AROMATHERAPY

Aromatherapy is a holistic therapy treating the body both emotionally and physically by using essential oils extracted from flowers, fruits, shrubs and trees. These oils, when inhaled through the nose or absorbed through the skin, contribute to and aid the body's natural healing process. Aromatherapy can be carried out using several techniques, such as baths, inhalations and massage techniques.

Scents from aromatherapy oils can be attributed to pleasant memories. The scent from aromatic oils can trigger cells in the nasal cavity which send electrical impulses to the limbic system - the part of the brain that deals with emotions and memory, giving a person a sense of well-being.

Aromatherapy also treats conditions through topical application. For instance with bruises, acne or burns, essential oils can be applied that penetrate the skin through hair follicles and sweat glands. These oils are absorbed into the body's fluids helping to fight bacteria or viruses and boosting the immune system.

A Typical Appointment
Be prepared - It is advisable to choose an aromatherapy practitioner who is a member of, or is accredited by, an association or professional body The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy. This ensures your aromatherapy session is carried out in a suitable environment and by someone who has received formal training and ongoing development. Members are also bound to a code of ethics and practice.

It is advisable not to drink alcohol on the day of your appointment, drink plenty of water instead. Have a light meal (nothing spicy or fatty) a couple of hours before you see the aromatherapist and avoid any activity that requires too much exertion. Wear loose, comfortable clothing and allow plenty of time to get to your appointment; hurrying might affect your physical and mental well-being and be detrimental to the effects of the therapy.

What to expect:
Your aromatherapist will spend time during your first appointment questioning you about your medical history and general health. From this consultation they can decide what oils and techniques are best to help your condition.

If massage is desired, then this will be tailored to your individual needs and carried out by a professional licensed massage therapist as a full-body, head/facial or foot massage using essential oils. The therapist will use a combination of up to five different oils diluted in a 'carrier oil'. Carrier oil is needed because essential oils on their own are too strong to use neat. The carrier oil also helps reduce drag on the skin whilst the therapist is massaging.

If massage is not desired, your therapist will discuss alternative applications. This may include inhalation through nasal vapors, a footbath ( for tired, sore, worn out feet, the aromatherapy foot bath provides great relief) These oils will be blended to your individual needs and generally are not available to the public.

After your treatment, you will be given time to relax and enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy in a peaceful setting. Many people find aromatherapy extremely relaxing and come away feeling refreshed. If the therapy uses massage, there may be some muscle soreness but this will pass after a day or so. Your therapist will discuss the experience with you and advise you on further sessions. They will also recommend essential oils and products you can use at home.