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Aromatherapy An Introduction and Brief History

The term 'aromatherapy' was first coined in 1928 by Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, a French chemist. He is considered to be the man who rediscovered aromatherapy when a bottle of boiling lavender oil spilt over him and the natural properties of the lavender meant that he had almost no scaring from the accident.

Written records can be found from 4000-2000 years BC. The oldest distillation apparatus was found in Pakistan, and is approximately 5000 years old. Hippocrates (460-377 BC) records the use of saffron, thyme, cumin, peppermint and marjoram. The knowledge of these came from the Indian Ayurvedic medicine via the Arabian spice traffic. The literature left by him and his students includes what many people consider the most important principle of modern natural medicine: 'Above all the purpose of a doctor is to awaken the natural healing energy within the body.'

Modern aromatherapy is often associated with massage as the main means of application and the combination of aromatherapy oils with massage can be very beneficial. However "aromatherapy" can be as simple as a few drops of an oil you find relaxing on your pillow at night!