Aromatherapy and the polymorphous curiosity of the mind

Delving into the history of natural perfumes I was watching a wonderful documentary about the French chemist, polyhistor and businessman René-Maurice Gattefossé who is considered to be the father of aromatherapy. Anyone ever learning about aromatherapy must know his name well, first of all for him using the word ‘aromatherapy’ (originally Aromathérapie as in French) for the first time and publishing his book with this title in 1937.

Furthermore, there is the famous tale telling about R.M.G. burning his hand in his laboratory and plunging it instinctively in the nearest container that happened to be lavender essential oil. The actual story has more depth and I guess he knew quite well why he choose lavender essential oil to minimize the damage on the burnt tissues and speed up the healing process.

“Gattefossé was interested in everything. Especially everything when new and technical. He spent time thinking about television and Wagner, envisioned replacing highway bitumen with rubber. He read Fraud and Shakespeare, wrote about relaxation therapy and how to invent power point using the Lumière brothers’ cinema. While this multiplicity of interest shows an erudite universal mind, it should not be seen simply as a trait of his character. Every one of his thoughts, every piece of new inspiration was in fact a system of global thinking precisely based on the variety and the confrontation of different domains…”

“This profoundly intuitive way of thinking required total freedom. A refusal of conventional thinking plus a dash of anticonfirmity.”

This 40-minute documentary features a truly renaissance man telling about the versatile ideas and activities that René-Maurice Gattefossé was enthusiastically bringing into life.

“Financial success in business activities should not stifle the search for wisdom and the quest for truth, on the contrary they should serve them.” – René-Maurice Gattefossé



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