Although the word aromatherapy is quite new, having first been coined in the 1920’s, using extracts from plants in the form of essential oils is very ancient. Essential oils are plant extracts that can be used to enhance a massage. They are extracted from specific species of flowers, grasses, fruits, leaves, roots and even trees. Each plant has unique characteristics which are captured in the oils extracted from them.
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years and cave paintings in France appear to show the uses of plants for medicinal purposes. They have also been used in India as part of the Ayurvedic tradition for at least 5,000 years. Evidence of using essential oils also appear in other cultures such as those of the Ancient Greeks, Romans and in Ancient Egypt.
Massage is the use of oils rubbed into the skin which are absorbed and have many beneficial effects. Essential oils bring an added element to the massage oil, or carrier oil as it is also called. This increases the range of benefits hugely.
During the massage the chemical elements in the essential oils are absorbed into the skin offering a multitude of uses. Our skin is highly absorbent and the molecules of the essential oils are used on the skin and enter the blood stream. They get carried round the body through the capillaries to different parts. Where they go depends on their specific biochemical characteristics. The oil molecules bind to cell receptors in the target area. All pure essential oils are natural compounds, so they get expelled from the body eventually in the usual way through urine and sweat.
These oils can help alleviate symptoms and help prevent many illnesses and disorders, as well as assisting in the healing process. This is nature in one of its most powerful forms.
These concentrated oils are indispensable in today’s world, as they are widely used to make cosmetics and play a hugely important part in the food and drug industries. They are also used as preservatives to give a more natural smell and flavour to food. Many essential oils form the active ingredients of drugs prescribed by orthodox western medicine. Many others have been copied in chemical form.
Essential oils have a diverse range of uses, for example, Bergamot can be used for anxiety, depression and exhaustion, as well as asthma, psoriasis and cystitis. Lavender, a commonly used oil can be used for stress, shock and panic, as well as burns, headaches and sprains. Rose oil can be used for PMS and shock, as well as constipation and insomnia. I do find it amazing that one oil can target such a range of issues.
Aromatherapy can greatly enhance a massage, using essential oils that can help promote health and vitality.
At the beginning of the first aromatherapy session, I take details of your health and medical history, followed by looking at what would be the best essential oils to target the various issues presented. This is decided in conjunction with the client, regarding which oils they like the smell of and which ones they would prefer to be used.