The History of Aromatherapy

Natural body oils have been used for centuries

 

According to Massage Magazine, “Aromatic oils and resins have been used for thousands of years by many cultures. They were sometimes burned to keep away evil spirits or for ritual practices, but mostly they were used for their healing effects on the mind and body.”

 

In a brief history of aromatherapy, Eden Botanicals reports, “It is believed that the Egyptians invented the first distillation equipment, albeit rudimentary, and created oils infused with herbs for use in rituals, medicine, cosmetics, and perfumery. Years later Hippocrates (commonly referred to as the ‘Father of Medicine’) studied the effects of essential oils on health, and promoted their use for medicinal benefits.”

 

In A Brief History of Aromatherapy, Massage Magazine fills in the next chapter: “In the Middle Ages, aromatic herbs were used to discourage pests and disease. Sweet-smelling pomanders were carried into disease-ridden, evil-smelling places. An interesting story tells of Frenchmen who robbed the bodies of Black Death victims without contracting the disease. When they were captured, they revealed their secret, which was rubbing their bodies with vinegar in which aromatic plants had been steeped. The recipe contained many herbs used today in aromatherapy.”

 

Scientific research and advances in chemical medicine stole the spotlight away from natural oils during much of the 18th and 19th centuries, but in the 20th century, Eden Botanicals says, “A painful burn experienced by French chemist René-Maurice Gatttefossé gave birth to the word commonly used to describe the use of essential oils today – Aromatherapy. While working in his laboratory, Gatttefossé quenched a bad burn when, out of reflex, he plunged his arm into the nearest liquid, a vat of Lavender oil. He was amazed by how quickly the burn healed, and without scarring. This piqued his interest in essential oils even further, and through his study and definitive writings on the subject, Gatttefossé is now remembered as one of the pioneers of Aromatherapy. In 1937 he published the book, Aromathérapie: Les Huiles essentielles hormones végétales (later translated into English as Gatttefossé’s Aromatherapy), which is still in print today.”

 

Privai is proud to be writing yet another chapter in the use of aromatherapy, this one could be titled the best skin care products for skin and spirit. “Aromatherapy oils have been around since the beginning of time,” Privai co-founder Christina Stratton says.  She and her partner, Ilana Alberico, are both passionate about the efficacy of essential oils. “It’s important to understand that these oils are used in healing processes – whether it is a cut, whether it is a mood or whether it is trying to have a baby. (Ilana used oils when she was trying to conceive and it worked.)”

 

Privai uses aromatic essential oils in all its naturally inspired skin care products, including Aqua Face Gel Masque, Skin Brightening Serum and Phyto Clay Masque, for both the effects they have on the skin and the effects they can have on our mood.  For example, the Anti Aging Oil from Privai features carrot seed oil, ylang ylang and rose. “This proprietary formulation really helps prepare your skin for the day.  It’s going to saturate your skin with vitamins,” Christina says. “As a woman, you also want to have a mood that goes with your skin care regimen. Privai’s Anti Aging Oil evokes that with rose and ylang ylang, it’s going to smell incredible and remind you that you are doing something special for someone special – yourself!  It will also increase your feelings of sensuality and your overall feeling of wellbeing.  That is what aromatherapy can do for you.”