Aromatherapy-FAQs contains some of the questions which are asked most frequently like- what is aromatherapy? does it work for everyone?oils used at home,etc. I hope you will find the answers helpful.
What is AROMATHERAPY?
It is a complementary therapy – that is, a gentle way of helping to restore the body and mind to a balanced, healthy state, using healing essences extracted from plants, shrubs and trees.
In aromatherapy, oils are usually applied to the body by a gentle massage. These oils can be used effectively in many other ways. Apart from their healing powers (which include being antiseptic and anti-inflammatory), these aromatherapy plant essences exude powerful scents which have an effect on the memory and sensory nerves. As a result, aromatherapy treats the whole person, both mind and body. It is very helpful way of treating the stress-related problems that many of us seem to suffer now that our lives have become so pressured.
Does it work for everyone?
Aromatherapy, when correctly used, helps us to keep healthy by improving the circulation, soothing the nervous system, reducing the waste products and lessening the effects of stress. It can also be used to help chronic conditions such as migraine, eczema, rheumatism and sinus problems, offering more relief to some sufferers than others.
Obviously, there are acute conditions which you wouldn’t treat with aromatherapy, such as heart attacks and appendicitis. These need immediate medical attention and not the aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is most useful to stress related problems. Always remember that if you are in any doubt about a health problem, do consult your doctor before trying to treat the problem yourself.
What happens the first time I have a professional aromatherapy treatment?
You are given a consultation before treatment begins. This is important as it gives the aroma therapist a clearer picture of you and the problem for which you need help.
You will be asked your:
- Date of Birth
- Doctor’s name and Address
Then you will be asked about:
- Medical history- any serious illnesses or operations
- General health
- whether you smoke or drink alcohol
- Present medication
You will be encouraged to mention any emotional problems, worries and stresses in your life, but don’t feel obliged to talk about anything you would rather keep to yourself. If the aroma therapist is sure there is no reason for you not to receive treatment, he or she will then mix up suitable oils for you.
Once these oils are mixed, you will be asked to smell them to ensure you like their aroma. Obviously, you won’t derive full benefit from being massaged for an hour or more with oil you find smells unpleasant.
You will then be asked to undress (usually down to your pants) and helped on to the massage couch. Aroma therapists are to dealing with shyness, and you will be surprised at how quickly you feel at ease. Only the area of your body being worked on will be exposed. The rest of your body will be covered with the towels or blanket and kept warm. Usually, the room will have soft lighting and your aroma therapist may play soft background music to help you relax.
As the aroma therapist massages you, he or she will find areas of tension and congestion. These will be pointed out to you, and you may find these spots a little tender when they are touched. Mostly, though, the massage is extremely soothing and relaxing, and very often you will doze off!
At the end of your massage, which usually takes just over an hour, you may be given a glass of water to drink. This helps to refresh you, and will also flush away some of the toxins which have been released into your system during the massage. You will be allowed to relax for a few minutes while your aroma therapist writes any additional remarks on your record card.
Aroma therapist then finally recommends any home treatment (such as baths or inhalations) and perhaps giving you a blend of oils to use between treatments.
How will I feel after wards?
The feeling after an aromatherapy treatment varies from person to person. Most people feel very relaxed, and even a little light-headed, with a sort of floating sensation. Some people find they have a sudden spurt of energy, while others are slightly lethargic after treatment.
I always recommend that you must try to relax as much as possible after a session. It is therefore a good idea to book your appointment for the end of the day, rather than during the lunch break of a hectic work schedule, and allow yourself plenty of time to recover after wards.
Very occasionally, someone’s condition may seem to worsen slightly after treatment, but it usually improves within a couple of days.
How often should I be treated?
Your aroma therapist will be your guide. Usually to start with, treatments are given weekly, and then as your condition improves they are reduced to monthly to two monthly sessions.
If you have a chronic condition, you may continue to receive treatment indefinitely, but once your problem has improved you may feel that you will just have an occasional treatment if you want to relax. Remember, aromatherapy can be used just to maintain good health and well-being.
Is there any time when I can’t have aromatherapy?
Again, your aroma therapist will give you an advice. But here is a general guide to when treatment is best avoided:
- When you have a fever or abnormal temperature
- Just after a heavy meal
- On an empty stomach (if you haven’t eaten for six hours)
- During the first two days of your period
- If you are being treated by your doctor, unless his or her permission has been given
- If you are extremely tired
AVOID LOCAL AREAS:
- Of recent scar tissue
- If any infection, bruising or inflammation is present
- If skin is cut or broken
- If there has been a recent break or fracture of a bone
The rest of your body can still be treated, but the problem area will be avoided. If you must avoid treatment altogether, you can still use aromatherapy oils in a vaporizer or burner to help you feel better.
Are there any aromatherapy oils I should avoid when buying them for use at home?
Here I have compiled a list of oils I wouldn’t consider safe for home use, because they can produce side effects. Instead, they should only be used by trained aromatherapist.
- Bitter almond
- Bitter fennel
- Cinnamon bark – except in a burner or vaporizer
Which oils are safe, with proper use?
All of the following oils are safe if used with care:
- Black pepper
- Clary sage
- Sweet fennel
- Tea tree
If in doubt about any oil, check with a qualified aroma therapist.
I like the idea of keeping a few aromatherapy oils at home, but I don’t want to spend too much money. Which would you recommend?
Here are four oils which I wouldn’t be without:
This is one of the most versatile aromatherapy oils of all and is even safe to use neat on the skin. It helps all sorts of problems, from burns to headaches, is great for relieving tension and is naturally antiseptic and soothing. Buy this one first!
This is very helpful oil for all respiratory problems – coughs, colds, catarrh and flu. If used in a vaporizer or burner it keeps germs at bay, so can protect other members of your family from common viruses.
This is calming, soothing oil. It is helpful for itchy rashes and dry skin conditions, and because it is sedative, it is useful for encouraging sleep and relaxation.
Tea tree –
This is a fantastic antiseptic and anti-fungal treatment. Use it to clean up cuts and grazes and to treat such irritating problems as thrush and athlete’s foot.
I seem to be allergic to most perfumes. Are aromatherapy oils a suitable alternative?
You may well have an allergic reaction to one of the chemicals that go into the manufacture of the perfume. The perfume industry copies chemically the scents of aromatherapy oils, and these sometimes have an irritant effect upon the skin.
Aromatherapy oils are natural plant oils, and are generally gentler then chemical perfumes. However, I would recommend that you carry out a patch test, using your chosen blend, before using aromatherapy oils as perfume. It is not unknown to be allergic to them.
1. Dab a couple of drops of your chosen aromatherapy blend (not neat oil, unless it is lavender) on to your wrist, or behind your ear if you don’t want your reaction to be obvious to others.
2. Wait for 24 hours. If your skin shows any redness, itching, irritation, you should avoid the oils. Perhaps you could try a different blend.
How do I use aromatherapy oils as a perfume?
Below, I have listed the most pleasant smelling aromatherapy oils under different headings. Perfume is a very personal matter so you will need to experiment to find one you really like.
Remember, you must mix your chosen oil, or oils, into the light carrier oil – 10 drops top 4 fl oz (100 ml) is a good amount. I find sweet almond oil is a good carrier, as it seems to hold the perfume.
Can I take the oils internally?
I would not recommend anyone to take essential oils internally. It is common practice in France where aroma therapist uses the treatment in this way. I think it is quiet hazardous to use aromatherapy oils orally. They work efficiently enough when applied to the skin to make oral use unnecessary.
How often can I use aromatherapy at home?
Because of their gentle way of healing, you can use aromatherapy oils every day. You may choose to use them in your bath one day, for massage another day, and in a vaporizer the next day. In fact you do buy an oil burner or vaporizer; I would be surprised if you didn’t use it everyday.
Obviously, if you suddenly find you have an adverse reaction to aromatherapy oil, you should stop using it immediately and try a different one instead.
Is it possible to use aromatherapy oils in cooking?
Although it is possible to use some of the herbal essences – ex. Marjoram or thyme – in cooking, it is not something I would advise, because it is difficult to know the dosage you will ingest when eating the food. Use the fresh herb equivalent instead.
Are there aromatherapy oils that might help me when I am dieting?
This question is often asked. I think we all are looking for a magical weight loss formula, but sadly it doesn’t exist in aromatherapy. However, you can use the oils to look after your body as you begin to loose to weight.
FOR FLUID RETENTION –
Add Geranium, fennel and juniper oils to your bath.
FOR CELLULITE –
This is the lumpy fat that collects on your bottom and thighs and has the appearance of orange peel. Make a blend of 4 drops of juniper, 4 drops of fennel and 4 drops of lemon oils in 4 fl oz (100 ml) of carrier oil. Massage this into the affected areas daily after your bath, when the skin is warm and receptive.
Are there any oils which don’t smell too feminine?
Men prefer either the more woody oils or the citrus ones. Try any of the following:
- Cedar wood
- Clary sage
Which is the best place to store my aromatherapy oils and for how long will they keep?
As I previously explained, aromatherapy oils are affected by light and heat. They need to be kept in dark, cool place, preferably in the tinted glass bottles. Because the oils evaporate very quickly when neat, you must ensure the tops are firmly screwed on your bottles. It is a good idea to keep them all together in a small box and store it in a cool cupboard.
The oils will keep for about two years if kept properly and the bottles haven’t been opened. Once opened, I would aim to use them within six months (label and date the bottle when you first open it).
Are there any oils to be avoided during pregnancy?
Obviously, you should avoid any of the oils I have listed as being unsafe. During pregnancy your body is more sensitive and vulnerable than usual, so it’s a good idea to avoid the following oils until your baby is born:
Which oils can be used during pregnancy?
The gentlest oils for use during pregnancy:
Always use them at half strength.
Which oils would you recommend I take on holiday abroad for all the family?
Aromatherapy oils can be very useful in different ways when visiting a warmer climate. Here are a few recommendations from personal experience:
Insect repellent –
Add 10 drops of geranium and 10 drops of eucalyptus oil to 4 fl oz (100 ml) of carrier oil. Dab on to the areas likely to be bitten. Ankles seem to be favorites with mosquitoes. You can also burn the oils neat in your room at night, to ward off biting insects.
Insect bites and stings –
If you are unfortunate enough to be stung or bitten, try rubbing neat lavender oil into the affected area. Reapply every few minutes until the pain or itching stops.
Lavender oil is excellent for treating any kind of burn, with sunburn being no exception.
If the burned area is small, apply the oil neat and repeat as necessary. If the area is large, add 20 drops to a cool bath and soak for 10 to 20 minutes. You can make a soothing spray (burned skin is so tender when touched) by adding 10 drops of lavender oil to 1 pint (300 ml) of cool, clean water. Mineral water is ideal. Alternatively, you can add a few drops of lavender oil to your after sun lotion to speed up the healing process.
Dry or cracked lips –
The sun seems to cause this problem just as much as harsh winter weather. Make a carrier oil of 2 fl oz (50 ml) apricot kernel oil and 2 fl oz (50 ml) of avocado oil. Add six drops of sandalwood oil and six drops of rose oil. Rub this into the lips. Repeating the application regularly.
Small cuts –
Even on holiday, accidents happen. Either apply the neat lavender oil or tea tree oil to the cut. These are both antiseptic and don’t sting.
I once suffered sunstroke as a child in Greece, and remember living on water and cucumber for a week! Sunstroke is the result of severe dehydration, and the resulting symptoms are very like those of a hangover.
Keep the sufferer in a darkened, cool room. One good remedy is to add 4 drops of juniper, 4 drops of fennel and 4 drops of peppermint oil to a cool bath. Soak for fifteen minutes. Then, rub a little neat lavender oil into his or her temples at regular intervals. The bath helps to reduce his temperature and the lavender oil helps his headache.
Make sure your patient keeps topping up his liquid level with plenty of water (not too cold).
Vomiting or Diarrhea –
Due to changes in climate, water and diet, upset stomachs often occur on holiday. Aromatherapy can help.
Add 4 drops of lemon, 4 drops of fennel and 4 drops of peppermint to 4 fl oz (100 ml) of carrier oil. Massage into the abdomen and solar plexus as needed.
Add 6 drops of lavender, 3 drops of neroli to 4 fl oz (100 ml) of carrier oil. Very gently rub into the lower abdomen and solar plexus areas.
You can also try adding the above oils to a bath to ease stomach cramps.
In winter I seem to suffer from the cold more than the other people. Can aromatherapy help?
Aromatherapy is found to be helpful in a number of ways. It is very effective in improving the circulation and this lessens the effect of cold on your body. Massage is useful too. It improves the flow of blood to the skin, warming the surrounding tissues.
Some winter warming oils are:
- Black pepper
- Clary sage
Use any of them in your bath, and in carrier oil for massage, on a daily basis.
These are one of the hazards of the winter weather and occur when your body’s temperature control system closes down quickly. The capillaries close to your skin’s surface constrict, impairing the flow of blood to your feet and particularly your toes.
For an effective cure, add a few drops of lemon oil to some calendula cream (made from marigold extract and available from your chemist). Rub into the affected area regularly, massaging until the skin feels warm. You can also use lemon oil in a foot bath, but don’t make it too hot. Remember, extremes of temperatures, whether hot or cold, will make chilblains worse.
I have been told aromatherapy can really help depression. Is this true?
Depression has many forms, all of which must be treated seriously. It is divided into four different categories.
1. Reactive Depression –
This relates to a loss of some kind, such as death, end of a relationship or redundancy.
2. Hormone related Depression –
This can be caused by pregnancy, the menopause or menstrual problems.
3. Ongoing depression –
There is no clear cause for this.
4. Severe Depression –
This may relate to more serious orders, such as schizophrenia.
There is more publicity now about the danger of the prolonged use of tranquillizers which are often prescribed to help relieve depression, so aromatherapy is a gentle and helpful alternative treatment and can be used to balance the nervous system.
Massage is beneficial too, in calming and soothing ragged nerves and bringing you back in touch with your body. It teaches you how to let go and relax, which is sometimes difficult when you feel depressed.
I would like to point out here that it is important that you must talk to a medically qualified practitioner about your depression, before seeking the help of an aroma therapist. Tell the medical practitioner that you are thinking of making an appointment for aromatherapy.
Here is a list of some of the oils you can add to your bath to help relieve depression.
- Clary sage
I am getting married soon and I know I’ll be extremely edgy. Is there any way aromatherapy can help?
I have been asked this so many times! Brides always seem to become edge long before their wedding day, losing weight and sleep. Try any of the relaxing oils listed below in the bath, and if you get very tense then treat yourself to a professional aromatherapy massage or two.
- Peti grain
- Clary sage
On the morning of your wedding have a relaxing aromatherapy bath, and dab one of the uplifting oils, such as tangerine, under your nose. Massage lavender or rose oil up into the back of your neck and base of your skull to ease tension and ward off nervous headache. You should then be all set for a marvelous day!
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