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What is ‘Bespoke Aromatherapy?’

Bespoke aromatherapy products

Bespoke aromatherapy is quite simply, aromatherapy as it should be. Essential oils tailored for you and you alone.

We are all different, with different circumstances, different health needs and different preferences. So it stands to reason that we would get better far results, when the products we use are specially formulated with our own needs in mind. Whether that’s a sleep aid, skin product, bath product, inhaler or massage oil, the results will be far greater, if the oils are chosen specifically for us.

Essential oils too are all different. They have different benefits, different qualities and different safety requirements. So as you can imagine there is no ‘one size fits all’, when it comes to aromatherapy blends.

No doubt in the past you’ve picked up a product, looked at the ingredients but been unsure whether or not one or more of those ingredients was right for you. Perhaps you have allergies or medical conditions and you know that some products are just not suitable. This is where a Bespoke service comes into its own. You can have a product, made to your own specifications, with your best interests in mind. If there’s an ingredient you don’t want, you don’t have to have it. There are always alternatives that are no doubt more appropriate for you.

As a qualified aromatherapist with over 20 years of experience in aromatherapy and plant medicine, I have been providing individual bespoke treatments to my clients face to face. Fortunately, due to advances in communication technology, I can now offer my bespoke services to people outside of my local area.

 

How do our online Bespoke services work

The Bespoke service begins with a full consultation. A consultation form will be emailed to you, which you will then need to complete and return. This will be followed by a 20-minute call via Zoom or Messenger or by telephone, if video is not possible. This process is essential, so that I can better understand what your needs are. Both from a health perspective but also in terms of your own preferences.

Then, using my expertise and the information you have provided, I will decide on and make up an appropriate blend for you. Of course, I don’t have to choose all the ingredients for you. If there is something in particular you would like to be included in your blend, this can be arranged, as long it is safe to do so.

You can use this service as a one off blend. Or if we are addressing a specific issue or problem, we can progress your treatment over time. Tweaking and updating your blend, as your needs change.

To book your Bespoke Aromatherapy treatment simply click here

 

Stephanie Cahill-Jackson is fully qualified in plant medicine and aromatherapy. And has been working face to face with clients for over 20 years.

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Aromatherapy & the mind: My top 10 essential oils for stress

AROMATHERAPY & THE MIND:  My top 10 essential oils for stress

As we go about our daily lives, we experience many different emotions.   Some good, such as excitement, happiness, love, serenity and hope.  And some not so good, like sadness, grief, irritation, stress and anger.  It’s perfectly normal for us to have these feelings, even the negative ones.  As they are important for our survival and help us to deal with difficult situations.  However, sometimes we may find ourselves becoming overwhelmed by these emotions and that’s when they become a problem.  Chronic stress, anxiety, tension and depression can all eventually lead to bad health.  So it makes sense to nip them in bud as soon as possible.

Aromatherapy is a great way to do this.  It’s not only relatively safe but it’s a very pleasant way to deal with unpleasant situations.

Essential oils are highly concentrated plant chemicals. And just a few drops of the oils can have powerful mood altering effects.

When we inhale the scent of essential oils, the aroma is carried directly to the brain.  In particular,  to an area known as the Limbic system.  The part of our brain which effects emotions.  This results in the release of various neurochemicals and hormones.

The oils all have different qualities and benefits, so here is a quick summary of some of my favourite mood enhancing oils:

 

ROSE

Rose absolute is extracted from rose petals and has a floral aroma, that is both soothing and calming for the nerves. It has an uplifting quality which makes it great  for depression and grief.  In fact, one particular study found it be particularly useful in the management of postnatal depression.

LAVENDER

Also extracted from flowers, the floral aroma of lavender oil invokes a sense of calmness and relaxation.    It is mostly used for sleep issues and mental restlessness.  And can be particularly good for anxiety and general tension.

FRANKINCENSE

Frankincense oil is extracted from the resin of the Frankincense tree.  It has strong spiritual connections, having been used in religious ceremonies worldwide.  And it’s reputed to aid meditation, focus the mind and invoke a feeling of peace and calmness.  Also great for anxiety and stress.

BERGAMOT

Bergamot essential oil is extracted from the bergamot fruit and has a sweet smelling citrusy aroma.  It has been found to exert a relaxing effect on the central nervous system, making it useful for stress, anxiety and depression.  It’s also uplifting and energizing.

GERANIUM

Geranium essential oil, is extracted from the stems and leaves of the plant.  It has a pleasantly uplifting aroma and is said to brighten the mood, lift depression and reduce stress.  A recent study also concluded, that it may be beneficial for neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimers.

CHAMOMILE

Chamomile has a calming, mild sedative effect on the mind  and is ideal for feeling of panic, anxiety and stress.  It is a general relaxant and particularly useful for stress conditions related to the gut.

CEDARWOOD

Cedarwood also has sedative properties, so it can be helpful for sleep issues.  It calms and soothes the mind and is great for generalised anxiety and stress. It is also claimed to calm anger and irritation.

JASMINE

Jasmine invokes a feeling of happiness, which can lift the mood and help depression.  It boosts serotonin, the happy hormone and can help you to relax and prepare for a good nights sleep.

YLANG YLANG

Ylang Ylang also has a pleasant, floral aroma, which is both soothing and slightly sedating.   It helps with depression  and sadness by lifting the mood and also lowers stress levels.

SWEET ORANGE

Like many of the citrus oils, Sweet Orange has an uplifting, cheering quality.  It can evoke happy feelings, so it’s great for both anger and depression and for whenever you need to give your mood a boost.

 

So the next time you find yourself overwhelmed by negative emotions. Consider reaching for one of the above essential oils, to restore calm to your day.

 

If you’d like to try out some of these aromatherapy oils for yourself, why not start with a long relaxing soak in one of our Bath Soaks

or maybe fill your home with the uplifting aromas of our Aromatherapy Room mists

 

REFERENCES

https://www.fht.org.uk/system/files/field/article-files/research_lavender_sleep.pdf

Conrad P, et al. The effects of clinical aromatherapy for anxiety and depression in the high-risk postpartum woman – a pilot study. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2012 Aug;18(3):164-8.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25824404

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13880209509065363

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464609000796

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050104112140.htm

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13880208809053923

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16807875

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Essential Oils – What they are and how to use them

ESSENTIAL OILS – What they are and how to use them

 

20170316_131356Over 20 years ago I received a gift.  A gift which I think it’s fair to say, changed the course of my life.  It was an essential oils starter kit, together with the book “Practical Aromatherapy” by Shirley Price.  I had no idea back then, that 20 years later I would actually be an Aromatherapist, producing my own range of Aromatherapy products.  In fact, a lot has changed since then, both with me and with the world around me.  Yet despite that, sometimes when I smell Ylang Ylang, I am reminded of that exact time 20 years ago, when I opened my first ever bottle of Ylang Ylang essential oil.  No doubt you’ve experienced something similar, when a familiar smell, evoked past memories and instantly took your mind back to that time and place.

Scent memory is perhaps one of the strongest feelings we experience.  And no matter how many years have passed, often the feeling associated with the smell can be just as strong.  This incredible process is controlled by the Limbic system.  The part of the brain responsible for emotions and memories and it’s one of reasons why essential oils can be so beneficial.  When we smell an essential oil, the scent is picked up by the neurons in the olfactory centre and transported to the brain. The brain then stimulates the release of hormones and neurotransmitters into the bloodstream. This can lead to a number of effects, such as happiness, stimulation, relaxation, calmness or other mood changes.  In fact, such is the power of these aromatic oils that, they are being used for their healing properties all around the world.

I still have that book and refer to it often, although admittedly it is well thumbed now.  And over the years my essential oil collection has grown from those 8 mini bottles that I first started out with, to a collection of over 50 different essential oils, all amazing and all different.

 

SO WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?

Essential oils are not actually oils at all, at least not in the way we think of oils.  They don’t have the same greasy feel as oil, but they have been classified as oils because they’re not water soluble.  They are extracted from aromatic plant parts, including flowers, herbs, trees and fruit, using either cold pressing or steam distillation techniques.

Some plants contain lots of essential oil (e.g. citrus fruits), whilst in others the yield is fairly small in comparison and so the price of essential oils can vary greatly.

The oils are categorised into either TOP, MIDDLE or BASE notes and a well – rounded aromatherapy blend would consist of oils from each note. oils

TOP NOTES are generally light and stimulating. They are usually the first note you will detect in a blend.  Citrus oils can be found in this category.

MIDDLE NOTES are considered balancing and are usually floral or leafy.

BASE NOTES are usually woody, earthy or resinous and have a deeper, longer lasting aroma.

Essential oils are susceptible to heat, light and oxygen so they need to be stored in a cool, dark place, preferable in dark glass and always tightly sealed.  If left out in the open air they will evaporate over time.  They should never be stored in plastic containers as they are so strong that they will penetrate the plastic container.  Which will eventually lead to degradation of the plastic and possible contamination.  We use glass containers where possible for our aromatherapy products to ensure that this isn’t a problem.

 

HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils are versatile and can used in a number of ways.  They enter the body / bloodstream either through inhalation or through skin absorption or both together of course.  Here are a few of usual ways in which they are used: 20170305_150210

INHALATION – whether in a diffuser / oil burner, scented candle, room spray / spritzer, sachet or directly with an aromatherapy inhaler. This is a great way to surround yourself with your favourite aromas.

MASSAGE / SKIN APPLICATION –  diluted essential oils can be used to enhance a massage treatment.   Or they can be added to a salve, balm, cream or oil, specifically to apply to problem areas.

BATHS – this method works in a similar way to the skin application, as the oil is absorbed through the skin, whilst also be inhaled.

Essential oils should always be diluted before applying to the skin.  In fact, even when used in the bath the oils need to be blended with a carrier oil first.  Oil and water do not mix, so the oil will sit on top of the water rather than dispersing.  So to avoid neat essential oil coming into contact with the skin, you will need to dilute it first.

When diluting essential oil in a carrier oil, a good ratio to use is 12 drops of essential oil to 25ml carrier, although this would need to be reduced for children, the elderly or vulnerable individuals.

Which leads us to…

 

ESSENTIAL OIL SAFETY

20160705_093845Essential oils are made up of phytochemicals, some of which you may have heard of such as menthol, which is present in peppermint.  Chemicals are not exclusive to synthetic items, they are all around us in nature (think back to your school science classes and the periodic table).  All living things are made up of chemicals and so are plants and some of these chemicals are very potent, in fact too potent.

For this reason, it is also important to consider the safety of a particular oil before using it and also the dosage. Some plants are simply too toxic to be used in aromatherapy at all (e.g. camphor, pennyroyal, wintergreen).  And others which may generally be safe to use for most, may cause problems with certain medical conditions or medication (e.g. rosemary).   This is why it is important to either ask the advice of a trained Aromatherapist or do your research before embarking on the use of essential oils.

Another important thing to remember is that essential oils are highly concentrated.  One drop packs a mighty punch, so they should be used sparingly.  In fact in many cases, with regard to essential oils, less really is more, not just in terms of safety but in scent terms too.

And never ingest the oil.  Some sources claim that essential oils can be added to food & drinks to enhance the body. But due to the risk of damage to the mucous membranes of the gut, it is safer to refrain from such practice.

And as you would with any medication, keep out of reach of children and pets.

 

When formulating my products, I take great care to ensure that they are completely safe.  Using correct dosages, safe and non-phototoxic oils, so that they can be enjoyed by all with no risks.  However, if you have a condition you should always check the ingredients, to ensure that the product is the right one for you.  And in the case of home fragrancing products, also take into consideration the people around you.  Is the essential oil right for them too. That said however, essential oils can be a valuable addition to any household for health and wellbeing, provided they are used responsibly and safely.

 

 

References:

Limbic system info http://www.suzannebovenizer.com/aromatherapy-essential-oils/the-limbic-system

PRICE.S. (1993) Practical Aromatherapy Harper Collins

TISSERAND. R. (1989) The Art of Aromatherapy The CWDaniel Co Ltd

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