Although it may sound like witchcraft, aromatherapy is an efficient therapeutic treatment based on the use of natural oils and essences extracted from plants, flowers, herbs or trees. The aim is to improve health and general wellbeing, relieve some conditions and contribute positively to mood.
Although it has become more popular in recent years, its use goes back to ancient times, when it was used to eliminate viruses and bacteria which caused illnesses and, at the same time, to disinfect people's homes.
Aromatherapy as we know it today originated in France. The term was adopted in 1928 by M. Gattefossé, who is considered the father of this treatment. This French chemist experimented with different species, discovering the properties and therapeutic actions that each could have on illnesses.
The so-called scientific aromatherapy and aromatherapeutic medicine began about 15 years ago, with research carried out by a group of pharmacists and biologists who considered essential oils to be combinations of different molecules with their own properties.
Studied from a chemical or pharmaceutical point of view, aromatherapeutic medicine is quite recent, but there are many experts all around the world. In fact, in countries such as the UK and France it has been incorporated into official medical services.
The oils can be applied through inhalation - the basic method in aromatherapy - or aromatic baths; as poultices, in internal use - only in certain cases and with certain oils - and in therapeutic massages.
In this sense, according to an international study, the use of essential oils through aromatherapy and professional massage considerably help to improve night-time rest.
It has also been demonstrated that the sense of smell is directly connected with the part of the brain where the memory and emotions are centred.
In this way, the fragrances encourage the segregation of endorphins, which are responsible for awakening certain states of mind and help to relieve physical and psychological problems.