In the last 80 years essential oils have made a comeback from century old uses. The English, French , Germans and Americans have taken center stage in the essential oil industry.
The attitudes of the British in the 1980 emerged on the scene suddenly. They published much about the use of essential oils, and also what oils to avoid, but had little actual insight and much critical authority. They aligned themselves with the big perfume houses in Europe. Their model emerged as a final authority which says they believe in putting a small amount of essential oil in a large amount of vegetable oil (diluted) to massage the body for the purpose of relaxation and relieving stress. It should be understood that essential oils are highly controlled in the UK which would account somewhat for the way in which they believe essential oils should be applied.
Rich traditions of oil extraction have long been a part of southern France. Fragrant plants were processed in the region as early as the eleventh century to improve the odor of leather produced in the local tanneries.
“There is a straight line from fragrancing leather to the Renaissance courts to the glorious age of Grasse as the perfume capital of the world. One must assume that the medicinal qualities of the local flora, including the perfume plants, were more or less known to the population throughout that time.
Then- beginning in the second half of the nineteenth century-these qualities were described in the language of modern science and chemistry. It is most fascinating to scan the references in Gattefosse’s original book, published in 1937. “1
The original French-style aromatherapy focused on the treatment of infections. It was different because they were using natural essential oils instead of antibiotics, and sulfronamides. So it became a medical system to treat disease with essential oils. This science ended with the great work of Robert Tisserand’s book The Art of Aromatherapy.
To put this more succinctly, the French model of usage prescribes neat (undiluted) topical application of therapeutic-grade essential oils and/or the ingestion of pure essential oils. Typically a few drops of an essential are added to agave nectar, honey, a small amount of vegetable oil, or put on a piece of bread. They found that taking the oils internally yielded great benefits.
The German had a more esoteric view of oils and they focused on inhalation- the true aromatherapy as the word suggests.
Aromatherapy in the United States
There are organizations and many aroma therapists in the United States that promote the elements of the British model for the limited use of essential oils. D. Gary Young ND, has adopted the French model and brought a new awakening to essential oils in the United States. Gary Young is the foremost authority in the world on essential oil distillation. Because he distills essential oils with no adulterants he has coined the phrase “therapeutic” meaning his oils have no additives, are not processed with chemicals and are 100% pure. His oils are always distilled with his proven distillation methods to insure that the constituents within the oils are at the most therapeutic level and are consistent from batch to batch. Each oil batch that is distilled is tested to insure that it meets with Dr. Young’s requirements for therapeutic value and effectiveness. Any oil batch that does not meet the 100% pure requirement is thrown out. Essential oils are inherently therapeutic based on the constituents within them.
In the last 20 years science world-wide has verified the many therapeutics properties of essential oils. There are libraries and Essential Oil Journals filled with studies to verify the healing qualities of essential oils.
It is significant in the United States that essential oils have received much attention in recent years. There is a movement taking essential oils to a new level regarding application. It is recognized that essential oils can be applied topically, inhaled through various, aromatic methods and ingested for a more accelerated effect in the body. All of these methods have there place in the use of essential oils. D. Gary Young, ND has taken essential oil knowledge and use to another very important level. He has pioneered the uses of essential oils in many nutritional and personal care products. Testing has revealed that the oils in nutritional products greatly increase the effectiveness and bioactivity of the products that the oils are enhanced with.
Other Americans, including Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D. have written much about essential oils. He founded the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy and has, along with Dr. Gary Young’s vision, validated the mission to promote the knowledge and effectiveness of essential oils in the United States and around the world.
The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils, Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D.