The practice of Aromatherapy involves the use of essential plant oils to improve health and prevent disease. The oils are administered by massage, inhalations, compresssions and baths. The beginnings of aromatherapy practice can be traced back at least 4000 years and is today one of the most popular complementary therapies.

Essential oils, produced from various parts of plants, are a complex mixture of chemicals. The oil enters the body by inhalation and is transferred to the blood stream via the lungs. They give rise to chemical changes within the brain which rapidy affect moods and emotions. As well as producing sensations of well being and calm, essential oils can also be used to increase lactation, increase or decrease libido and the release of the body's natural painkillers, endorphins.

Essential oils are used by the therapist in many different ways:

  • By massage. A few drops of an essential oil are added to a base oil such as sweet almond and massaged into the skin.
  • In baths where a few drops of essential oil are added to a drawn bath and the person bathes for 15-20 minutes.
  • In compressions where drops of essential oil are added to water and a cloth is soaked and applied to an affected area.
  • By inhalations where a few drops of essential oil are added to very hot water and the person inhales the rising steam.
  • Vaporisation where a few drops of essential oil are added to water in a holder above the flame of a candle and the resulting evaporation fills the room with fragrance.
  • Douches used for urinogenital conditions where drops of essential oil are added to boiled, cooled water and used as an external wash.
  • The therapist may use a patch test to determine sensitivity to a particular essential oil. Usually a session will last approximately 30 minutes although if a massage treatment is given this will extend the session to around an hour.
  • Because Aromatherapy uses potent substances you should always consult a qualified Aromatherapist. Some essential oils are best avoided during pregnancy or whilst breastfeeding.