Thursday, 12 July 2012

Masterclass - Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the understanding of using essentials oils from plants can affect the physical and psychological of the client. The first record of use was ancient Egypt that used these extracts in embalming their dead (and also making them smell a little more pleasant). The Greeks also used an early kind of aromatherapy to treat aliments, including Hipprociates, the starter of medicine.

The term 'aromatherapy' was first coined by french alchemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse in 1910. Gattefosse burnt his hand after an experiment went wrong; he then plunged his hand in the nearest liquid - a vat of lavender oil and realise that this oil had increased the healing time. His first work, "Aromathérapie: Les Huiles Essentielles Hormones Végétales" (1937) is what modern aromatherapy is based on today.

Essential oils is a term that is form the liquid that is extracted from plants, which can be the flowers, leaves, stem, and/or wood. These are distilled from then using different methods like steaming and pressing, until the oil comes out. They are highly scented and should not be put direct onto the skin, they should be diluted into a base oil or water before use.

The most popular essentials oils are tea tree (Latin: Melaleuca alternifolia), a fresh, zingy oil that is anti-septic, anti-fungal and anti-viral; and Lavender (Latin: Lavandula angustifolia), a woody floral that is anti-stress, soothes and calms frayed nerves. There are thousands of different oils, I have spent many an afternoon smelling scents and mixing my own blends. All true essentials oils should have their Latin name of the plant they came from on the label so you know its origin, unfortunately in this instance the manufactures ones are not up to standard.

Base oils (can be known as carrier oils as they 'carry' the essential oils) are slightly thicker than essentials oils, these contain nutrients for the skin. These are mostly pressed from nuts, seeds and fruit. The most popular in these are Almond oil, Grapeseed and Evening Primrose oil. Each have their own different nutrient value and are just as fun to mix up as essentials oil to produce the perfect treatment.

The way a treatment should be is that you will have a conversation with your therapist, and this can include how you are feeling as well as general medical issues. The therapist should then select a blend to you to smell, this is your blend (as they mixed together) as well as discuss how you are continuing your treatment. I found the best way to have a massage, the movements are flowing soothing and you come away floating away. As a therapist I also like giving a massage not only for the effect on the client but also on myself as I receive the benefits!

I got into aromatherapy just over 10 years ago now and love it. You do not know how much it touches your everyday life. I love scents and smells, this lead onto my job for Boots as a Fragrance Consultant for 3 and half years. It is a fascinating subject that infuses chemistry, biology and phsyicology, that not only takes in the body but the whole well being of the client.

Next week: My next qualification - Indian Head Massage

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