Aromatherapy may be defined as the therapeutic use of essential oils.

Extensive scientific research into essential oils over many years has shown them to be highly therapeutic most especially when small quantities of good essential oils are used regularly over the long-term.

Oils may be used in massage as well as being formulated into preparations such as creams, ointments and skin oils for therapeutic purposes.  

 

Find out more about:

Origins  of of Aromatherapy

What are essential oils?

How do essential oils work?

Using essential oils 

What people say about individually prescribed aromatherapy remedies

 


 Extensive scientific research into essential oils over many years has shown them to be highly therapeutic especially when small quantities of good quality essential oils are used regularly over the long-term.  

 

Lynne has been treating our family with aromatherapy remedies for over ten years. She is extremely knowledgable and careful about which oils to use for what ailments and in particular what is suitable for children.
 
Her remedies have helped us treat a wide variety of ailments including chest infections, chicken pox, veruccas, scarring and stretch marks, sleep problems, bruising, and molluscum. We use them in conjunction with conventional medicines to aid and speed recovery as well as times when our GP has not been able to offer us any treatment, notably my young daughter's molluscum and chicken pox.
 
My children have used the remedies since they were very young and often ask for one of Lynne's 'special oils' when ill. The "top of the pox" remedy meant that they had no unpleasant itching when suffering from chicken pox and hence have no scarring. 
 
Lynne is extremely professional and takes a genuine interest in her clients overall health and well being, tailoring all her treatments to suit the individual. I have no hesitation in recommending Lynne, her massage and aromatherapy remedies to anyone; they play a vital part of keeping our family happy and healthy.
 
Caroline
 
 

 

Origins of Aromatherapy

The roots of aromatherapy lie in ancient healing practices where for thousands of years aromatic plants were used for medicinal, cosmetic and ritual purposes. The Greeks certainly made infused oils by placing plant material such as herbs or flowers into a vegetable oil, like the culinery infused oils we have today and the use of incense was widespread in the ancient worlds. However, it wasn't until the late tenth century that the Arabic doctor, Avicenna, is reputed to have discovered how to distil essential oils. By the twelfth century the understanding of how to distil, as well as infuse oils, was widespread throughout Europe.

The term 'Aromatherapy' was first coined by a French chemist, Rene Maurice Gattefosse who was researching essential oils in the1920s.  His hand was burnt in a laboratory explosion so he plunged it into some neat lavender oil which was in the laboratory and not only did the hand heal within a few hours but it neither became infected nor left any scarring. He used the word 'aromatherapie' in a scientific paper and, in 1928, published a book of same name.

During the second world war a French army surgeon, Dr Jean Valnet, used essential oils to treat severe burns and battle injuries, later also using them in a psychiatric hospital. In 1964 Valnet published a book also called 'Aromatherapie' which became a classic text. 

However the person responsible for introducing aromatherapy to Britain was Marguerite Maury. As a biochemist rather than a doctor, her work was more cosmetically based and it was she who first used massage to administer essential oils. She trained existing masseurs, who weren't themselves trained in aromatherapy, to work with ready mixed combinations of essential oils, a tradition which continues within beauty therapy training. This is why 'aromatherapy' in Britan is considered synonymous with massage even though the work in France more usually involves the clinical, often internal, use of essential oils.

 . . . .  Over the last 30 years or more aromatherapy has developed extensively. In Britain professional aromatherapists will have attended regulated schools and undertaken extensive training in the clinical knowledge of essential oils and many other aspects of clinical practice as well as massage. They will belong to professional associations and regularly undertake continuing professional development.  

 


 

     What are essential oils? 

Essential oils occur naturally in plants. They are highly aromatic, fulfilling various functions for the plant such as attracting pollinating insects, detering predators and supporting their own 'wellbeing' and self- healing systems.

Oils are made and stored in various parts of plants including wood, bark, roots, stems, leaves, berries, flowers and fruit. Sometimes more than one oil will be found, each from a different part of the same plant as with orange trees which yield Orange (citrus sinensis) from the expressed skin of the fruit, Petitgrain (citrus aurantium var. amara fol) from the leaves and Neroli (citrus aurantium var. amara flos) from the flowers, the oils differing from each other in both aroma and properties.

Essential oils are extracted from plants by steam distillation or, as with the rind of citrus fruits, cold expression of the oil. They are made up mainly of a few simple chemical atoms which in combination produce at least 3000 known different aromatic molecules, each belonging to a recognised chemical group with definable therapeutic actions. Most essential oils are comprised of at least several, in some cases hundreds of different molecules, the oil being a balanced synergy of its components which determine its aroma and effects. 

Each essential oil has its own unique active properties, the chemical composition of each oil varying from plant to plant and often within the same species, such as lavenders and thymes, depending on factors such as location and conditions under which the plant grows.

 


 

How do essential oils work? Extensive scientific research into essential oils over many years has shown them to be highly therapeutic especially when small quantities of good quality essential oils are used regularly over the long-term. 

Extensive scientific research into essential oils and their components over many years has shown them to be highly therapeutic. Most significantly, small quantities of good essential oils used regularly over the long-term are considered to support basic health status, or 'terrain'.

Applied to the skin, oils quickly reach the bloodstream and move rapidly around the entire body. When inhaled, essential oils have an immediate affect on the brain via the olfactory nerves in the nose.

Essential oils not only have physical effects on the body determined by their chemical composition but also exert subtle effects on the mind, the personal response to individual aromas potentially changing at different times in different circumstances. The therapeutic power of essential oils is widely recognised by mainstream western medicine with aromatherapy now being used in many areas from childbirth to cancer care.

Essential oils are unquestionably far more than simply a 'nice smell' and should be regarded and used with great respect for their amazing potential. 

 


 

Using essential oils

Oils may be used in many ways - in massage where aromatherapy is combined with the therapeutic effects of touch, in baths or compresses, for body and face oils, ointments, creams, lotions and gels, inhalations and in oil burners.

A clinical aromatherapist will tailor-make preparations such as creams or oils formulated to treat specific symptoms using good quality oils with precision and should also be able to advise on the use of essential oils in individual circumstances.

Essential oils should only be used on skin if diluted in a base or carrier oil, or similar appropriate medium, unless advised otherwise by a professional aromatherapist. For a bath diluting oils in a tablespoon of full fat milk which is then added to the bath, provides a safe and simple way of dispersing oils with water.

Essential oils should be stored with care to preserve their therapeutic qualities. When exposed to light, heat and/or air oils deteriorate so for home use it is preferable to buy small quantities (5mls) of good quality oil, keep the bottles in a cool dark place and use the oil before it has a chance to deteriorate.