Medicine has made wonderful advances. There is a negative side however, waiting lists, under-funding and doctors and nurses who are overworked and stressed. There is a growing movement back to a more holistic approach, for both mind and body. Complementary Medicine uses natural remedies and treatments.
Far from being new, these are refined versions of skills first used in ancient civilizations. Big business is interested too, reasoning that a relaxed work force is a more efficient one. Some Japanese companies scent the air conditioning with lemon to reduce stress and typing errors! Aromatherapy, which uses aromatherapy and essential oils is an important part of this movement.
I was curious about Aromatherapy and I booked myself a session with my neighbor. Jane is one of many nurses who have left nursing to gain qualifications as a Clinical Aromatherapist. Jane explained that she used pure aromatherapy and essential oils, often administered by massage, in order to work the therapeutic oils into the blood circulation.
Sometimes, patients are asked to simply inhale the oils or have them in the form of compresses, or in baths. Jane mixes her own aromatherapy and essential oils, carefully blending a mixture appropriate to the needs of the patient. I was looking forward to my massage as I was suffering from sciatica and I found the ylang, lavender and lemon very soothing. There is evidence of Aromatherapy being practiced in many early civilizations and it is now enjoying a comeback, even being used in hospitals. It is found to relieve stress, depression and helps to control pain. It’s also used to treat skin problems and to reduce the effects of disease.
The various types of aromatherapy and essential oils have different qualities. For example, lavender is a sedative and rosemary is a stimulant. Jane still finds time to treat residents in a local nursing home, on a voluntary basis. Elderly people, often lonely and depressed, enjoy the physical contact of massage.
Jane has succeeded in alleviating the pain of arthritis and the aggression sometimes associated with Alzheimers disease. One aggressive patient recognized the smell of roses, so Jane used a rose and lavender bath and put lavender on her pillow. After eight massages using a lavender cream mix, she was noticeably less aggressive, and staff at the nursing home continue to apply the lavender cream. Jane told me that so many illnesses are triggered by stress and that’s why aromatherapy and essential oils is so effective.
Jan has a good working relationship with doctors in the area, and always obtains their permission when treating their patients in nursing homes. Jan stressed that anyone seeking treatment should check that the therapist is fully qualified. This advice, of course, applies to any form of therapy. Aromatherapy is perfectly safe in the right hands, but could be harmful if an unqualified person were to use unsuitable oils, for example some aromatherapy and essential oils would not be suitable for epileptics and women in the first four months of pregnancy should not be treated.
So is this a panacea for the strains of modern life? Practitioners are careful not to make claims to cure, only to help. Different treatments can work in tandem with orthodox medicine and are encouraged to do so, especially in the case of serious disorders. Just as it is foolhardy to cut down our natural world which may cradle the cure for cancer or aids, we must not destroy ideas but explore them and that includes the use of aromatherapy and essential oils.