Monday, 30 August 2010

Scientific enquiry and plant oils

In this post I would like to contrast knowledge of pythagoras's theorem with proofs that it is true.  Many great practicioners of architecture use it without being able to prove it is true because it is known to work.  The reason I am dwelling on this is to sound a warning note.

Aromatherapy contains many elements which practioners and home users know to be true.  Is there really any need for 64 studies which confirm to us that Lavender oil relaxes an anxious mind from a baby confronting bathtime to a highly stressed individual?  There is but I will come onto that.  My point is that when we come to primary aromatherapy education we need to bear in mind the simplicity of the use of plant oils and not burden practicioner students with tedious lists which will close their minds.  The purpose of education is to lead the minds of students out not close them.  Lets leave closed minds to others!

When I was a boy sitting in old schoolroom of the famous Rugby School I was introduced to proofs of the pythagorian theory that the sum of the length of the hypotenuse multiplied by itself was equal to the sum of the other sides in a right angled triangle.  This is the famous equation a2 = b2 +c2.  This equation is of the greatest use to educators as well as to architects, carpenters and astronomers.

Armed with this simple knowledge the Egyptian pyramids were built and it forms the stepping stone on along the way to knowledge of cosines which cover all triangles not just right angled ones.  This knowledge of triganometry was also known to the Babylonians.  We know this from a tablet dated to 1800bc known as Plimpton 322 which resides in Colombia University.  Do we really think Babylonian minds were open to mathematical knowledge and closed to the use of plant oils for health and beauty?  We know from the Bible's book of Esther that the Babylonians made good use of the oils.

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