Aromatherapy is the controlled and informed use of pure essential oils to maintain and / or improve the health of the mind, body and spirit.
The history of using plant extracts for health and well being stretches back millenniums (earliest records circa 2000 B. C.) . Egyptians, Greeks, Arabs, Chinese and Indians (Ayuvedic Medicine) all recorded using aromatic extracts for their healing properties. The art of distillation came about in the Middle East during the time of famous Arab physician Avicenna circa 980 A.D. Rose is said to be on of the first oils distilled around this time. In Europe circa 10th century written collections of herbal medicine are recorded. Far more fascinating accounts than I could possibly furnish you with are available in the many many books on the subject.
The term Aromatherapy was coined in France by chemist Renee Gattefosse in the early 1900’s. Aromatherapy continues to grow around the world and today is practiced in a great number of clinical settings.
While many lifestyle products from candles to shower gels claim the term Aromatherapy it is somewhat misleading and erroneous. These household products may incorporate natural fragrances but should not be in any way confused with the serious, effective applications of pure essential oils and their therapeutic actions. Doctors, chemists, scientists and professional practitioners are today involved in the field of Aromatherapy.
For a thorough explanation from the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists