This year, I’ve been giving more thought and consideration to my wellness and well-being. I recently wrote a blog post about the six aspects of wellness and my journey to finding it. It was well received and seemed to strike a chord with a lot of people. I really only touched upon it though, after all, there are entire organisations, books and theses dedicated to the topic of wellness. But writing it has made me even more curious. And I’m keen to find out more. Since then, I’ve taken steps big and small to help me reach my goal of optimum wellness.
My biggest take-home message from that post though, is that every one of the six aspects of wellness, (intellectual, occupational, emotional, spiritual, social and physical), is essential. But there is overlap. It’s surprising just how many small things will benefit one or more aspects. Now, this may only be temporary; a stepping stone perhaps. But so long as it’s a step in the right direction, then surely that has to be good.
One such thing is aromatherapy.
What Is Aromatherapy?
I’ve always had an interest in aromatherapy. Or, perhaps more accurately, I’ve always enjoyed scented candles and fragrances. It was only when I went for a massage that I began to think about how aromatherapy actually works. Why is it so beneficial?
Aromatherapy harnesses the natural fragrances of essential oils in plants to help enhance and balance the mind and body. Essential oils consist of tiny aromatic molecules that are readily absorbed through the skin and inhaled via the nose and the lungs. The aroma sends a signal directly to the limbic system of the brain which is responsible for the sense of smell. The limbic centre is also responsible for emotions and memory. That’s why essential oils have such a powerful effect on mood and general state of mind.
The molecules that get absorbed through the skin, enter the bloodstream and get carried around the body. They help kill bacteria and viruses and can stimulate the body’s immune system. Essential oils ease muscular aches, improve circulation and help clear sinus congestion.
Aw well as treating specific symptom or pain, aromatherapy is widely used as a complimentary therapy, designed to treat the whole person,
Essential Oils And Their Uses
It’s useful to understand the different properties of essential oils so to create tailor-made blends for inhalations, massage or vapourisation. These can be used anywhere; at home, at work or when travelling.
Relaxing oils such as lavender, sweet marjoram, clary sage, sandalwood, chamomile, frankincense and ylang ylang stimulate a neuro-chemical called serotonin. The body naturally produces serotonin to help relaxation and induce sleep. Rose absolute and cardamon help soothe tension and bitter orange helps to fight feelings of frustration and anger. These oils are invaluable in helping insomnia, stress and tension.
Lemon, ginger and cinnamon are known for their energising and restorative qualities. They ward off fatigue. Peppermint, eucalyptus and rosemary boost mental alertness, concentration and reaction times. Eucalyptus and peppermint oils are powerful respiratory decongestants too. In fact, peppermint is quite the hero, because it also soothes indigestion. Ginger is also very good for upset tummies. Some oils are pure enough to be ingested and taken orally in a tisane or tea or added to hot water. This of course, needs careful research beforehand.
So you can see from this merest of summaries, just how exciting the topic of aromatherapy is. And if you don’t have the time or inclination to mix your own blends, then candles, pillow mists, diffusers and body oils are great ways of introducing essential oils in a “ready-made” form. That’s all I’ve done so far, but I’m keen to get a diffuser/vapouriser so I can start a little mixology.
Earlier this month, my friend and beauty therapist Yvette Greenway of Feel Good Therapy, invited me for an aromatherapy massage. She has just started using DoTerra essential oils and wanted a guinea pig. I go regularly for waxing and tinting, but it’s rare that I have an indulgent treatment, like a facial or massage, so I was VERY happy to oblige.
Massage is one of the best ways to enjoy aromatherapy and I happen to think that a professional aromatherapy massage will benefit anyone who is receptive. Not only do you get the therapeutic properties of the essential oils, but you benefit from the massage itself. The therapeutic action of the essential oils combined with massage, stimulate the organs plus the skin, muscles, nerves and glands. The increased circulation of the blood and lymph flow helps to eliminate toxins. And how wonderful is it to stop and lie down for a short while?
DoTerra Essential Oils
I’d like to tell you a little bit about DoTerra, because it’s the brand I had for my massage. DoTerra provides the purest and highest quality essential oils. This commitment led to a new standard of therapeutic quality: CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®. The CPTG process certifies that there are no added fillers, synthetic ingredients, or harmful contaminants in their essential oils. And that’s rather good to know.
The DoTerra massage is gentle, calming and balancing. It isn’t like a remedial sports massage for example, involving deep tissue and “strong” hands. Yvette used eight different essential oils including frankincense, lavender, wild orange, blue tansy and cypress. I could smell each one individually, and all were lovely. Music to my nose as it were. She used gentle strokes down my back, legs and feet and although I didn’t drift off, it was relaxing and soothing. I felt balanced and calm, yet energised afterwards.
I felt “right.”
Although, the gorgeous room itself seems to have magical, healing properties…
Perhaps the most important and obvious aspect of wellness is health. Physical wellness. Just over two months ago, I wrote about my heavy bleeding and the hysteroscopy investigation into it. As I expected, the results showed that there was nothing abnormal or sinister. However, the gynaecologist referred me for a uterine ablation under general anaesthetic. I had it done last week. The operation went well and I’m feeling almost back to normal- just a little tired. I’ll know the extent of its success after 6-8 weeks, so I’ll write about it in detail then. In the meantime, thank you so much for the good wishes, here, by email and on Instagram. I’m grateful and very touched.
Have a lovely weekend,