What does it treat?
A standard treatment in most spas and complementary health centres, aromatherapy is often thought of as a gentle massage with a pleasant smell. In fact the precise choice of specific oils is more akin to herbalism and treats a surprising range of issues. For example, oils can be effective for treating:
- Hormonal conditions
- The immune system
- Emotional well-being
- Stress related conditions
- Skin conditions
What is a session like?
The therapist will ask you a range of questions about your health, lifestyle and emotional wellbeing and come up with a blend of oils specific to your issues that day. Because sense of smell is so individual, you will get to approve the choice of oils before the massage begins.
The style of massage will vary according to the therapist, but will be carefully chosen to work with the issues you've brought to the session. E.g.
- Flowing strokes for stress-heads who struggle to relax,
- Invigorating muscle work for those with circulatory problems
As with all good massage modesty prevails. You will be covered up throughout the session, expect for the place where your therapist is working.
Why does it work?
Aromatherapy oils are extracted from the leaves, seeds, roots or flowers of various plants. The chemical compounds contained in the oils will each have a different therapeutic affect on such areas as:
- Pain relief
- Circulation and lymph flow
- Speeding recovery from injury
- Reducing cortisol
- Lowering blood pressure
Aromatherapy is not only a relaxing treatment but also eliminates toxins and promotes healing.
Aromatherapy can be used in different ways; some book monthly sessions to maintain their stress levels and health. Others use the treatments to address acute symptoms, having frequent sessions until they improve. There are different ways of using essential oils too, for example vapourising, with compresses and bathing, all are effective with guidance from your aromatherapist.
Who is it for?
Aromatherapy is suitable for all ages from 6 months old as long as the oils are bespoke blended for the individual. Pre-blended oils may not be suitable for everyone and can cause issues with the young, ill or vulnerable. It is best to consult a specially trained aromatherapist if you are pregnant (or think you might be). The essential oils should be diluted before use.
Who should stay away?
Even those with no sense of smell can benefit from aromatherapy as the oils are absorbed through the skin, though on balance they may get better value elsewhere. Some essential oils can aggravate certain conditions or be toxic, so consult a professional before using oils yourself. Clinical aromatherapists will be able to treat most conditions and illnesses safely but don't go for a massage when you have a fever.
Where does it come from?
Aromatics have been used since Egyptian times to treat illness and maintain good health. Robert Tisserand popularised aromatherapy in the UK in the 1970s with his book The Art of Aromatherapy. Gabriel Mojoy, teacher and principal of the IFPA, integrated principles of Chinese traditional medicine into the theory of aromatherapy.