Health Spa treatments in Ancient Egypt

About the author:

Suzy Chiazzari - best-selling author and principal of Iris International School of Colour Therapy. 

Offers courses in Ancient Egyptian colour, sekhem and gem mastery and Colour aromatherapy. 




I have had a life-long passion for colour, sacred architecture and interest in complementary health, so it was only natural that I have always been fascinated by ancient civilizations with sophisticated systems of medicine using colour, gems and plants. What is extraordinary is that over two thousand years later we are still unraveling the secret to their success. 


The most famous associations we have with the use of aromatic herbs and oils from history are those used by the Ancient Egyptians. Papyrus manuscripts dating back to the old kingdom and the reign of Khufu (Kheops) around 2800 B.C. record the use of many medicinal herbs, while others speak of fine oils and choice perfumes, incense for temples and aromatic gums that were used in the embalming process. The Egyptians were renown for their interest in cosmetics and ointments and both Egyptian men and women whether rich or poor were familiar with and used aromatic and healing herbal preparations.  So, we could say that this was also the start of a health service for all.

The Ancient Egyptian medicine chest was based around sacred herbs that were made into ointments, balms, massage oils and incense. These were used alongside, colour crystal or gemstone treatments to give a fully holistic relaxing experience. Good health was not seen as part of our life journey, presided over by a myriad of deities. So, having a healing treatment was considered a holy rite. Often incense was burned in the room where the treatment was to be given in order to calm and focus the mind and invoke the god or goddess associated with the gems and colours that were used.

Often a person was asked to bath in a bath of flowers, leaves and herbal or oil preparations before they received a herbal massage followed by a gemstone and crystal healing treatment. If you are thinking of recreating any aspects of a wonderful Egyptian health spa session or healing treatment, here are some herb and oils that would be useful.

  • Sandalwood (Santalum album) is one of the oldest known perfume materials and there is evidence it was used over 4000 years ago. It was also used by the Ancient Egyptians for embalming and in cosmetics and in the production of incense. Its healing properties are that it is an anti-depressant, antiseptic, carminative, tonic and insecticide.
  • Myrrh  (Commiphora myrrha) was found all over North Africa and the Middle East and Red Sea region since ancient times and was used in cosmetics for cracked skin, wounds and wrinkles.
  • Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) was one of the most sacred of all ancient Egypt herbs. It was made into rejuvenating face masks and for blemishes, dry skin, scars and other cosmetic purposes. It was also used in perfumes, embalming and religious ritual practises.
  • Jasmine was produced in Egypt and its pungent aroma was used for dry, greasy, and sensitive skin-care, as well as for nervousness, depression, muscular spasms and frigidity.
  • Lemon Balm  (Melissa officialis) was once known as the elixir of life, associated with nervous disorders, heart and emotions. Invaluable for treating exzema and other skin problems.
  • Coriander seeds were found in the tomb of King Rameses 11. They were used in cosmetics and health-care to rid the body of fluids and toxins, and to alleviate stiffness in the joints and for muscular aches and pains.

If you would like to find out more about the herbs, oils, colours and gems used in Ancient Egypt, the Iris School of Colour Therapy offers distance learning Diploma courses in Colour Aromatherapy and Egyptian Colour, gem Mastery.



Author: Suzy Chiazzari
Copyright © 2023 Suzy Chiazzari. All rights reserved

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