The idea that strong, natural scents can aid healing is as old as medicine itself. Not only did the famous Greek physician Hippocrates used scented oils in his treatments, but the very first physician in history known by name — the Egyptian Imhotep — recommended scented oils for bathing, massage, and embalming the dead.
Essential Oils are the key to aromatherapy — these are the liquid organic compounds extracted from herbs or plants. They’re used in everything from perfumes and cosmetics, to bath products, to flavorings and household cleaning products.
The focus on aromatherapy in the 20th century was on its ability to heal physical afflictions…
- A French doctor Jean Valnet successfully treated gangrene in WWII soldiers with essential oils
- French Chemist and perfume entrepreneur René-Maurice Gattefossé inadvertently discovered how effective essential oils could be in treating severe burns — by dunking his burning arm into a vat of lavender oil!
…however, the popularization of alternative and natural remedies for treating impulse control disorders (and even OCD) such as compulsive picking, has made aromatherapy a staple adjunct to more traditional psychological or pharmaceutical treatments.
Though the ancient oils used by the likes of Hippocrates and Imhotep are lost to history, we do know what works best today to treat several ancillary causes of compulsive finger picking and other related disorders:
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