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Health & Well-being

Aromatherapy

History

Aromatherapy had been around for 6,000 years or more. The Greeks, Romans, and ancient Egyptians all used aromatherapy oils. The Egyptian physician Imhotep recommended fragrant oils for bathing, massage, and for embalming their dead nearly 6,000 years ago. Imhotep is the Egyptian god of medicine and healing. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used aromatherapy baths and scented massage. He used aromatic fumigations to rid Athens of the plague.

Aromatherapy has roots in antiquity with the use of aromatic oils. However, as currently defined, aromatherapy involves the use of distilled plant volatiles, a twentieth century innovation. The word "aromatherapy" was first used in the 1920s by French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé, who devoted his life to researching the healing properties of essential oils after an accident in his perfume laboratory. Jean Valnet continued the work of Gattefossé, he used essential oils to treat gangrene in wounded soldiers.

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