Aromatherapy is the therapeutic practice of using essential oils extracted from plants, trees, flowers and organic herbs. Commonly categorized under alternative medicine, the practice of aromatherapy has long been observed in places like Asia and the Middle East and is widely known for its healing capacities for both mind and body.
In ancient Greece and Egypt, essential oils were processed through boiling and were extracted to treat ailments like nausea, headache, muscle pain, skin irritations and even loneliness and depression.
Aromatherapy is a term originating from the Greek root-word AROMA, which means distinct scent that is sweet and pleasant in nature. With the use of essential oils, scents from specific plants and herbs are combined to form different concoctions designed for therapeutic healing.
By 1930s, Aromatherapy found its way into Europe and the French cave rise to Modern Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy in Europe and the United Kingdom has been augmented and supported by scientific studies on the antimicrobial and antibacterial effects of these essential oils. With such innovation, essential oils of Modern Aromatherapy so popularized in the UK are composed of at least 50 pharmaceutical components responsible for therapeutic healing and aromatherapy is known to provide effective alternative medicine to numerous physical and psychological ailments.
Among the well-known essential oils in Aromatherapy include Lavender, Eucalyptus and Peppermint.
Lavender is administrated to relieve stress, headaches, skin irritations, insect bites, and burns and is also used to promote sleep and reduce insomnia;
Eucalyptus is common for treatments of colds and coughs and;
Peppermint is widely used for stimulant against nausea and dizziness.
Assimilating into mainstream lifestyle, aromatherapy has been included and can be seen in common folks' day to day living. With modern day upbeat lifestyle and compounded stress, aromatherapy has become a successful key in reducing stress related ailments like insomnia and depression. With the advent of modern aromatherapy, most notably in the UK and Europe, essential oils can now be seen being included in beauty and bathing products.
These essential oils may be administered through soothing massages, warm baths, and calming inhalations and even taken orally. Since these oils are highly concentrated, when being incorporated in massage oils and bathing formulas, they are diluted in vegetable oils or water. These carrier oils may be in the form of jojoba, sweet almond, apricot kernel and / or grapeseed oil. These mixtures are effective in providing therapeutic treatment as these oils are quickly absorbed by the skin and into the blood stream that encures proper blood flow or circulation.
Oils designed for inhalation can be used throughout the home by providing key spaces in the household with special oil burners and salt lamps. When essential oils are inhaled, they stimulate the olfactory system and trigger body and mind responses like relaxation. This works when ourfactory system sends signals to our brain and triggers chemicals to be released. With this, aromatherapy oils may be successfully used to treat loneliness, depression, and stress.
Fragrance oils or perfumes should be treated entirely differently from that of essential oils, as the former provide no therapeutic effects.
Since aromatherapy is considered an effective alternative medicine, it is believed to have a marked effect on both physical and psychological aspects. It is best known for its individualized treatment for a particular condition or even a particular person. Correspondingly, it is always best to practice Aromatherapy under the guidance of a licensed aromatherapist.
During the last 15 to 20 years the popularity of alternative and complementary therapies has increased dramatically here in the UK and in particular the gentle art of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy in the UK has become so popular that effective alternative or complementary therapy, as we refer to it, has taken on a steady stream of advocates. Consequently, holistic healing courses have been offered and license practitioners are evident in many alternative therapy courses.
Having been a qualified Aromatherapist for some time and offering one-to-one treatments to clients, I was being constantly asked how one could learn the art of aromatherapy and be able to carry out a home based business just like mine.
To cut a long story short, my husband and I decided to put together a course that would satisfy the main governing body in the UK for complementary therapies, which was at the time the GCP (The Guild of Complementary Practitioners)
The standards required for accreditation were extremely high in the UK and lengthy on site checks were carried out by the GCP, which we accepted were very necessary to try to eliminate the many unqualified charlatans that were practicing.
Organizations like the GCP and the Aromatherapy Organizations Council (AOC) have been responsible for the formalization of Aromatherapy practice in UK, with the initiation of Statutory Regulation introduced to safeguard the public against false aromatherapy practitioners.
Before we could have our Health & Vitality Lifestyle Training School fully accredited we had to submit our complete course notes and text books to the GCP, which included full course notes covering Aromatherapy, Massage, Essential Oils, Anatomy and Physiology and the general practice of running a successful complementary therapy business.
The courses had to be a minimum number of hours of in-class tuition and home study, plus a minimum number of hours of practical massage and oil blending techniques, spread over 10 months.
I suspect that the requirements in many other countries are much less stringent, but the process has meant that a qualification earned from an accredited UK establishment such as ours is recognized throughout the world and is certainly one worth having as a practitioner.
So I can say without any hesitation that the public can be confident that once they consult with a UK qualified aromatherapist, then that therapist will have to properly trained, qualified and licensed and will follow a strict Code of Ethics that meets an agreed professional standard.
More importantly, Aromatherapy in the UK has gained much importance in general health care over the years. And a steady stream of advocates and practitioners are evidence of its success in complementary therapy and alternative medicine.
The creation of these formalized institutions to oversee that such high standards are met, and the introduction of alternative medicine into mainstream lifestyle will certainly continue to raise aromatherapy to the level it deserves to be in.