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  With origins dating back 5000 years, Aromatherapy is truly one of the oldest methods of holistic healing.
 
In the Beginning:

Ancient man was dependent on his surroundings for everything from food, to shelter and clothing. Being so keenly aware of everything around him, and how it could be used for survival, he quickly discovered methods to preserve food and treat ailments through herbs and aromatics.

Aromatherapy, as it is practiced today, began with the Egyptians, who used the method of infusion to extract the oils from aromatic plants which were used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes as well as embalming.

At a similar time, ancient Chinese civilizations were also using some form of aromatics. Shen Nung's herbal book (dating back to approximately 2700 BC) contains detailed information on over 300 plants and their uses.

Similarly, the Chinese used aromatics in religious ceremonies, by burning woods and incense to show respect to their Gods - a tradition which is still practiced today. The use of aromatics in China was linked to other ancient therapies such as massage and acupressure.

Aromatherapy has also been used for many centuries in India. Ayurveda, the traditional medical system of India, uses dried and fresh herbs, as well as aromatic massage as important aspects of treatment.

The Greeks acquired most of their medical knowledge from the Egyptians and used it to further their own discoveries. They found that the fragrance of some flowers was stimulating while others had relaxing properties. The use of olive oil as the base oil absorbed the aroma from the herbs or flowers and the perfumed oil was then used for both cosmetic and medicinal purposes.

The Romans learned from the Greeks and became well known for scented baths followed by massage with aromatic oils. The popularity of aromatics led to the establishment of trade routes which allowed the Romans to import "exotic" oils and spices from distant lands such as India and Arabia.

With the decline of the Roman Empire, the use of aromatics faded and the knowledge of their use was virtually lost in Europe during the dark ages.

 

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The information provided on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Should you have any serious health concerns, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering any natural remedy.