Aromatherapy is a holistic treatment, the aim of which is to produce a physical, spiritual, emotional and mental sense of well-being through inhalation and massage of essential oils. Essential oils are derived from plants and are chosen for their particular therapeutic qualities that are stimulating, refreshing and sedative. Massage is used with the oils to enhance their effectiveness.
Aromatherapy is also referred to as the fragrant art of using socially selected aromatic oils for therapeutic purposes. It is one of the fastest growing complementary therapies in the world and is recognized as one of the most natural and holistic treatments available today.
Essential oils are referred to as the basic materials of the aromatherapist.
They are highly aromatic substances manufactured by plants in special cells. At this stage they are referred to as an essence until they have been extracted by either one of the methods of distillation. They are only then referred to as essential oils. Not all of the oils are referred to as essential oils; it depends on how the oil is extracted.
In the early days man obtained the benefit of these oils by chewing various parts of the plant or tree. Later they made these into teas until they introduced the process of distillation.
Essential oils are obtained from various parts of the plant e.g., bark, flowers, stalks, roots, leaves and resins of trees and plants. Different essential oils are obtained by using different parts of the plant and these will have different therapeutic qualities. Take the orange tree - petitgrain from the leaves and twigs, orange essential oil from the fruit and neroli from the blossom.
IMPORTANT: Particular care should always be taken with pregnancy. Please see notes on contra-indications for each oil.
Some essential oils are not suitable for people with particular health conditions.
Some essential oils are specifically contra-indicated for use with clients who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy, epileptic, asthmatic or suffering from other medical conditions such as cancer.
Clients who are under continuous medical supervision or taking prescribed medication should not use essential oils without the approval of their GP or consultant. Contra-indications must always be followed. The therapist has a responsibility to check for contraindicated oils associated with any conditions the client might have on each and every visit.
Aromatherapy in pregnancy
If the client knows that she is pregnant, aromatherapy treatments should not take place within the first trimester. If the client has a history of miscarriage, aromatherapy treatments are best avoided throughout the entire pregnancy, since it is better to err on the side of caution under these circumstances.