Aromatherapy is a very powerful and yet relaxing form of complementary healthcare. As certified and insured Aromatherapists practising in Birmingham, we have many clients that enjoy this gentle and uplifting therapy.
To Book with our Aromatherapist, Kerry call 07429835301
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy has been around and practiced in one form or another since the beginning of civilization. It is the art and science of using oils extracted from aromatic plants to enhance health and beauty. Apart from the physical benefits, essential oils can have a subtle effect on the mind and emotions.
The essential oils for Aromatherapy are taken from plants, herbs, spices, flowers and woods. These oils have been described as the “life force” of the plants, as they are essential to the plant’s biological process, as well as being the substance which gives them their scent.
Synthetic oils, even if chemically similar, will lack all of the natural elements and that vital life-force that makes essential oils so valuable therapeutically
Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses volatile plant materials, known as essential oils, and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering a person’s mind, mood, cognitive function or health.
Aromatherapy is the practice of using natural oils to enhance psychological and physical well-being. Aromatherapy Massage is available at our Kings Norton,Birmingham Therapy Centre.
What’s involved in Aromatherapy Massage?
Aromatherapy Massage is the most effective method of using essential oils, combining their properties with the therapeutic power of touch. The oils should not be used undiluted, but should be diluted with an odourless carrier oil such as grapeseed, almond oil or evening primrose.
WARNING. Whilst Aromatherapy oils are freely available, I would urge you to be cautious. Oils should not be used undiluted and never ingested. If in doubt, contact a qualified Aromatherapist.
I generally use grapeseed oil in my treatments, but again it depends on skin condition and what my overall goal is for each individual person I treat. Essential oils all have various therapeutic properties. As an aromatherapist, my aim is to achieve the most synergistic blend for each person. Some oils lift the spirit, some soothe, some comfort, some relax, some even promote emotional release.
Each essential oil has a different quality, a different gift and my job is to choose which gifts are for you. Although the oils differ in so many ways, the way administer them doesn’t. True aromatherapy massage is very gentle, even quite subtle.
How does Aromatherapy Massage work?
In theory, essential oils are absorbed into the body either through the pores of the skin during massage or by inhalation through the nose. Molecules within the oils are said to enter through the bloodstream into the nervous system, influencing emotional and physical well-being. Massage stimulates the circulation enabling the oils to disperse rapidly around the body. The warmth of the skin-on-skin friction makes the oils smell stronger, so you get quicker therapeutic benefits to both mind and body. As soon as I begin to massage, your immune system is enhanced.
- Therapeutic touch is non-threatening and can be very relaxing for the giver and for the receiver. I usually combine “Aromatherapy” and “Touch for Health” in the same session as I have found this to be of great benefit to the people I treat. Every individual treatment is different. It becomes very much a personalised treatment using maybe just one therapy such as Aromatherapy, or two or three therapies, again depending on our goal. Below is listed a little more information on other way essential oils may be administered.
- Baths Using oils in baths is a simple, effective and pleasant way to relax and receive the therapeutic effects. Water itself has therapeutic value which enhances the power of the oils. To use, add 6 to 10 drops of essential oil (or in a blend) to the surface of the water which has already been run. Add no other substances, e.g., foam bath oil. Then simply lie back and enjoy the benefits.
- Compresses Add 5 to 10 drops of essential oil to 100ml of warm water then soak a piece of clean cotton in the water. Wring out the excess and place the cloth on the affected part.
- Inhalations Add 5 to 10 drops of essential oil into a bowl of steaming water. Then place a towel over your head and the bowl and inhale the vapour for a few minutes.
- Vaporisation All essential oils are antiseptic and evaporate easily, so they make very good air-fresheners. Different oils create different atmospheres, so experiment! For example, relaxing sandalwood or clary sage are good for parties: or peppermint clears your mind when you need to work. There are many vaporisers on the market, from the simple bowl of water on the radiator with a few drops of oil on the surface to vaporiser light bulbs and specially made vaporiser bowls which sit above candle holders. Again experiment, see which ways suit your needs and which you prefer.
- Perfumes Make your own distinctive “natural” perfumes by blending oils. Again experiment with different combinations which can be used with a carrier oil or non-fragrant alcohol
- Storing essential oils Because essential oils are affected by sunlight they should be sold and stored in dark glass bottles with sealed caps. Make sure that the cap is on securely and the bottle stored up-right in a cool dark place. The oils should be stored out of sight and the reach of children. Never store essential oils in plastic bottles. Good essential oils should keep for years if stored properly, though oils of orange, lemon and lime will not keep as long. Aromatherapy Massage is available at our Kings Norton, Birmingham Therapy Centre
The Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Aromatherapy
For thousands of years, aromatherapy has been used to promote physical, mental and spiritual health. It involves using a plant’s essential oil, taken from its flowers, leaves, bark or roots, and massaging it (mixed with another substance like oil or lotion) into the skin, inhaling it or using it to fragrance a room.
Even as far back as Egyptian times, essential oils were made by soaking plants and filtering the oil through a linen bag.
The actual term “aromatherapy,” however, wasn’t coined until 1928, by Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, a French chemist. He first used the oils to treat wounds during World War I, and later continued experimenting with them. He found that certain oils had different healing properties, and he classified each oil as antiseptic, stimulating, calming, antitoxic, etc., depending on its uses.
How Does Aromatherapy Work?
It’s thought that essential oils activate nerve cells in the nose, which send impulses to the limbic system of the brain — the part that deals with emotions and memory.
Aromatherapy is used both emotionally to invigorate, calm, relieve stress and more, and physically to help relieve certain conditions by stimulating the immune system, circulatory system and nervous system.
Essential oils can be applied by an aromatherapist, who can mix a custom blend of oils for a specific complaint, or can be bought individually in health food stores. Unless you are very knowledgeable about essential oils and their effects, it’s best to consult with a trained aromatherapist before using them. Tiny amounts of essential oils can produce marked changes, and some can be harmful, particularly to pregnant women.
Traditionally, essential oils are used by:
Mixing them with a carrier oil or lotion, and massaging them into the skin.
Inhaling during an aromatherapy session.
Adding them to bathwater. (Check out the new, highly recommended Vermont Soap Organics aromatherapy bath salts.)
Health Benefits of Aromatherapy
Essential oils have been used to treat a seemingly endless number of conditions, including:
- Urinary tract infections
- Headaches and earaches
- Panic attacks
Although much of aromatherapy’s benefits are based on anecdotal evidence, aromatherapy is receiving more attention from researchers as an effective and safe treatment option.
Promotes Deep Sleep
A 2005 study published in the journal Chronobiology International found that lavender essential oil acts as a mild sedative and promotes deep sleep. In the study, 31 healthy sleepers spent three nights in a sleep lab: one to adapt to the study, the next with lavender oil administered into the air and the third with a control (distilled water) stimulus.
Increased the percentage of deep or slow-wave sleep in men and women.
Increased stage 2 (light) sleep.
Decreased rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep.
Further, all the participants reported higher vigor the morning after the lavender exposure.
Fight Staph Infection
Three essential oils studied by researchers at the University of Manchester were able to kill, within two minutes of contact:
MRSA (staph infection)
Many other bacteria and fungi
They say the oils can be blended into soaps and shampoos that, if used by hospital staff, doctors and patients, could eliminate the spread of these “super bugs.” Patients could even simply inhale the oils to prevent being at risk.
The particular oils used in the study will not be released until the researchers can find funding for a clinical trial.
Said researcher Peter Warn from the University’s Faculty of Medicine:
“We believe that our discovery could revolutionize the fight to combat MRSA and other “super bugs,” but we need to carry out a trial and to do that we need a small amount of funding … We are having problems finding this funding because essential oils cannot be patented as they are naturally occurring, so few drug companies are interested in our work as they do not see it as commercially viable. Obviously, we find this very frustrating as we believe our findings could help to stamp out MRSA and save lives.”
Benefits for Childbirth
According to a paper published in the August 2005 issue of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, an aromatherapy service produced beneficial results for patients at a UK maternity unit. The aromatherapy was found to normalize childbirth and increase the satisfaction of mothers in regard to their labor experiences.
Improvement in Shingles Outbreaks
A case study of six hospice patients with shingles outbreaks found that a combination of three essential oils improved symptoms significantly.
The patients sprayed a solution of 95 percent distilled water, 5 percent essential oil blend of Ravensara, Bergamot and Niaouli onto the rash at least three times a day. According to Noel Gilligan, the registered aromatherapist who ran the study, after 48 hours, all patients reported:
A significant reduction in shingles pain.
A scabbing and healing of the shingles pustules.
Either a disappearance (one case) or reduction (five cases) or a “drying up” (three cases) of the pustules.
As we mentioned earlier, it is important to use caution when experimenting with pure essential oils. Certain varieties, in certain people, can exacerbate allergies and asthma, irritate the skin and cause uterine contractions in pregnant women. A trained aromatherapist can help you to determine which oils will be beneficial and safe for you.