National Complementary Therapy Week
Aromatherapy is a common complementary therapy that uses essential oils from plants and flowers to enhance the physical and psychological wellbeing.
The main uses are through the olfactory, smell, system where aromas are inhaled, or through the skin, where oils are absorbed into the blood stream to assist the body to self-heal, rest and recover from stress and illness.
It is for this reason that aromatherapy oils are commonly used to treat headaches, insomnia and anxiety related illnesses. Aromatherapy has been used for hundreds of years and research into is benefits and the chemical constituents of the essential oils are continually being researched.
Aromatherapy can be used in a number of ways. The most common are described below.
During a massage aromatherapy oils are added to a carrier oil and applied directly to the skin in soothing, stroking and light kneading massage movements designed to relax. With the combination of the essential oils and the massage a number of benefits can be felt. Muscle tension eased, a boost in circulation and lymphatic
drainage experienced, the body’s immune system can be stimulated, reduction of nervous tension, promotion of relaxation and uplift in mood.
Pulse Point Therapy
Essential oils can be added to a carrier and stored in a pulse point roller bottle. Application is made on the pulse points of the body, normally the wrist, neck and chest area, to enable the benefits of the essential oils to be inhaled. This method is beneficial as it is mobile and can be used sparingly throughout the day during times of stress and tension. Pulse point blends can be purchased from some shops and online stores or speak to a qualified aromatherapist to make a personal blend suitable for your needs.
Diffusers are becoming more common in homes. They are normally electrical and use a combination of water with a few drops of essential oil to create a steam projected into a room. It is recommended to use a diffuser for 2 – 3 hours maximum per day and to be aware that if you have pets in the house some essential oils can be toxic to them while being safe for humans.
There is a growing movement of using skincare and spray mist products with additional essential oils, picked for their specific properties. For example, Geranium, Lavender, Rose, Frankincense and Ylang Ylang are all common essential oils used to improve the skin or to be inhaled to aid in restful sleep.
Many qualified aromatherapists will be able to advise on the best oils to use for particular aims and mention any oils that may be harmful or cause sensitisation. As a qualified aromatherapist I always advise against taking any essential oils internally and when applying to the skin suggest dilution in a suitable carrier.