Aromatherapy dates back to ancient Egypt, where plants and flowers were distilled to extract their essential oils. In the early 20th century a French chemist and perfumier, Rene Gattefosse, badly burned his hand whilst working in his laboratory. In an attempt to cool the burn he plunged his hand into a vat of lavender essential oil that was waiting to be used in perfume. To Gattefosse’s astonishment, he found that the burn healed extremely quickly, without blistering or scarring, and he then went on to research the healing properties of other plants. During the Second World War Jean Valnet, a French doctor, used essential oils to treat the wounds of the soldiers. A French biochemist, Marguerite Maury, further developed the idea, using essential oils as an integral part of healing massage.