Disclaimer: this therapy cannot be booked as a stand-alone treatment. I may recommend this therapy where appropriate to clients as part of their treatment protocol.
Aromatherapy is a gentle healing art using massage and scented essential oils derived from aromatic plants and trees. It is a gentle but effective holistic therapy benefiting one’s physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being. Using touch and smell improves your physical health; it helps you achieve mental clarity, enabling you to connect with your spiritual self.
What are the properties of essential oils?
In general, essential oils can have either stimulating or calming effects. The ‘floral’ category of essential oils typically includes tree, herb, and grass oils composed of monoterpene alcohols with calming properties. These oils promote the sense of being grounded, soothing, and renewing properties, as they contain sesquiterpenes, esters, and oxides.
Conversely, mint oils have a high concentration of ketones and are energising and uplifting. Citrus oils, containing limonene, beta-pinene, and monoterpenes, have a highly uplifting effect. Many spice essential oils, coming from phenols, are known for their warming properties.
Massage has been practised therapeutically for thousands of years. Cave art from Ancient Egyptians depicts the use of touch and oils for healing, purifying and beautifying the body and soul. The Phoenicians and the Greeks records of the use of massage go back to 450BCE; Bible speaks of the power of touch-healing of Jesus; Cleopatra is recorded to receive massage. The massage was even used during wars to de-stress and relax the wounded without medications.
Aromatherapy works through touch and smell. The touch we receive through massage is a genuine gift, especially to those who lack physical human contact. It relaxes and distresses you, giving you the strength to face life’s challenges. Through the gentle vibrations obtained from the plants and trees, the essential oils ‘speak’ with your body on the common language – the language of nature, our mother Earth.
Aromatherapy for emotional rebalancing
Emotional Aromatherapy is an ancient healing art that uses essential oils and plant extracts. Many ancient cultures, including Indian, Chinese, Greek, and Roman, understood the connection between aroma, emotions, and mood. Recently, science has started investigating ancient methods, finally recognising the link between scent and human emotion. They discovered that smells could trigger memories, stimulating emotional responses. These responses act as aromatic pathways, directing aroma to different brain areas, thus triggering specific emotional reactions.
How does Emotional Aromatherapy work?
When we inhale the aromatic molecules produced by plants, this aroma is recognised and processed by the olfactory system in the brain, which is responsible for controlling our sense of smell. The olfactory system is connected to the limbic system that stores memories and emotions.
The scent travels first to the top of the nose, where it connects with the olfactory cells. These are specialised nerve cells equipped with tiny hairs that recognise specific aromas. They send nerve impulses to the limbic system, which then responds to the scent based on its particular memories. This response alters your brain’s chemistry. A rush of feeling follows, causing a mood change.
This amazing quality of Essential oils has been used by Aromatherapists to enhance well-being and manage emotions for thousands of years.
Do all people respond to Emotional Aromatherapy similarly?
No. Our responses are very individual. This is due to the personal nature of our memories and triggers. Our reactions are also conditioned by our personal preferences, genetic makeup, environmental factors, and even the internal environment in our body, e.g. the presence of parasites, fungi or bacteria.
Another important factor is the quality of the essential oils themselves. Most shop-bought essential oils are not of sufficient quality to perform this work due to the processing method used and the impurities added to the oil. This changes the chemical composition of the oil, thereby reducing its effectiveness. However, pure, organic oils preserve their untainted natural aroma. In my work, I use pure organic, therapeutic food-grade essential oils.
How is Emotional Aromatherapy being used in my practice?
As part of this therapy, you will receive an oil blend specifically prepared to tackle your emotional issue, whether it is grief, anxiety, stress, depression, emotional trauma, fear, phobia, etc. If you are receiving your treatment in my practice, you will be offered either massage or an essential oil blend specifically prepared for you. If you’ve ordered the essence remotely, your oils will be blended in a roller bottle and posted to you with instructions on how to apply it. Oils are delivered into your body via inhalation or by applying to particular acupuncture points on the body.
Precautions and counterindications
Are essential oils safe?
Essential oils are highly concentrated and can be harmful if not used carefully.
Implementing aromatherapy into your lifestyle shouldn’t cause paranoia or undue worry, but it is important to learn about, understand and heed essential oil safety. By doing so, you will be well on your way to safely enjoying the many benefits that essential oils can offer.
Essential oils safety advice
- It is advised to consult with a qualified medical or aromatherapy practitioner before using essential oils.
- Some oils can cause irritation, sensitization or allergic reactions in some people. Before your massage, do a skin patch test on a small skin area. Place 1-2 drops of diluted essential oil on your inner forearm or back as the most appropriate region for testing. Apply a bandage. Do not get this area wet during the test. If you feel the onset of any irritation or if any reaction occurs, immediately remove the bandage and carefully wash the area with mild soap and water. If no irritation occurs after 48 hours, the essential oil, in its diluted form, should be safe for you to use diluted on your skin. However, even after conducting a skin patch test, there is no guarantee that you will not develop sensitization, irritation or allergy to the oil over time.
- Some essential oils are phototoxic and can cause irritation, inflammation, blistering, redness and/or burning when exposed to UVA rays.
- Some essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy or by those with asthma, epilepsy, or other health conditions. So, please inform me about these conditions in advance.
Aromatherapy Aftercare Advice
Following an aromatherapy treatment:
- Wait for a few minutes post-treatment before driving.
- Drink plenty of water or herbal teas to help eliminate toxins from the body.
- Do not shower or have a bath for eight to 24 hours to give the oils enough time to absorb into the bloodstream through your skin.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks to prolong relaxation and allow detoxification.
- Do not sunbathe or use sunbeds for 24 hours. Some oils are phototoxic and may cause skin burns and irritation.
- Eat a light and healthy diet, add fruits and vegetables to assist detoxification and healing, and avoid heavy meals.
- You may feel tired after treatment. Listen to your body and get plenty of rest.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol for 24 hours to prevent more toxins from being reintroduced into the body.
- Contact me with any concerns you may have following treatment.
- Have regular aromatherapy treatments to support your well-being.
Some people experience detoxification symptoms after their treatment. A perfectly normal reaction is part of the healing and detoxification process following treatment and will typically subside within 24-48 hours.
Some reactions that can occur are:
- Dizziness or nausea
- Disrupted sleeping pattern
- Muscles may feel tired and achy.
- Increased urination or passing of stools.
- Increased thirst