What Kind Of Oils Are Used?
At Stepping Stones we use essential oils extracted from plants (organic essential oils) which possess distinctive therapeutic properties that have a positive impact on both Physiological & Psychological levels.
When saying essential oils or Aromatherapy, it might make you think that this treatment works solely through the aromas (the smell of plants). However, although the smell of a plant or herb is very important for the therapy to be effective (for example if a patient doesn’t like the smell of an oil, the treatment is unlikely to work very well!) it is not the only factor to be considered.
What Conditions Can Be Treated With Aromatherapy?
Essential oils are very complex chemical structures, as too is the human body - as it is a complex chemical structure full of fluids, especially water. It is therefore logical that essential oils are likely to affect our own body chemistry.
General Effects of Aromatherapy includes:
- Reduction in stress & tension
- Feeling of well-being, balance & calm
- Antibacterial effects of oil helps the body to heal & support the immune system
1. Smell / Inhalation - where the oil’s molecules send a message to the brain and nerves which in response allows them to pass into the bloodstream via the lungs and respiratory system.
2. Absorption through the skin where the oil’s molecules enter the tiny pores of the epidermis (skin’s surface layer) as well as penetrating to the hair follicles and the sweat glands. From here they enter blood capillaries in the skin’s second layer (dermis). Once the oils reaches the blood and the circulation it is transported around the whole body.
Ingestion (swallowing them) is considered unsafe and not recommended due to high concentration, possible toxicity, and chemical reaction to the enzymes in the stomach.
What Conditions Can Be Treated With This Type of Therapy?
Though the effect of a particular oil is generally integral (each oil properties applies to the whole body not just one part) on a more general note to mention few of them will be:
1. The skin will benefit gaining:
- Improved circulation through the massage bringing fresh nutrients to the tissues and removing waste products.
- Improved elasticity which helps to improve healing of scar tissue, reduce stretch marks, increased softness and suppleness.
- Faster desquamation which encourages the growth of the new cells, promoting a healthier clearer skin tone.
- Hypotensive Oils - lowers blood pressure and are very efficient for treating high blood pressure (hypertension). Hypotensive oils include Lavender, Marjoram, Ylang Ylang and Lemon.
- Hypertensive Oils - low blood pressure is as dangerous as high blood pressure and hypertensive oils help to stimulate and invigorate the circulation. Hypertensives include Rosemary, Black Pepper, Eucalyptus and Ginger.
- Tonics - oils with a tonic cooling effect have an opposite effect to that of rubefacient oils. They help to constrict capillaries thus reducing swellings and inflammations. Tonics include Cypress, Lemon and Clary-Sage
- Rubefacient oils - also known as warming oils, these oils warm the tissues in the area of applications. This allows the blood vessels in that area to dilate, enabling a more efficient circulation. Thus the delivery of oxygen and food and the removal of the waste are faster, helps to speed up healing. Rubefacient include Black Pepper, Rosemary, Ginger, Lemon and Eucalyptus.
4. Aromatherapy can relax an overactive nervous system and, where pain is felt, slow down the reaction of pain receptors and therefore reduce the pain:
- Analgesics: German and Roman Chamomile, Lavender and Rosemary
- Antispasmodic: calm nerves which tell muscles to go into spasm: Lavender & Marjoram
- Sedatives: slow down activity thus help relieve insomnia, stress, tension: Bergamot and Ylang Ylang
How Is It Performed?
Aromatherapy massage is concerned with relaxing and helping the body with certain physical and emotional condition. There are two main techniques used:
1. Relaxing Effleurage - smooth, gentle and soothing stroke
2. Petrissage - a more forceful, thorough kneading and compression movement.
Depending on the condition and the patient’s goal the treatment can involve vibration, pressure points techniques, and passive joint movements to improve mobility and release tension.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage might make the perfect combination between Aromatherapy and Massage. All you need to do is to lay on the bed relax your body and allow your mind to take a break...
Is There Anyone Who Shouldn’t Have This Type of Therapy?
Even though the essential oils are never used neat, still extra care must be taken.
No essential oil should be used during pregnancy as all of them have strong influence on the endocrine system - influences hormonal levels and on reproductive system – provokes menstruation.
There is also a restriction for those with sensitive skin (particular oils are not recommended in this case – Basil Black Pepper, Peppermint, Ginger, Lemon, Orange, Thyme etc) or skin allergies in which case a skin test is recommended)
Certain oils make the skin more sensitive to ultraviolet light and should be avoided before exposure to sunlight or before going on a sunbed.
Specific condition such as Epilepsy or Liver disorders give restrictions from using certain oils.
In conclusion - if you are pregnant and past your first trimester go for a Pregnancy Massage and keep yourself and your baby safe, otherwise please make sure to mention to your Aromatherapist about skin type, any allergies and specifically if you suffer from epilepsy or liver disorders.
How Often Can I Have This Treatment?
Aromatherapy massage can be done as often as three times a week or just once a month for relaxation purposes.
To find out how often you should have Aromatherapy take into consideration your general health condition both physically and emotionally.
An additional use of essential oils can be carried out at home. The most common methods are baths (mix up no more than 6 drops of essential oils to an emulsifier and add the mixture to the water before soaking yourself in it), vaporisers (electric diffusers or oil burners) or Inhalation (essential oils can be added to very hot water and then inhaled into the steam).