What is Aromatherapy?
Mention the word "aromatherapy," and many people will immediately see visions of bubble baths and flowers. Maybe someday someone will come up with a more appropriate word to describe this complex, amazing world of organic chemistry and natural healing. Until then, aromatherapy is the word we use to describe the therapeutic use of natural chemicals (in the form of essential oils) extracted from plants.
What Does Aromatherapy Do?
It is true that many essential oils have a pleasant scent (while some do not), but perfume is not the best use of aromatherapy. Through a variety of application methods, we can significantly affect body chemistry and relieve unwanted symptoms of common ailments. The intention of applying the oils to the body, no matter which application method is chosen, is simply to introduce the chemical compounds of the plants from which they were derived into the bloodstream, thereby producing the desired chemical reaction.
Most people are familiar with the mental effects of essential oils. Oils can help relax or calm someone who is stressed, as well as invigorate and bring mental clarity to someone who needs to improve concentration.
But did you know that essential oils have physical effects as well? Some examples include antiseptic properties, toning, soothing or stimulating tissues, anti-inflammatory properties and pain relief.
Just like the synthetic pharmaceuticals prescribed by medical doctors, each essential oil, alone or in a specific combination, has a different effect on the body. Unlike pharmaceuticals, however, essential oils rarely have unwanted side-effects. Individual responses to a particular oil can vary dramatically. Don't hesitate to ask questions.
Please note that all oils are not created equal. To derive therapeutic benefit, you must use an oil that is therapeutic-grade, meaning that it is pure, all-natural and unadulterated. Also, since essential oils are not highly regulated, there are varying degrees of quality, even among those claiming to be of therapeutic grade. A good aromatherapist will know a few trusted companies from whom to buy quality oils.
Synthetic oils, such as those used in fragrances, are less expensive, but they are chemically different and cannot provide the benefits beyond their pleasant scent.
A certified aromatherapist is a practitioner who has completed a comprehensive course of study to understand the organic chemistry of essential oils, their benefits and safety. Before using the services of an aromatherapist, it is important to ask about his or her training and experience.
Though essential oils are available for purchase by the general public, it is not recommended that you do so without appropriate knowledge of these potent chemical substances. Under the supervision of an experienced practitioner, essential oils are very safe and effective. Essential oils can be dangerous, however, when combined with certain medical conditions, and can be toxic when used internally, in high concentrations or for extended periods of time.
About Your Aromatherapy Options
Aromatherapy add-ons must be requested when you schedule your appointment to allow for the additional preparation. The following options are available with any massage for an additional $10.
1. You may choose to incorporate aromatherapy into your massage therapy session in one or more of the following ways:
Customized Massage Oil - You may choose to have a customized aromatherapy blend added to your massage oil. The oils are absorbed into your body through the skin, thus giving you the benefits of the essential oils' organic chemistry in addition to the benefits of the massage. (This option is included with your session FREE of charge.)
Foot Bath - Before your treatment, you may find it easier to transition from your stressful life to time for your massage with an aromatherapy foot bath. You may also choose an optional foot treatment package as a special treat.
Inhalation - Essential oils are chosen for diffusion or aroma misting based on your individual preferences and/or symptoms. Oils are inhaled, allowing the desired components to go directly to the limbic system and onto the rest of your body via the circulatory system.
Herbal Towel Body Steam - This can be administered before or after your regular massage treatment. The oils are added to towels in hot water, which are then skillfully placed over your body. Your body receives the oils through both inhalation and absorption by the skin.
2. You may also choose these self-care options:
Custom Blends - Your certified aromatherapist will create an aromatherapy treatment, customized for your individual needs, for you to use at home. These products include, but are not limited to aroma misters, blends for diffusion, bath oils, muscle soaks, herbal body detoxification treatments, body scrubs, hand lotions and body lotions.
Products - A variety of pre-packaged products may periodically be available to take home for self-care or gifts. Browse blends created to address a variety of common symptoms and conditions, such as oils for focus, relaxation, romance, musculoskeletal pain relief, and balance. Also available are meditation CDs and massage tools to use on yourself and your loved-ones between treatment sessions.
Updated 14 June 2017