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Aromatherapy is a branch of herbal medicine that centers on using fragrantsubstances particularly oily plant extracts to alter mood or improve individualshealth or appearance The alleged benefits of aromatherapy range from stressrelief to enhancement of immunity and the unlocking of emotions from pastexperiences But skeptics cite a lack of credible supportive studies published inreputable scientific or medical journalsAromatherapy is a buzzword used by the cosmetics fragrance andalternative-medicine industries Although the method has ancient rootsproponents did not call it aromatherapy before the 1930s This expressionderives from the French word aromatherapie coined by Rene MauriceGattefosse a chemist whose book of the same name was published in 1928 After a lab explosion Gattefosse conveniently plunged his badly burned hand intoa vat of lavender oil He noticed how well it healed and thus began thedevelopment of modern aromatherapy which French homeopaths Dr and MmeProponents of aromatherapy maintain that the tools of the trade--wood-resindistillates and flower leaf stalk root grass and fruit extracts--containantibiotics antiseptics hormones and vitamins Some proponents havecharacterized essential oils--ie oils that are volatile aromatic andflammable--as the soul or spirit of plants Indeed one of the aromatherapyspremises is that essential oils have a spiritual dimension and can restorebalance and harmony to ones body and to ones life One of its principlesthe doctrine of signatures holds that a plants visible and olfactorycharacteristics reveal its secret qualities For example because theconfiguration of the violet suggests shyness proponents hold that the scent ofviolets engenders calmness and modestyAromatherapy en-compasses topical applications of essential oils bathing inwater to which essential oils have been added sniffing essential oils and eveningesting them Products marketed under the aromatherapy umbrella arelegion including shaving gels aftershaves facial cleansers bath salts bathsoaps shower gels shampoos hair conditioners body masks moisturizerssunscreen preparations lipsticks deodorants candles lamps diffusers potterymassage oils massage devices and jewelrythe most common aromatherapy field is aesthetic the sense of well-beingderived from enjoying perfumes scented candles baths and other fragrancesstated Jane Buckle RNMA who claims the worlds first
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