What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the practice of using Essential Oils in a therapeutic manner to promote healing and is an ancient art that has been in use since Egyptian times. As a popular form of alternative medicine Aromatherapy is designed to treat the whole person and not just the symptom or disease. It works by assisting the body’s natural ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain itself.
Isn’t it just a beauty treatment?
No…..Many people mistakenly think of aromatherapy as a ‘beauty’ treatment, but nothing could be further from the truth. Aromatherapy is recognised by many health professionals and practiced in hospitals, GP’s surgeries and hospices all over this country. GP’s have been referring patients to complementary therapists since 1992. Quite simply they know that aromatherapy works. Clinical Aromatherapists today are trained to a very high standard and have passed exams in all their subjects including human anatomy and physiology.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are highly concentrated parts of plants obtained by either distillation, cold pressing or occasionally by solvent extraction. The oils are obtained from flowers, leaves, roots, peel, resin or bark and once extracted carry high concentrations of the plant’s healing properties which when massaged into the skin can deliver their beneficial healing powers to us.
How are Aromatherapy Oils Used?
Because Aromatherapy oils are highly concentrated, it is very important that the quantities are carefully measured and the oils are diluted in a carrier oil before being applied to the skin. The main methods of using aromatherapy oils are:
- Steam Inhalation
Please note: Aromatherapy oils must only be used externally, it is very important that they are never ingested.
How Does Aromatherapy Work?
Aromatherapy oils are absorbed into the body in two main ways:
1. Absorption through the skin
When absorbed through the skin, the oils effect the body in a variety of ways:
- Help to kill bacteria and to stimulate the Immune System
- Boost the circulation
- Promote new cell growth
- Stimulate organs of detoxification
- Support the body’s ability to heal itself
When inhaled the oils stimulate the Limbic System in the brain. The limbic system controls emotions, hormones and influences the nervous system. When the essential oil molecules are inhaled, messages are transmitted to the limbic system which affects:
- Heart rate
- Stress levels
- Blood pressure
- Immune system
In this way the oils are able to affect moods and the emotional state of wellbeing.
Are There Any Contra-indications to using Aromatherapy Oils?
There are only a few conditions in which caution is required before undergoing Aromatherapy and this certainly does not mean that you cannot receive treatment. All it means is that there are certain oils which must be avoided. The following conditions require caution and avoidance of some essential oils:
- Sensitive Skin
- High Blood Pressure
- Kidney Disorders
- Breast Feeding
What happens in Aromatherapy Massage?
I will first take a full medical history and details of your lifestyle to ensure you get the correct treatment. Then I will select a blend of 3 essential oils that will be most beneficial for you. For people with allergies or sensitive skin I will always perform a patch test on your skin first to check for any reactions. Once you are happy with the aroma and choice of oils I will perform a gentle relaxing massaging using a variety of different techniques to apply the oils to your skin. (Don’t worry as your modesty will be protected at all times and your body covered from top to toe with towels) To benefit the most from your treatment, the oils need to be left on for at least 6 hours – during this time it is advisable to avoid heavy exercise and drink plenty of water. The effects of the treatment may last up to 36 hours.
Where Aromatherapy excels:
As we all know a little stress is actually good for us. But when the balance is tipped, stress can very quickly take hold and start to affect us adversely.
For some people it is just stress, whilst for others it becomes more physical such as disturbed sleep, anxiety, mood swings, skin rashes, headaches, fatigue etc. If your immune system is compromised it may mean that you are ‘picking up’ all sorts of colds and infections. Essential oils exert a subtle influence on the mind and combined with massage and the care of a good therapist, they offer a truly holistic, gentle and natural way of re-balancing in your life.
Stress is also responsible for many bad backs; tensed muscles in the upper back, neck and shoulders lead to spasm, pain and discomfort.
Aromatherapy treatments help to relieve the pain and tension and help you to relax. Many bad backs are caused by muscular problems. Massage is very effective here; it can break up tissue adhesions, improve muscle tone, boost the circulation and increase feelings of well-being. It helps to eliminate toxins and is also useful for all those who enjoy sports.
Is Aromatherapy effective for other conditions?
Yes….Aromatherapy is very effective for the following conditions:
- Depression and nervous tension
- Fatigue (including chronic) and ME
- Menstrual problems
- Poor circulation
- High blood pressure
- Respiratory conditions including asthma and sinusitis
- Arthritis and joint mobility
- Skin conditions