Essential oils have been quite trendy over the recent years due to their numerous healing benefits. They are said to be effective at treating a wide variety of conditions, including anxiety, pain, and insomnia. Some essential oils even have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
This increasing use of essential oils is called aromatherapy, though it can sometimes be confused with another term referred to as aromachology. Although aromatherapy and aromachology may sound fairly similar, these two terms are more distinct than one might think. In this article, we share what makes aromatherapy and aromachology different from each other.
What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a term that you have probably heard of or read somewhere on the Internet. As mentioned earlier, aromatherapy essentially refers to the use of scents, particularly essential oils, for improving an individual’s health - both physically and psychologically. The term was coined by a French chemist named Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, known for exploring the healing abilities of plant essences.
However, although the term ‘aromatherapy’ was invented only in the 1920s, the practice of using scents for their healing benefits had already been around for a significantly longer time. In fact, there is extensive documentation on the use of essential oils in folk medicine. Due to this, many believe that the practice has been in place for a few hundred - or even a thousand or so - years.
What is aromachology?
If aromatherapy is recognised as a ‘folk medicine’, aromachology is known for being the scientific study of such medicine. While aromatherapy has been practised for many years, scientists and researchers did not begin to study aromachology until the late 1980s. With the help of modern research, aromachology prides itself on having a robust neurological base.
In essence, aromachology focuses on finding answers as to why certain fragrances have physiological effects. It studies how these scents work to trigger and impact the human body in the ways they do. As it studies the psychology of scents, aromachology is widely used commercially by shops that utilise particular scents to influence consumer behaviour.
Significant differences between the two
In essence, aromatherapy and aromachology have the same objective – to promote a healthy state of mind and body by affecting a person’s mood and emotion with the use of certain fragrances. However, while aromatherapy uses only natural fragrances, aromachology advocates for using both natural and artificial scents.
Moreover, aromatherapy focuses on which scents cause a particular physiological response. Aromachology, on the other hand, concentrates on how and why certain fragrances trigger a physiological response in humans. In other words, the two concepts deal with different questions relating to the abilities and properties of scents.
Lastly, aromatherapy is all about healing and providing therapeutic benefits. Meanwhile, aromachology is typically used for commercial purposes, such as triggering shoppers’ behaviour and encouraging them to spend.
Both aromatherapy and aromachology essentially promote the positive effects of scents on mood and emotion. However, their primary difference is that the former is based on psychology and scientific study, whereas the latter is all about natural fragrances and their therapeutic use. Despite their differences, both aromatherapy and aromachology point to one conclusion: scents have healing powers and numerous possible benefits.
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