Should aromatherapy and massage be a part of health care?

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As a trained nurse and aromatic medicine practitioner, I would like to share with you what a difference aromatherapy and massage can make to the quality of life for people with chronic illness, the elderly, the palliative, their families and carers.

Incorporating the benefits of aromatherapy with touch is powerfully incredible (or incredibly powerful).  As we journey through life, our needs change.  Aromatherapy and the essential oils work with you through all stages of that journey.

The power of smell

Our sense of smell is powerful and immediate – your body chemistry reacts with the chemical constituents in the plants – essential oils being the life blood of the plants. This assists you in selecting the essential oils you require.  If you like the aroma, then this indicates that it is the best oil or blend of oils for you. Smell association is also a factor in selecting the oil. Aroma often conjures up feelings, events etc from the past that you are comfortable with.

The role of aromatherapy in palliative care

Palliative care aromatherapy and massage work together to bring comfort and quality of life to our palliative client, family and friends alike. It is often difficult for people to say those three words – ‘I Love You’. A gentle hand massage combined with a delightful, beautiful aromatic smelling essential oil or blend does just that!  This is proactive in bringing family and friends together while encompassing and sharing the end of life journey of your ‘loved one’. An example of an essential oil blend that I often use in these instances is a combination of:

Mandarin (Citrus reticulata) – for letting go of any anger, frustration or grief
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) – calming, slows and deepens the breath
Petitgrain (Citrus aurantium/amara) – soothes and relieves anxiety

Be aware, however, that in choosing essential oils, that the medication/s that your client is being administered, do not contain the same chemical constituents – the elimination pathways being the same!  Avoid essential oils that are contraindicated and also be aware that oil and water do not mix and that the ingestion of essential oils is not advised unless under the supervision of a qualified aromatic medicine practitioner.

Discover the difference these actions described above can make.  Enjoy the art of blending. There are so many wonderful combinations with multifunctional chemical properties for many different ailments and uses.  It is lovely to receive and equally as good to apply.

Working holistically on the physical, emotional and the spirit – a wonderful adjunct to conventional treatments.

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