It is said that not only do aromatherapy oils have a beneficial effect on the skin to which they are applied, but they may penetrate down to organ level. In addition, the scent of the oils has an effect on the body's hypothalmus, the part of the brain which influences the hormone system, affecting moods, metabolism, stress levels and libido. Aromatherapy is often used in conjunction with massage, promoting a sense of wellbeing, enhanced by the different properties of certain oils which have been chosen by the aromatherapist to treat the client's individual needs and conditions. Massage will also stimulate the lymph system which encourages the body to eliminate toxins - a health benefit in itself.
Humble as flowers and plants may seem, their essential oils are a storehouse of extraordinary medicinal and therapeutic power known to the ancient cultures of China and Egypt and first introduced to Europe by the Crusaders in the Middle Ages. Most recently, it has been the French who have explored the possibilities of essential oils, creating what is modern aromatherapy.
What to Expect
A trained aromatherapist will always precede any treatment with an in-depth consultation, asking various lifestyle questions and ascertaining what it is you want to achieve: this could be improvement of a health problem, or to counter any anxieties you may have, or simply to enjoy an all-round tonic. It is vital that the aromatherapist knows if you are pregnant, epileptic, or have high blood pressure or any other ongoing medical condition. Your therapist will also need to know about any medication you may be taking. For aromatherapy massage, you may be asked to remove clothing down to underwear and depending on the type of treatment agreed with the therapist, to sit or lie on a couch. Towels are always provided and respect for your personal space is a prerequisite.In addition to working on the body, the face may be included. Aromatherapy oils are widely available (follow instructions carefully), and can be used at home for massage, in baths, or as inhalations.
Training & Colleges
Accreditation is usually the result of approximately 180 hours' study at a college, often in conjunction with training in anatomy and physiology. This is approximately 9 months study plus 50 supervised treatment hours. Qualifications are usually awarded by the individual training establishment and on presentation of this to the accrediting body the therapist may gain membership of the relevant association. For instance SPCertA is a Shirley Price Aromatherapy Certificate. The holder may then join the ISPA, the accrediting association.