Evolution of Aromatherapy

The Origin of Aromatherapy

Since the beginning - from the time of the ancient civilisations, the knowledge of the effectiveness and use of aromatic essential oils has handed down from generation to generation, and across different communities. Aromatherapy is a manifestation of humanity's profound wisdom.

As early as 18000 B.C., as attested to in the wall paintings found in French caves, people of the Stone Age era had depicted, in illustrative splendour, their use of aromatherapy for the cure of sickness, fatigue relief or the enhancement of the pleasure of existence.

In ancient Egypt, priests had the knowledge of using aromatic essences in religious rituals, and extracting certain types of aromatic substances for use in medication. Egyptian Pharaohs exchanged essential oils, which could be worth more than gold, for slaves and valuable treasures. The Egyptians also discovered the excellent disinfectant and preservative properties of certain essential oils and resins, and the kinds that best served the use of preservation. Egyptian mummies that have stayed intact for 5,000 years or more aptly demonstrate the effectiveness of these ingredients.

In China, the use of herbs for the treating illnesses has a long history and tradition. From the era of Shen Nong who made medicinal herbal samples to the time of Li Shi Zhen who compiled the "Compendium of Medical Materials", herbal therapy had been a part of life for people of China. In 3000 B.C., the first Chinese medical book "Yellow Emperor's Private Manual" listed in details the curative effects of essential oils.

From around 3,000 B.C., priests who used essential oils in religious rituals and for corpse preservation also understood the beneficial effects of these for the living. In the Bible, essential oils are mentioned 180 times. The depiction that most people are familiar is that when baby Jesus was born, three wise men came, bringing along the essential oil that could strengthen the body's immunity.

In 400B.C., the father of ancient Greek Medicine -- Hippocrates -- recorded in his famous medical treatise the properties of some 300 kinds of essential oils for the maintenance of well being. Ancient Romans used aromatherapy to create a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere in their temples and political buildings. They also used essential oils for massages after bathing.

In 15th Century Europe, aromatic essential oils were used to eliminate body odor and prevent diseases; in the times of the Crusades in the 12th Century, Europeans used essential oils against epidemics, reducing the death toll. With the rise of the modern perfume and cosmetics industry, the use of aromatic essential oils is becoming more and more widespread.

The Development of Aromatherapy

In 1897, a French pharmacist worked with the extracts and blended essential oils that were in fashion among the Europeans. Using an innovative process, botanicool was successfully infused via essential oils with the help of a patented formula catalyst. Together with the world renowned discovery of a burner head made of composite materials, these essential oils were able to diffuse instantaneously and increase its aromatic potency. This development gave rise to a complete series of efficient, safe and effective aromatherapy application.

In 1928, French botanist Rene-Maurine Gatteforril wrote numerous books on healing with aromatic plant essential oils. In these books, he explained the characteristics and application methods of plant essential oils, including examples of effective application of plants essential oils for disinfections, sterilisations, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory uses.

He recounted how he had unwittingly soaked his scalded hand into a container of pure lavender oil, and was surprised to discover immediate pain relief and healing without leaving a scar. He continued experimenting with various essential oils, such as extracts of thyme, clove, chamomile and lemon, and used these on the sick and wounded soldiers in a military hospital. The result of healing was astonishing.

In 1964, Doctor Jean Valnet made further discoveries on the effective properties of essential oils for cell regeneration and sterilisation, and vigorously promoted the use of aromatherapy in the medical field. Before the Second World War, the essential oils of clove, lemon, thyme and chamomile were used as natural disinfectants and sterilisers. They were also used to fumigate hospital wards, and to disinfect surgical and dentistry tools. During the Second World War, the medical arena continued in its use of essential oils, in an attempt to hasten the recovery process from scar marks, healing of burns and treatment of wounds.

Some time later, French biochemist Marguerite Maury expanded this field of research. In her highly influential book "Secrets of Life and Youth", she narrated the various effects of aromatherapy. After years of research and clinical tests, she identified the areas in which aromatic molecules deliver significant therapeutic results. These observations were studied from a scientific perspective and recorded in detail. In addition, aromatherapy was introduced into the cosmetics world, synthesising medicine, health and beauty.

In particular, she noted the influences of essential oils when absorbed by the skin or inhaled in the form of aromatic fumes. Aromatic molecules entering through the respiratory tract cause millions of reactions to happen through the nerves, finally registering themselves in the brain. In this process, they stimulate our senses, excite our mental faculty and restore vitality. As such, we can make use of this beautiful substance to restore our physical well being to a natural and balanced state.

In order to gain greater insight into this thousand-years legacy, Bel'Air has gathered biochemical researchers to engage in scientific techniques of analysis and research into the basic characteristics and applications of essential oils. Various research and development projects have already been launched.

Advancing into the New Era of Bio-technology

From ancient times, based on practical experiences, man has realised the marvellous effects of essential oils on the human body. However, what components do different kinds of essential oils contain? Among the components, which ones are most beneficial to the human body? Under what conditions will they be most effective? The study of the practical curative properties of essential oils, made with the full vigor of modern science, is the paramount mission of the leader of the aromatherapy world -- Bel'Air.

The Global Chairman of Bel'Air, Mr Huang Shu Li, introduced "Aromatherapy" in Asia. He created a new wave of aromatherapy trend and successfully established the aromatherapy brand "Bel' Air". Strictly controlled quality materials are used to supply the market demand. Taking first into consideration the needs of the human body, new essential oils are constantly researched and developed for the market.

With great foresight, Bel'Air has combined medical and bio-technology in aromatherapy applications so as to elevate such applications to the specialised path of body health maintenance and treatments. Bel'Air diligently seeks to validate with science the application of aroma curative properties. All products have certifications from various countries to attest to their safety in use. To achieve the objective of laying deep foundations for the aromatherapy business, Bel'Air has collaborated with the National Yang Ming University in Taiwan, establishing the Bel'Air Bio-tech Research Centre. With this, distinguished experts in the medical and bio-technology fields have been invited to help research and confirm the safety and effectiveness of the use of Bel'Air's essential oils.

The promotion and development of pure essential oils and therapeutic methods have been Bel'Air's achievements in pioneering the trend for health maintenance aromatherapy. To bring aromatherapy applications into the realm of medical and preventive medicine is a goal that Bel'Air diligently aspires to accomplish. The ability to use high-end bio-technology to develop essential oil products with preventive and curative functions for ailments shows that Bel'Air is well ahead in the era of aromatherapy for medical applications and is opening up a new chapter in aromatherapy history.

Nur Syahid, a Natural Aromatherapist, specializes in Bio-Tech Aromatherapy including oxygen therapy, ozone therapy, health aromatherapy.

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