Aromatherapy – the science of oils and their systematic application for human wellbeing - is much more than fragrances and massages. This system of understanding and using essential oils for physical and mental wellbeing existed throughout households in our country. Charlatans have reduced this larger purpose to mere beauty and relaxation.
The way the system was conceived and developed addressed issues at a physical, mental, spiritual and also social level.
- Physical level - most common example is vapour therapy to address common cold and cough. In a litre of hot water, add a spoon of turmeric power, 5 drops of Lavender essential oil and breathe deeply for 20 minutes for results
- Mental level - the intricate link between physique and psyche is well established. Breathing in the aroma of Lavender, Jasmine or Rose clears the throat while passing message to the brain and pineal gland to release hormones that combat insomnia, depression and dullness. Many such blends exist that can bring about gradual changes to attitudes
- Spiritual level - The great contribution of our ancestors is the ability to mix science with daily lifestyle. This is seldom seen in other cultures. Sandalwood paste is applied to forehead on religious grounds. One of the many reasons is that this fragrance and paste stimulates the Ajna chakra (spot between eyebrows). This nurtures the steady development of higher emotions and prepares the brain to sufficiently assimilate knowledge of scriptures
- Social level - Society is a collection of individuals. Hence, the above actions when performed at an increased proportion result in mass benefits. Burning of incense at temples, Yagyas performed for rains and 'aarati' or worshipping rivers have an inbuilt angle of Aromatherapy to them.
Every daily rite prescribed by elders as part of our life has facts from medicine hidden in them. As scientific temper develops and information increasingly becomes accessible, the current generation should strive to recover this knowledge and harness its benefits to the complete extent.