What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy (Essential Oil therapy) can be defined as the art and science of using naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize, and promote the health of body, mind, and spirit. It seeks to unify physiological, psychological, and spiritual processes to enhance an individual’s innate healing process. 

French perfumer & chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, coined the term “aromatherapie” in 1937 in his book “Gattefosse’s Aromatherapy” which contains early clinical findings for utilizing essential oils for a range of physiological ailments. It seems vital to understand what Gattefosses’s intention for coining the word was, as he meant to distinguish the medicinal application of essential oils from their perfumery applications.

We can interpret his use of “Aromatherapie” to mean the therapeutic application or the medicinal use of aromatic substances (essential oils) for holistic healing. As aromatherapy has progressed, it's adopted a more holistic approach encompassing the whole body, mind, and spirit (energy).

“Aromatherapy is a caring, hands-on therapy which seeks to induce relaxation, to increase energy, to reduce the effects of stress, and to restore lost balance to mind, body, and soul.” -Robert Tisserand

“Aromatherapy can be defined as the controlled use of essential oils to maintain and protect physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being.” -Gabriel Mojay

René-Maurice Gattefossé 
Photo credit to RMG © Gattefossé
Archives Gattefossé (Wikipedia)