Friday, May 27, 2011

Aromatherapy in Korea

The guest columnist in the Catholic Times starts his article by telling us that God made everything out of nothing but humans have also made many things. Those with a religion do not take objection to what God has made because of our faith life. However, what humans have made we should not just take as presented but examine it  to judge on its  goodness or not.

Often we mix the two of them, he says. To accept what we have made without any study or verification is not to act wisely.

Plant life was given to us as a gift  for our sustenance. It is not only for our daily  food,
but for our mental and bodily healing. The abundance and beauty of nature, oxygen, ions  etc. the gifts we have received from God are awesome. It is our task to protect and use these gifts. To  use them  in excess and to abuse them is to go against the will of God. These days in the medical world instead of using the word substituting which can be misunderstood the word complementing is more often used. In recent times  we often hear the word Aromatherapy, horticultural therapy, forest bathing, ions and Phytoncides  as a scientifically verified way of complementing the use of   plant life  used for  therapy. It is a method of therapy that uses a small amount of essential oils from plants.

We find some of these aromatic plants recorded in the Scriptures: frankincense, hyssop, coriander, rose flower, cypress, peppermint, juniper,  cinnamon etc. Over 2000 years ago these aromatic plants had various uses in daily life. In the very first civilizations of the world  we have aromatic plants being used for healing.

Whether this use came from instinct or the healing of animals who ate plants we don't know, but from experience and study plants were used as a means of healing. The use of some of these aromatic plants were also used in religious rites from the beginning of history.

In the middle ages in the Church and monasteries this plant therapy was used. From the times of the Crusades what was used in the Arab World was brought to Europe. The trade  between East and West also introduced many herbs and medicinal plants to the West, Arabic medicine, distillation and other methods were introduced. At that time in Europe bathing was not a frequent event and to cover the body odors this whole world of perfumes began to develop.

The modern scientific study began with Rene-Maurice Gattefosse (1881-1950). He is regarded as the Father of Aromatherapy and the inventor of the word. His studies gave scientific plausibility to the use of essential oils in the healing of wounds, antiseptic,
sterilization, anti-virus, anti-inflammatory, burns, skin rejuvenation, mental therapy, cosmetics and more. In France the government has recognized this method of treatment.

In Korea since the middle of the 1990's there has been an interest in the field of aromatherapy. Study is continuing and it is expanding and very active.