Fact: Aromatherapy literally means ‘treatment using scents’.
Founded By: French chemical engineer René Maurice Gattefossé in 1928.
Therapy Type: Bodywork
WHAT EXACTLY IS AROMATHERAPY?
Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils extracted from plants to improve health and treat common ailments. There are approximately 300 essential oils in use today. In order to qualify as an essential oil, the oil must be removed from a very specific part of a plant, often harvested at certain times and always in a specific manner The aromatic essences are believed to contain medicinal properties and are used in massage, steam inhalations, compresses, or added to bath water.
It is a natural, non-invasive treatment system designed to affect the whole person not just the symptom or disease and to assist the body's natural ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain itself by the correct use of essential oils. Essential oils are aromatic oils extracted from plants, fruits, bark, seeds, flowers and grasses. More than 150 essential oils can be extracted in this way and they all have some therapeutic benefits. Different essential oils have different applications. Unlike fragrances, essential oils are pure oils which stimulate the mind through the trigger of a physical and emotional reaction. In this way, aromas or scents have the power to transform our emotions and behaviour initiating healing in the process.
It is very easy for the body to absorb the essential oils into the blood stream via the skin, massage and baths or through inhalation. Moreover, healing properties from the oils are felt more rapidly and have a longer lasting effect when inhaled or absorbed by the skin. Always consult your local aromatherapist for advice on the best course of treatment as some oils are unsuitable for certain conditions.
Aromatherapy can be an effective treatment for the physical and mental conditions below:
Sessions typically last between 45 minutes and 1 hour. However, you should expect the first session to be longer as your therapist will ask you about your medical history along with other relevant health and lifestyle details. From the feedback, a selection of oils and Aromatherapy techniques can then be administered to treat your condition.
The Aromatherapist may decide to perform a full body, head, facial or foot massage depending on their diagnosis. A blend of up to five different essential oils, specific to your condition, may be used throughout the treatment. Essential oils are highly concentrated and are thus diluted in a ‘carrier' oil prior to application in order to avoid skin irritation. A carrier oil is a vegetable oil most commonly derived from the fatty portion of a seed, plant, kernel or nut. Each carrier oil offers a different combination of therapeutic properties and also helps reduce friction on the skin. During the massage, much of the essential oils are inhaled and absorbed through the mouth and nose providing beneficial mental and emotional effects.
If massage therapy is not appropriate for your condition then alternative techniques and applications can be discussed. One such method may involve inhalation after the aroma oils are added to a steamer or diffuser. Diffusers are popular in spas and, through evaporation, are absorbed faster thus having a quick positive effect. All oils are blended during the session to meet your individual needs.
Many Aromatherapists will also suggest the use of a blend that you can use at home between sessions. Weekly follow-ups are often recommended in the beginning although treatment frequency will largely depend on the nature of your condition
Most people find Aromatherapy deeply relaxing and walk away feeling very refreshed. It is also extremely safe when carried out by a qualified therapist. It is wise to carry out some research and select a therapist who is either a member of, or accredited by, an association or professional body such as the New Zealand Register of Holistic Aromatherapists (NZROHA). Aromatherapists are obligated to a code of ethics and procedure that determines the therapy is carried out in a suitable and safe environment. These regulations also guarantee a specialist who has undergone certifiable training and receives professional upskilling.
The Wellness Directory provides a ready-made referral list of certified practitioners within your region. We fully encourage you to do some independent research by checking out individual credentials, i.e. experience, training, qualifications, relevant client feedback and so forth.
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