What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils, often through a synergistic blend for massage, which may help with a variety of ailments, boost the immune system and improve a person’s emotional wellbeing. It is often referred to as a holistic therapy because it works on all levels, helping to bring balance to mind, body and soul. In this way it can help treat any underlying problems as well as more obvious symptoms. Essential oils may also be used in a variety of other ways including inhalations, compresses and relaxing baths.
What are the benefits of aromatherapy?
There are many benefits to aromatherapy and these may include reduction of stress, deep relaxation, improved circulation, clears the body of toxins and impurities, improved elasticity of skin, better sleep patterns, balances the whole system bringing about homeostasis and boosts energy levels.
What happens during an appointment?
Prior to a treatment a consultation is carried out. After this you will be asked to undress to your underwear and lay on the treatment couch. There is no need to feel embarrassed as you will be covered with towels and only the area being worked on will be exposed. About half way through the session you will be asked to turn over so that I can work on the other side, unless you have opted for the back only session. At the end of the session you will be given a glass of water, home care advice and time to come round before leaving to get on with the rest of your day.
What is involved with the consultation?
When visiting for the first time a full consultation will be carried out, looking at medical history, life style and what you want to achieve from your treatment. This is a vital and totally confidential process to ensure that you receive the most from your visit and that there are no medical reasons to prevent the session going ahead. The process takes approximately 15 minutes and you are welcome to book this extra time at no extra cost. However, if time is limited treatment time will be adjusted to accommodate the consultation. Following visits will only require a couple of minutes to check that nothing has changed and to discuss results/reactions to the previous session.
What are the origins of Aromatherapy?
Essential oils are known to have been used by the ancient Egyptians in cosmetics, for religious ceremonies and as part of the embalming process. Their knowledge was passed on to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who both used the oils for bathing and massage, becoming aware of the effects that different oils had on the user’s mood.
Hippocrates wrote about the use of plants for medicinal purposes and recorded a large range of medical plants. He also maintained that a daily aromatic bath and massage was the secret of good health.
The term Aromatherapy was first used by Renee Gattefosse who was a French cosmetic chemist during the early 20th century. After burning himself in his lab, he plunged his arm into a vat of lavender oil and noted the healing effect it had on his burn. He continued researching the healing benefits of essential oils and used these to treat soldiers during the First World War. A student of his, Marguerite Maury went on to develop the use of essential oils with massage to produce an individual’s ‘prescription’ and this has developed into the way Aromatherapy is practiced today.
What is an essential oil?
Essential Oils are a concentrated extract or essence of a plant, containing the characteristics of that plant. This concentrated essence not only reflects the distinctive odour of the plant, it also contains the elements which help the plant grow, reproduce and fight disease and is therefore often said to be the life force of the plant. Therefore, these oils have more than one characteristic and may be used for the treatment of several conditions.
Why use carrier oils?
Carrier oils are used for aromatherapy massage for various reasons including dilution of the stronger essential oils to a safe dosage. They aid the absorption of essential oils into the skin and bloodstream, acting as a blending/stabilising agent and are therefore often referred to as fixed oils. Carrier oils also have therapeutic properties of their own and can enhance the essential oils being used by adding to the synergy of the blend. By using massage to apply these oils, the psychological effect of inhaling the vapour combines with the therapeutic effect of touch, thereby working on many levels.
Psychological benefits of an aromatherapy massage include enhanced general state of wellbeing; it helps calm and sooth the mind, reduces nervous tension and helps lift mood/feelings of depression. The physiological benefits include enhanced lymphatic drainage, induced feeling of deep relaxation, helps restore the body’s balance, stimulates the immune system, increased oxygen and nutrient absorption through improved circulation, eases blockage/congestion in nerves and energy paths and increased energy levels.