flowers, roots, fruits and resins. There are 5 main methods of extractiing essential oils from plants - Steam Distillation, Expression, Enfleurage, Solvent Extraction and Maceration. Only steam distillation and expression methods produce pure essential oils.

Some common properties of essential oils are:

aromatic - having distinct smells

volatile - evaporate very fast

photo-senstive - sensitive to light

flammable - must be kept away from heat or naked flames

highly concentrated - usage must be controlled

highly penetrative - easily absorbed into the body

synergetic - can blend with other essential oils, and support each other's effects

non-oily - light and non-greasy

not soluble in water, but soluble in oil and alcohol

antiseptic

anti-viral

Aromatherapy and our body

How do essential oils affect us

General effects of essential oils

Using essential oils - Tips & Precautions

Buying

Storing

Precautions

Blending

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