Aromatherapy Around the World
Interview with Dr. Elena Cobez, Instructor in Aromatherapy and Botanical Perfumery in Italy.
Could you tell us how you became interested in aromatherapy?
It happened many years ago, in 1995. At the time, I was a student of philosophy at a University in Italy. While studying Ayurveda, I got into aromatherapy. I would have never thought that something I was learning on the side could become so important to me and take the central place in my life.
How did you come to the decision of devoting yourself to teaching aromatherapy and botanical perfumery?
It was a lifestyle-change decision. In 2001, I quit my job at a big firm to totally devote myself to ayurveda and aromatherapy. Lately I decided to abandon the teaching and practice of Ayuverdic massage to focus on aromatherapy. It was more of an inner call than a rational choice.
Healing through Scents and Consciousness (HSC) is the method you developed for teaching aromatherapy. Can you tell us about it?
During the years, I researched and taught others about essential oils. I witnessed the benefits they bring to our lives. I realized that when practicing aromatherapy, we often follow a common path of inner change. I also noticed that when we help people in learning and experiencing the benefits of the oils, they become better human beings, and their creativity and energy are increased.
The process of learning about aromatherapy and personal improvement is aided by the HSC method, a teaching method I developed based on the experience I gathered in the past 10 years. I believed that, from a psycho-aromatic point of view, scents can have an important place in people’s lives.As a teacher, my mission is to help my students discover and bring into their lives essential oils. They are a precious gift from nature that encompasses every level of our existence,from biochemistry to subtle elements.
Do you see a link between the ancient herbalist tradition of the Mediterranean area, Italy included, and Aromatherapy?
These two fields are deeply linked and have never been separated. In the Mediterranean area, aromatic plants have been studied and used, not always as distilled oils but as infused oils and fresh or dried plant materials, for thousands of years.
There is no doubt that our ancestors practiced aromatherapy.They applied the aromatic principles even though they couldn’t often avail themselves of the distillation process;they used extraction through oils.
Ancient texts also report about spices and resins, known for their use in perfumery and for their antiseptic and cleansing properties.
Today when we talk about aromatherapy, we think of the essential oils we buy in little glass bottles, not taking into consideration that we have been practicing aromatherapy since the beginning of humanity.
It is my personal belief that we can define aromatherapy also as the use of essential oils whether they are still in the plant material or in infused oils.
What do people know about aromatherapy and botanical perfumery in Italy?
I would say that there is still a lot of work to do.
In Italy,people are interested, but an accessible path to knowledge in these fields is not easily available.
My mission is to find away to reach as many people as possible with the right information.There is a lot of research going on but I think that knowledge based on personal experience and holistic visions what is lacking.
Nowadays, a lot of information is available, but I believe that just notions are not enough. In my opinion, what we really need are people who put into practice the wealth of knowledge available with the spiritual and intellectual maturity to help others to better understand plants and nature.
In this regard, our ancient herbalist tradition, being so deeply connected with the philosophic one, can help us find the right path. In order to avail ourselves of the benefits of plants and essential oils, I think we need to widen our horizon,adopt a holistic approach, and never stop studying and researching.