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Introduction to Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is an ancient healing method. It began 3000 years before Christ. It was first used by the Egyptians, then later by the Greeks and the Romans.

It has enjoyed a revival in recent times, following the discovery of French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse.

Following a burn to his hand, he put his hand into a bowl of water, but it actually had lavender oil in it, and it cured his burn.

Thus, aromatherapy was born, and he investigated the healing power of essential oils.

His ideas were later taken up by French surgeon Jean Valnet, who used essential oils to help heal soldier's wounds in World War 2, which proved further the medical benefits of aromatherapy.

Understanding Aromatherapy

The word Aromatherapy is made of two words. Aroma means 'fragrance', and Therapy means 'treatment'. Thus, Aromatherapy meeans treatment with frangrance(s).

Aromatherapy, or essential oil therapy, refers to a range of traditional, alternative or complementary therapies that use essential oils and other aromatic plant compounds.

Aromatherapy typically works in two different ways, through sense of smell and through skin absorption.

Many essential oils contain anti-inflammatory properties and may be applied to the skin to fight infection or relieve pain.

Common Ailments

Here are some common ailments that are often treated using Aromatherapy:


Certain scents can trigger a relaxation response in the brain. When combined with massage especially, it can help to reduce feelings of stress. Understanding the cause of your stress and increasing self-care practices can help you keep on top of stress.


Studies have found that aromatherapy can have a positive effect on those living with anxiety. As a complementary therapy, it is best used alongside other therapies such as talking therapy.


Many people find aromatherapy a helpful aid for sleep. Burning a relaxing scent in your home or adding essential oils to a warm, evening bath can help prepare your body and mind for sleep.


Many people find aromatherapy a helpful aid for sleep. Burning a relaxing scent in your home or adding essential oils to a warm, evening bath can help prepare your body and mind for sleep.


Aromatherapy is normally used through inhalation or as a topical application.


the oils evaporate into the air using a diffuser container, spray, or oil droplets, or breathed in, for example, in a steam bath.

Inhaling essential oils stimulates the olfactory system, the part of the brain connected to smell, including the nose and the brain. Molecules that enter the nose or mouth pass to the lungs, and from there, to other parts of the body.

As the molecules reach the brain, they affect limbic system, which is linked to the emotions, the heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress, and hormone balance. In this way, essential oils can have a subtle, yet holistic effect on the body.

Topical applications:

Massage oils, and bath and skin care products are absorbed through the skin. Massaging the area where the oil is to be applied can boost circulation and increase absorption.

Essential oils are never applied directly to the skin. They must always be diluted with a carrier oil or base oil except for Lavender and Tea Tree. Usually, a few drops of essential oil to an ounce of carrier oil is the concentration. Most common carrier oils are sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil or olive oil.

If a new allergic response appears, then you should stop using it immediately and avoid its smell.


You should never Ingest or swallow essential oils, aromatherapy is normally used through inhalation or as a topical application. The main uses are by Massage, Bathing, Oil Burners.

With the exception of Lavender and Tea Tree, all essential oils must be mixed in a base or carrier oil, such as Grapeseed or Sweet Almond oil.

Relaxing Oils

Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Geranium


Lavendar is a very popular and versatile oil, very relaxing, gentle and usually safe. It is (along with Tea Tree) able to be used neat. Not to be used when pregnant.


Cleans wounds. Treats burns. Soothing effect on the nerves. Relieves tension and depression. Good for headaches and insomnia. Helps with colds and throat infections. Relieves pain, including rheumatism and arthritis. Helps skin problems.

Blends well with citrus oils, roman chamomile.

Roman Chamomile:

Roman Chamomile is calming, especially when feeling irritable or impatient.


Good for abdominal pain, gall bladder problems and throat infections. Relieves asthma. Calms skin outbreaks, eg acne and eczema. Helpful with insomnia.

Blends well with lavender, grapefruit, lemon, ylang ylang, bergamot.


Geranium is a floral oil. Balancing oil. Balances the mind and emotions.


Relieves stress and anxiety. Helps with skin problems and sore throats.

Blends well with lavender, grapefruit, orange, lime.

Refreshing Oils

Grapefruit, Bergamot, Lemon, Mandarin

Many Citrus Oils are good for the immune system. Some are photo toxic so you have to be careful about exposing yourselves to sunlight, or bathing, in the hours following usage.


Very light and refreshing.


Fights cellulite. Boosts lymphatic system. Helps with digestive system and oily skin and acne. Combats muscle fatigue. Uplifting effect on mood. Revives the mind. Helps with stress and depression. Don’t use if you have asthma.

Blends well with geranium, bergamot, lavender.


Known as the “happy oil”.


Very good for depression and tension. Good for skin problems (especially acne).

Blends well with mandarin, orange, ylang ylang.


A fresh citrus smell don’t use it if you have low blood pressure.


Improves concentration and making decisions. Helps the circulatory system and reduces blood pressure. Improves digestive system, and good for headaches, rheumatism, arthritis, and skin complaints.

Blends well with lavender, geranium.


Mandarin is an unusual citrus oil in that it is both refreshing but calming. Tangy and sweet oil.


Relieves stress, it is soothing to the nervous system. Good for digestive problems (a tonic effect), increases circulation to the skin, and reduces fluid retention.

Blends well with grapefruit, bergamot, lavender.

How to Incorporate the Power of Essential Oils into your Daily Routine.

Added to bath water:

Many people like to add essential oils to a warm bath to promote a more relaxing soak.


This is especially helpful if you’re feeling congested. Simply add a few drops of your chosen essential oil to a bowl filled with hot water and inhale the steam.


Burning essential oils through an oil burner is a popular use of aromatherapy. Water is placed on the top of the burner, the oils are dropped into this water, then a tea light is lit underneath.  Be safe.


A great way to get a quick boost from your chosen essential oil is to have a small vile at your desk. This way you can directly inhale your oils and reap the benefits, even on the move!

If you have asthma or suffer from other respiratory conditions, please consult your GP first.

The Benefits of Massage

Aromatherapy Benefits

During a massage, essential oils are added to a carrier oil to dilute the mixture and massaged into the skin.

An aromatherapy massage usually lasts between one hour and 90 minutes. The oils used will be tailored to suit your specific requirements.

Aromatherapy massages are incredibly relaxing, bringing together the powerful benefits of both aromatherapy and massage

Physically: It helps with muscular aches and pains. Increases circulation. Stimulates blood flow towards the heart.

Emotionally and Mentally: Very soothing and relaxing. Calming to the nervous system. Beneficial because it melts away tension and is a good stress reliever

Like medications, essential oils must be treated with respect. It is important to seek professional advice and to follow instructions carefully.

Is it Safe..?

Provided they are used correctly, essential oils are safe to use. The oils should never be swallowed or massaged into broken skin. If you suffer irritation, please contact your GP.

You may be allergic to some products, so it is always advisable to do an allergy test before use.

How to do an Allergy Test

To do an allergy test:

  1. Dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil at twice the concentration you plan to use

  2. Rub the mixture into an area the size of a quarter on the inside of the forearm

  3. If there is no allergic response within 24 to 48 hours, it should be safe to use.

Some people report developing allergies to essential oils after using them many times

The need for caution

Since essential oils cause reactions in the body, not all the oils will benefit everyone. Chemical compounds in essential oils can produce adverse effects when combined with medications.

They may reduce the effectiveness of conventional drugs, or they may exacerbate health conditions in the individual, so people who are using medications of any type should first check with a qualified pharmacist or doctor.

To find out if aromatherapy will work for you, speak to a qualified aromatherapist to ensure you are utilising the oils’ properties and getting the best out of the therapy.

Hand and Arm Massage

An Introduction

You don’t need any special equipment for an at-home hand massage. You can do the massage with or without applying oil, essential oils, or lotion.

To get the most benefits from a hand massage, it’s best to do it every day for at least 15 minutes. Try to use moderate pressure instead of light pressure.

Doing a hand massage before bedtime may improve the quality of your sleep. But a massage can be relaxing and beneficial at any time of day.

You may want to apply some heat to your hands and arms before you start to help your muscles relax. Then, take the following steps....

Steps for a hand and arm massage:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position. To apply moderate pressure, it may be easier to have one hand on a table while you use your other hand to do the massage strokes.

  2. Effleurage is a light friction technique commonly used to begin and end a massage treatment. Use your palm to stroke your forearm from the wrist to the elbow and back again on both sides. If you want to, you can extend the stroking to your shoulder. Do this at least three times on both sides of your forearm. The idea here is to warm up your muscles.

  3. Use your palm to stroke from your wrist to your fingertips on both sides of your hand. Do this at least three times. Use moderate pressure.

  4. Cup your hand around your forearm with your thumb underneath. Pinch your skin starting at the wrist and work slowly up to the elbow and back down again. Do this on both sides of the forearm at least three times using moderate pressure.

  5. Use your thumb and forefinger — or your thumb and all your fingers — to press in a circular or back-and-forth motion, slowly moving up your hand and forearm. Do this on both sides of your arm and hand at least three times using moderate pressure.

  6. Press your thumb in a circular motion with moderate pressure all around the back of your hand and then your palm. Continue pressure with your thumb along both sides of each finger. Use your thumb to massage the area between your thumb and forefinger.