What is aromatherapy?

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Aromatherapy is an excellent natural therapy for horses and dogs, not for cats though. Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils as a therapy to certain physical and mental ailments. When essential oils penetrate the bloodstream, they release their components that act on the various systems of the body and promote self-healing.

Animals react well to it and it is easy to use as long as you know which essential oils to use on your pets.

Essential oils are volatile components extracted from any parts of plants (roots, leaves, flowers, barks etc).

Essential oils have been in use for centuries. Egyptians, Greeks and Romans histories recount the use of these fragrant oils.

In France, Aromatherapy is widely used in the medical and veterinary fields and has become part of the day-to-day practices.

This modality emerged in France in the early 1900’s when the French chemist Gatefossé burnt his hand in his laboratory and instinctively dipped it in pure lavender essential oil. Gatefossé was amazed how his hand healed without scaring so he went on analysing and studying essential oils. This was the beginning of modern aromatherapy.

Since then, much work and studies (including scientific ones) have been conducted around the world and many books and articles have been written. At this stage I would like to say that I see the world of Aromatherapy divided into two streams: French aromatherapy and English aromatherapy.

The French aromatherapy is also called medical aromatherapy as its therapeutic use of essential oils is based on scientific data and the chemo-types of the oils (chemical components). In this field, essential oils are likely to be administered orally, via injections and suppositories. When applied topically, they are applied to specific areas of the body as a rub. Many French doctors and veterinarians are well versed in this modality and have included it in their daily practice.

The English aromatherapy, which is practised here in Australia and most of other English countries in the world, uses essential oils in massages, baths and inhalations and will never prescribe essential oils orally or via any other internal route.

There are many reference material available that describe the benefits and toxicity of essential oils as well as how to use them.

Of course, needless to say that injections and suppositories must not be used on our pets unless you are a qualified veterinarian! And one who has studied aromatherapy for this kind of administration! More on how to apply and use essential oils is explained in Applications and Safety of Essential Oils with Animals as well as How to use essential oils with pets

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