Aromatherapy: It Makes Scents!Aromatherapy: It Makes Scents!

“Smell and touch are noted to be our most primitive senses. They are powerful healers when used together with pur integrity.” – Michelangelo

Essential oils: uses and safety
Pure essential oils are highly concentrated volatile liquids extracted from some part of a plant or tree. Most oils are the end product of steam distillation of leaves or flowers, such as peppermint leaves or lavender flowers. But oils can be derived from other parts of the plant as well. For example, orange and lemon oil are distilled from the rind of the fruit the oils of sandalwood and cedarwood come from wood; myrrh and frankincense are extracted from tree resin.

 

Despite their healing properties, essential oils can cause problems if handled improperly. No matter what, straight, pure essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin. Because they are so concentrated they can cause a negative reaction, such as skin irritation, headache, irritability and/or fatigue. Likewise, the oils themselves should not be handled by the massage therapist. Essential oils for massage should always be combined with a base oil or cream.

Because essential oils are naturally derived and don’t contain synthetic materials, most people do not have the same sensitivity to them as they do to perfume; however, some aromas may trigger an unpleasant memory or emotional charge. Always be sure to ask clients if they are allergic to any of the oils’ ingredients. If they are, of course, you would not use those oils.

Also, always have the client smell the blend first before applying it to their skin. A negative response is an indication that the oil should not be used with that client. It is important to use high grade, therapeutic grade essential oils. This way they are unchanged and undiluted from their pure state and you are not introducing synthetic elements into your client’s body.

When working with essential oils, massage therapists should also monitor their own reactions, as too much of any aroma can be overwhelming. To combat this, air out your session room with fresh air or a fan between sessions. Test each oil on yourself first, and don’t use oils that give you a negative reaction. Examples of negative reactions include a strong dislike for the aroma, a negative memory triggered by the aroma, irritability, headache and fatigue.

Ancient wisdom How aromatherapy works
Ancient wisdom How aromatherapy works

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