This article gives parents an excellent insight into aromatherapy. It explains how aromatherapy may benefit you and how to access this natural therapy.

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is a fast growing natural therapy that is becoming highly popular with many people. It is a multifaceted healing art, using essential oils to promote a balance of both health of body and serenity of mind, with its foundations dating back thousands of years. Aromatherapy can be fast acting, but it is not a magic potion. It is a form of healing which uses basic senses – mainly smell and touch.

Aromatherapy can improve your health, help you to relax and/or become energised; it can kill germs and bacteria and assist you with releasing stress. The essential oils used in aromatherapy have the ability to heal on all levels – mind, body and soul.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils occur in all parts of plants: the leaves, flowers, fruit, bark, wood, roots and resins. They occur in the plant tissues as tiny odoriferous droplets in special secretory sacs. Essential oils contain the life force of the plant and assist in obtaining ultimate health for physical, emotional, mental and even hormonal states.

Essential oils are 70 times more concentrated than the original plant material and so must be treated with the utmost respect.

Essential oils have many healing properties. As well as being antiviral and antibacterial, they help with skin regeneration, muscular conditions and toxicity, to name but a few. These are all physical conditions, yet there are also many emotional healing properties. The most important of these is the balancing effect they have on the body, since an imbalanced state is the surest way of developing disease.

Always seek the advice of a qualified Aromatherapist when using essential oils or having a massage with oils; especially if you are on medication or suffering from a medical condition.

During pregnancy and breast feeding there are some essential oils which should not be used, so please make sure the Aromatherapist you choose is qualified in this area.

How can aromatherapy help my child?

Aromatherapy can be used on children in a number of ways; essential oils can be applied by massage, helping to alleviate tension in the muscles. They are slowly absorbed through the skin and then into the bloodstream.

With small children, inhalation is a very good way of using aromatherapy. A drop of lavender on the corner of a child’s pillow is a great way of settling a child at night, as is 1-2 drops in a bath, preferably dissolved in some carrier oil or a tablespoon of milk (the fat content helps disperse the oil molecules).

Respiratory ailments can be very distressing and steam vaporisation can help with easing of breathing problems.

Essential oils can be used in room sprays for their disinfecting and antiviral properties and also for mood enhancement. For example, a few drops of eucalyptus in a room spray is helpful for a sick child.

How can aromatherapy help me?

Aromatherapy is used increasingly in pregnancy to help alleviate the uncomfortable conditions, such as varicose veins, aches and pains and tiredness.

It can also be used by adults for digestive problems, headaches and depression, among many other things.

What should I expect during our first visit with an aromatherapist?

When taking a child for an aromatherapy consultation, a case history will be taken. Questions will be asked about any past illnesses, medications taken at that time, the child’s diet and relevant family history. The Aromatherapist will also ask about any operations or fractures. They will note the condition of the skin, any allergies, if the child is currently receiving any other health care and, of course, they will ask about the reason for the consultation.

If the consultation is for your self, then once again the aromatherapist will take a thorough history – be sure to tell the practitioner if there is any possibility that you could be pregnant.

A treatment plan will then be worked out, including methods of application. These can include massage, compresses or inhalation and will be explained very carefully to you.

Your aromatherapist should also explain how to use essential oils safely:

  • Do not use essential oils internally.
  • Do not use on babies without advice from a qualified Aromatherapist.
  • Avoid contact with the eyes.
  • Do not exceed recommended dosages; remember that essential oils are very concentrated, and more is not better.
  • Do not use undiluted on the skin.
  • Do not purchase unless the bottles have a dripulator to restrict the flow.
  • Always store essential oils away from direct sunlight and out of reach of children.
  • Ensure that you have pure essential oils and not fragrant oils. Fragrant oils contain synthetic ingredients, have no healing properties, and can create an irritation.

How do I find a qualified aromatherapist?

To contact or locate a qualified Aromatherapist visit:

www.aromatherapy.org.nz

Given the need for safety guidelines around the use of essential oils for babies and children, it is imperative that you choose a qualified, registered aromatherapist.

How much will aromatherapy cost?

Aromatherapy consultations will vary in cost depending on treatment and any home preparations you wish to purchase. It is advisable to enquire about the costs of consultation prior to your appointment. Some will offer different prices for children and adults.

As a guide, initial consultations start from $40 for approximately 1 hour.

Helpful websites

www.aromatherapy.org.nz

This site has a comprehensive list of registered Aromatherapists throughout New Zealand and features essential oil safety guidelines.

www.aworldofaromatheraphy.com

This site is very easy to navigate and has an excellent list of A – Z ailments and suggested solutions using essential oils, including childbirth. Each of the essential oils is explained in detail, along with ways you can use them. There are also recent articles and recommended reading guides.

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