Aromatherapy Bristol

HISTORY

It is a common misconception that aromatherapy is a new treatment that has emerged in the last few years. In fact the practice of aromatherapy has been with us for thousands of years. Aromatherapy is an ancient treatment designed to promote health and healing by the correct use of specifically selected essential oils obtained from plants of all kinds.

EGYPTIANS - used oils since 300BC for cosmetic, medicinal and embalming purposes

CHINESE - Emperor kiw-ti published the ‘Yellow Emperors Classic of Internal Medicine’ around 2650BC it was about his discoveries of the properties of certain plants

HEBREWS gained their oil knowledge from their countrymen that had been held prisoners by the Egyptians

GREEKS, In Greece, Hippocrates was studying medicine seriously and findings were being recorded. He believed the human body should be kept in good shape and recommended early forms of physiotherapy using essential oils

ROMANS gained their oil knowledge from the Greeks, during the reign of Julius Caesar perfume became very popular. As the Roman Empire declined, oils were used for dubious practices (aphrodisiacs), this is where we lose sight of them for many centuries!

There were oils noted in the New Testament at the birth of Jesus where the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh were offered. Also in the tale of the good Samaritan an injured traveller was treated using essential oils and wine to bathe the wounds

The coming of Christianity and the fall of the Roman Empire saw a decline in the use of perfumes and aromatics. However the Arabs began to perfect the art of distillation. Around the 10th century AD a gifted physician named Avicenna was credited with discovering distillation and using extracts to treat ailments.

THE EUROPEANS

During the 13th century the art of distillation was being practised in Europe. The first anaesthetic was developed at the Bologna School of Medicine. It was a sponge soaked in essential oils to deaden the patient’s senses

In the 15th and 16th centuries the art of perfume making developed, started by the Italians. England’s Elizabeth 1st had her cloaks and shoes treated with aromatic oils. There were many fragrances available at this time to hide the smell of unwashed bodies or as aphrodisiacs.

MODERN DAY

In the 1920's Rene Maurice Gattefosse (French chemist) burned his hand and plunged it into the nearest cool liquid, which was the essential oil lavender. It healed rapidly and left no scar.

In the 1950’s Dr Jean Valnet (former army surgeon), used essential oils to treat battle wounds/severe burns with great success. The work of both these men formed the basis of classic aromatherapy

Madam Marguerite Maury (Austrian biochemist) developed oils for cosmetic and therapeutic purposes, she taught her knowledge in England and gained renewed interest in the subject. Dr Arnould-Taylor was introduced to Margerite's ideas and hosted seminars on the subject

Essential oils are not actually oils but are plant hormones that are extracted in tiny quantities from the blossoms, leaves, fruits, stems, bark, wood and roots of various plants.

They differ from other oils in that they do not leave oily marks. They evaporate quickly (highly volatile) and are lighter than water. Essential oils are generally colourless, highly inflammable, soluble in oil and alcohol but only slightly in water.

Chemically, essential oils are made up of large numbers of elements including alcohols, esters, hydrocarbons, aldehydes, ketones, phenols, terpenes and acids. Chemists are unable to synthesise essential oils with complete accuracy.

They are antiseptic and antibacterial and can attack bacteria and viruses without damaging body tissues, Carefully selected essential oils used correctly can greatly enhance the effects of a massage treatment, the oils can also be used in many different ways such as;

  • Air freshening
  • Bathing, Showers, Sitz Baths
  • Compresses
  • In facial creams and body lotions
  • Floral waters
  • Foot and hand baths
  • Hair care
  • Jacuzzis , Saunas
  • Massage
  • Steam Inhalations, Vaporization / diffusing

For further information or to purchase an Aromatherapy oil or book a treatment: