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The Art of Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy combines the soothing, healing touch of gentle massage with the therapeutic properties of essential oils. Receiving aromatherapy can have a profound effect on your mind, body and emotions. However it is not a cure for any disease or medical condition, but aromatherapy may help to reduce stress, relieve pain and restore body systems to a state of balance so that the body can start to heal itself.

A French chemist called Gattefosse at the end of the 19th century first used the term ‘aromatherapy’. He discovered, while experimenting with cosmetics, that lavender was a wonderful healer of burns. Whilst carrying out some tests Gattefosse badly burnt his hand. He had essential oil of lavender in his laboratory and plunged his hand into the pure essence – the burn healed in a matter of hours, leaving no scar. He also experimented on soldiers’ wounds during the First World War and discovered oils that greatly accelerated the healing process.

Aromatherapy has been practised in one form or another for many centuries and many of the oils I use have a long history of therapeutic use. Essential oils are aromatic substances present at very low concentrations in different parts of plants, eg leaves, flower petals, fruit, berries and twigs. The effect of essential oils on the body and mind can be very potent. They are particularly good for helping to maintain good health and to improve well-being. They can be especially useful where there are stress-related symptoms or conditions.

A relaxing massage using essential oils can

· Reduce stress and anxiety by relaxing both mind and body.

· Relieve muscular tightness, stiffness and spasms.

· Create a feeling of well-being and enhanced self-esteem.

· Improve muscle tone and joint mobility.

· Ease emotional trauma through relaxation and relief of repressed feelings.

· Help to reduce pain by the release of endorphins.