Simone Gabbanini – Prof. Luca Valgimigli
What is aromatherapy or aromotherapy?
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts, mainly essential oils, to improve psycho-physical health and well-being.
Humans have been using aromatherapy (without calling it that way) for thousands of years: the ancient Egyptians, as well as other peoples, incorporated aromatic plant components into resins, balms and oils to be used for medical and religious purposes, and this contributed, in the collective imagination, to associate essential oils with mysterious or magical substances.
But now we have a lot of scientific evidence on the anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial and other effects of these substances and of their individual components.
When was the term “aromatherapy” born? Who was it invented by?
It was only at the beginning of the twentieth century that the word “aromatherapy” was coined by the French chemist and perfumer René-Maurice Gattefossé.
The anecdote tells that he accidentally burned his hand following an explosion in the laboratory, and used lavender essential oil to soothe the pain and promote wound healing.
This experience led him to study the possibility of using essential oils for therapeutic purposes. His book “Gattefossé’s Aromatherapy” published in 1937 is perhaps the first book on aromatherapy published by a scientist in which the use of essential oils in the treatment of pathologies is discussed.
The main impetus for the development of aromatherapy, however, is due to the French doctor Jean Valnet, who, starting from the writings of Gattefossé, deepened his knowledge and raised aromatherapy to the status of a true medical therapy.
Part of his research was already published in 1964 in the book “L’Aromatherapie”, but many other studies have followed up to the present day.
How does aromatherapy work?
Inhalation and topical application, i.e. local to the skin, of essential oils are the main methods used in aromatherapy, as they exploit the property of essential oils to penetrate the surface of human skin.
Once the skin barrier has been overcome, the components of essential oils propagate by diffusion in the extracellular liquids, to reach the bloodstream from which they reach the tissues and different organs, where they can carry out their action, as demonstrated in recent studies. The inhalation of essential oils has an even faster action, thanks to their volatility and the ability to be absorbed through the respiratory tract.
Each essential oil has a number of unique healing properties, uses and effects. Often combinations of essential oils are used to create a synergistic blend with greater beneficial effects.
Is there any scientific confirmation on the effectiveness of aromatherapy?
Clinical studies have demonstrated the influence of essential oils on physiological parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and serum cortisol levels. Even more interesting is the variation in the composition of the brain waves with concomitant psychological and emotional effects, following the inhalation of essential oils.
Although there is mounting evidence of measurable effects of essential oils on animal brains, more clinical research is needed to validate their influence on the human central nervous system.
This will enable the development of essential oil-based drugs to treat mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and dementia. For the moment, the experimental evidence has given good results in the use of aromatherapy to manage pain syndromes, improve sleep quality, reduce stress, agitation and anxiety, soothe joint pain, treat sore head and migraine, fight bacteria, viruses or fungi, improve digestion, strengthen the immune system.
Regarding the action of essential oils through the skin, the numerous studies carried out in the BeC laboratories in collaboration with the University of Bologna have led to international publications of high scientific impact, concerning the percutaneous absorption of essential oils and their action as carriers for other cosmetic active ingredients.
BeC’s many years of experience in the use of essential oils has led to the development of a mouth spray, FreeGola®, with a balsamic, decongestant, protective and stimulating effect on the immune system.
More recently, knowledge has been channeled into the creation of an aromatherapy product by choice, namely the essential oil candle. The diffusion of essences favored by the heat of the fire represents in fact the oldest and most used holistic tool in history.
The Ritual candle from BeC’s Terra biocare® line is a 100% natural product, made with soy and coconut wax, and with a wooden wick that burns with a natural crackle, creating a warm fireplace atmosphere.
The fragrance was created in the BeC laboratories using only natural essential oils: a Helichrysum accord with citrus notes, harmonized by a hint of sage and a floral and balsamic embrace. The packaging is made with natural recyclable materials and water-based paints.
Today it is available within two paths: Ritual Face and Ritual Body.
What are the aromatherapy effects of the Ritual candle?
It is an ideal product for aromatherapy.
The natural fragrance was specially created to promote relaxation, meditation and balance with its own source, creating the optimal conditions for a holistic treatment.
It is said that the scent of Helichrysum stimulates the intuitive part of our brain, promoting meditation, creativity and personal growth, while the citrus notes favor concentration and mental clarity harmonized by the aromatic and floral notes to stimulate sensitivity and self-awareness.