For thousands of years, aromatherapy, or the burning of essential oils and woods, has been used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. French chemist, Rene Maurice Gattefosse, coined the term “aromatherapy” in 1928 and went on to publish a book about his studies in 1937. So how do Ayurveda and aromatherapy work together to help heal?
In India and China, the practice of aromatherapy is used as a productive method of healing. In India specifically, ayurvedic physicians treated Indian royalty with dried and fresh herbs, floral waters and aromatherapy massage oils. The oils and woods used in aromatherapy are used in different ways — massage, bathing, skin and hair care and scent are the most popular uses of aromatherapy in a therapeutic way.
Ayurveda considers the use of aroma to be an important tool for not only healing but for prevention as well. Many practitioners use it to protect the vital forces, prana, by regulating digestion, the agni, by aiding the metabolism and the ojas, by creating a resistance to diseases. Traditional ayurvedic practices include the fumigation of toxins by burning neem leaves, adding holy basil or rose petals to bathing water and burning incense while meditating. As for essential oils, they can be used in combination or alone. Maharishi Ayurveda mixes different aromas into a synergistic blend that will help to increase potency and balance the effect of the oils in ways they wouldn’t individually.
Aromatherapy has so many useful ways to help the healing process, that no matter your schedule there is always a way to incorporate it into your day. You can do anything from lighting a candle while cooking or bathing, adding oils to your bath to help you relax or even lighting incense while doing chores around your home. A great goal for this New Year could be to find new ways to incorporate aromatherapy into your everyday life. How many of you love using aromatherapy? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments or tweet us — we love to hear from you!