A slower, gentler form of massage therapy utilising the thereputic essences of plants to treat a variety of different conditions, including:
- Muscle pain and tension
First coined in 1928 by the French chemist, Gattefosse, aromatherapy is the use of aromatic oils from seeds, barks, roots, leaves, flowers, woods, balsams and resins. Although Gattefosse was the first to use the term, historically the earliest use of therapeutic oils in medicine was 2800 BC and their presence has been noted in the Vedic literature of India, the Yellow Emperor's Book of Internal Medicine in China and archaeological findings from ancient Egyptian civilization.
In some respects the word 'aromatherapy' can be misleading because it suggests that it is a form of healing which works exclusively through our sense of smell, and on the emotions. In fact, the individual chemical constituents of these 'essential oils' interact with the body's chemistry in a direct way. Tea tree (melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil, for example, is commonly used on acne, due to it's anti-septic properties.
Essential oils are extremely effective when administered externally via massage therapy where they are easily absorbed by the skin and transported around the whole body.
Each essential oil has a different profile, both physiological and psychological, and a qualified aromatherapist will select relevant oils according to your current state of being. For example; if you're struggling with anxiety your therapist might select frankincense to help slow and deepen the quality of your breath during treatment, geranium to balance your emotions and bergamot to uplift your mind.
Aromatherapy massage is also useful for muscular aches and pains. Oils of black pepper, ginger and clove have an analgesic effect on muscles and boost blood flow to chronically tight areas in order to bring warmth and comfort to chronically injured areas.
As a treatment, aromatherapy is usually a gentler, slower form of massage with an emphasis on the effectiveness of the oils. If the muscles are particularly tight, however, I like to combine the oils with a sports or deep tissue massage so that they can help warm the tissues whilst more vigorous techniques are applied.