The term "aromatherapy" is often used when discussing holistic and natural remedies, but do you know the origins of the practice? There is a rich history behind aromatherapy; it is an art form as much as it is a healing practice that has been used for many years. Also referred to as essential oil therapy, aromatherapy is most simply defined as "the use of plant materials and aromatic plant oils to alter one's mood, cognitive, psychological or physical well-being." Although the term wasn't coined until the late 1920s, the practice of using plants for their healing properties traces back almost 6000 years. The ancient Chinese, Indians, and Egyptians used them for cosmetics, perfumes, and healing agents. It was not uncommon to use essential oils for spiritual and ritualistic purposes as well. The medicinal benefits of plant-based materials carried on through the ages as more applications were discovered. Some experts attribute the birth of modern aromatherapy techniques to French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse. In the early 20th century, Gattefosse was working in his laboratory when he suffered a severe burn on his arm. Acting without thinking, he plunged his arm into the nearest liquid, which happened to be a vat of lavender oil. Not only did it offer immediate relief, but also the burn healed quickly and without scarring as a result of the lavender oil. He continued to study the healing properties of essential oils and is now recognized as a pioneer of aromatherapy. The practice of using essential oils continued to progress into the more modern applications we still use today. The focus shifted to encompass both physical and psychological effects of inhaling and applying these aromatic substances for a more holistic healing approach. Aromatherapy did not become widely used in the U.S. until around the 1980s; as it gained popularity, many companies marketed their beauty products, candles, and soaps as "aromatherapy" items with a focus on healing and wellness. However, many of these products contain synthetic fragrances that bypass the laborious process of creating essential oils -- in fact, it takes over 30 roses to extract a drop of rose oil. Synthetic alternatives do not have the same properties as real oils and are not as effective. Today, there are many high quality candles and soaps that use authentic essential oils. To reap the time-honored wellness benefits that essential oils boast, be certain that you are purchasing products and all natural candles with pure ingredients. Purveyors of these goods artfully craft beneficial scents and products that work harmoniously to promote the health of the mind, body and spirit. Light just one candle and let the scent soothe your senses to see why aromatherapy is such a wonderful and beneficial experience.