Tag Archives: aromatherapy

Optimal Health Look after yourself

Look after yourself

To look after yourself and maintain optimal health and well-being you have to take some responsibility for your own health. You might like to consider some of the following.  These techniques cost very little in terms of money or time.


Most people will improve their general health simply by drinking more water.  Good hydration encourages good drainage of the lymph system, and enables the body to excrete waste products and toxins out of the body cells more effectively; it enables nutrients to be more easily absorbed into the cells.

All the health and beauty magazines advise you to drink water.  Ideally a person should drink 25 ml per kilogram of body weight per day (so a 60 kg person should drink 60 x 25 ml = 1500ml or 1.5 litres per day).  This would increase the more physically active you are or depending on your work environment.  Bottled water is best.  Tap water is OK, but is full of chlorine, metals, antibiotics and hormones etc., and will become unpalatable once you are used to the real thing! Tea, coffee and fizzy drinks etc. are not utilised by the body in the same way.  Many of these drinks contain additives, preservatives, sweeteners or sugar that upset normal metabolism.

Yoga Exercises – for flexibility of body and mind.

By stretching the muscles and tissues of the body, energy flows more freely.  Ten or fifteen minutes of stretching in the morning is a great way to start the day, and the more often you do it, the better you’ll feel.

Always move gently from one position to the next and don’t over-stretch.  None of these exercises should cause pain or discomfort.

Salute to the sun

  1. Stand relaxed, feet together, hands together as if praying.
  2. Breathe in.  Stretch arms high above head, bending gently backwards.
  3. Breathe out.  Bend forwards, starting with the head bent, then the neck, upper back and lower back.  Arms hang loosely downwards towards the feet.  Feel each of the vertebrae stretching as you bend forwards.  Bend knees, if necessary, until your hands touch the floor.
  4. Breathe in.  Left leg moves back, right knee bends at right angles as if on the starting blocks for a race.  Head raised.
  5. Breathe out.  Hands on the floor, feet on the floor, lift bottom into the air making a right-angle at the waist.  Head drops down relaxed.
  6. Breathe in.  Lying flat on the floor, hands level with shoulders, push up so that your shoulders are off the floor while your hips are still touching the floor.  Head up.
  7. Breathe out.  Position (e), – bottom in the air.
  8. Breathe in.  Bring right leg forwards and go into Position (d) – starting blocks.
  9. Breathe out.  Position (c) – standing, bent over, hands hanging towards the floor.
  10. Breathe in.  Slowly stand up straight.  Stretch arms high above head, bending gently backwards – position (b).
  11. Breathe out and return to starting position, feet together, hands together as if praying.

Spine rotations and stretches

  1. Feet fixed firmly on the ground, legs shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent.  Keeping knees and hips facing forwards, rotate body first to the right, then to the left.  Allow relaxed arms to windmill around the body.  Turn the head and neck fully in direction of rotation. Repeat 15-30 times.  This helps to loosen up the spine.
  2. Feet apart, knees slightly bent.  Fold arms.  Bend forward, slowly flexing the neck, upper spine then lower spine.  Head down and dip gently in the middle 5 – 10 times.  Move your arms and body and dip to the left 5 – 10 times, to the right 5 – 10 times.  Finish off with 5 – 10 dips in the middle.  Notice how much further you can now bend.
  3. Stand with arms at sides.  Breathe in and lift arms forward and up above your head.  Breathe out and bring your arms backwards behind you and back to your sides.  Repeat 5 – 10 times.
  4. Keeping torso vertical, arms out to the sides, put one leg straight out behind you and bend the other knee in front of you.  Dip in the middle towards the ground 5 – 10 times.


We are what we eat.  Like the computer – garbage in = garbage out, i.e. no energy and no productivity.

Processed and refined foods are a poor source of nutrition.  If possible food should be freshly cooked.  Include plenty of fruit and vegetables and whole-wheat products rather than refined alternatives – (at least 50% of the diet should be raw foods).

Consider eating organic foods – we already have, on average, 500+ different pesticides in our bodies impairing our health!

Food combining is another option for some – by not mixing protein and carbohydrate at the same meal, some people feel more energetic.

Supplements such as antioxidants and fish oil are highly recommended to make up for the deficiencies in our diet today.

Your blood group may affect your ability to metabolise certain foods.  Type O tends to be intolerant of wheat and cow’s milk;  type A tends to be intolerant of red meats.

Meditation / Relaxation

There are many different meditation and relaxation techniques which you can use, e.g. the Silva technique, visualisation exercises, etc.  Do two 15 minute meditation or relaxation sessions a day to calm you down and replenish your energy.

Exercise with attitude

Don’t give yourself a hard time!  Whatever you do, enjoy it e.g. if you go running, don’t always make it a time trial.  Enjoy the fresh air.

Treat yourself well at bath and shower time.

Use aromatherapy oils in the bath.  In the shower, stand tall and be aware of your aura growing as you breathe in.  When you breathe out, let your stresses and worries go down the plughole.

Massage the tension out of your muscles and smooth out the worry lines in your face.

Language and self-talk

The way we talk to ourselves determines how we feel about ourselves.  Use positive language – “good”, “clever”, rather than negative language – “bad”, “stupid”.  If you make a mistake, rather than saying “I was stupid”, acknowledge it by saying, “that wasn’t very clever”.  Next time someone asks you how you feel, rather than saying, “not bad”,

try saying, “Pretty good thank you”.  If your not feeling good you can always say, “Could be better”.  See how different you feel using different expressions.  Use positive language with other people, especially your loved ones – they will feel better, and you will feel better.


It is important to have goals – to know what you really want for yourself.  You will feel more fulfilled if you know that you are doing what is right for you.  Your goal may be to be a nurse, it may be to work with children, it may be to start a charity for refugees, or to be a show-jumper, or to create beautiful gardens or it may be to be a mother (or father).  If you are on the path towards fulfilling your goal, life becomes a whole lot easier.

Complementary therapies

If you think you are getting really out of balance, e.g. feeling over-stressed and anxious, treat yourself to a massage, or Reiki, kinesiology, reflexology, aromatherapy etc. – they really help.

Your GP

See your GP if it is appropriate – if you have a sudden illness or unexplained pain.  Be good to yourself – if you are unwell, get treatment.

Aromatherapy for Sports People

Aromatherapy for Sports

I work alongside the physiotherapist of a successful, Junior League, football club, it was agreed that it would be of  interest to see if the introduction of essential oils into my sports massage work would make any perceptible difference to the players.

The normal routine for the players is to play their game on Saturdays and have two practice sessions per week, Mondays and Wednesdays from approximately 6pm until 9pm. I decided to recruit from the players that were most often in for treatment.

Peter was a prime candidate. He never appeared to have any actual injuries, but tended to request massage because of tight hamstrings and calf muscles or painful lower back, neck or shoulders. He exercises every day and, generally, keeps in good health although he has a record of contracting colds.  We agreed that for the next five practice evenings we would both make time and I would give him an aromatherapy massage, to legs, back, neck and shoulders.

Treatment Plan: 

The first priority, for Peter, was the reduction of stiffness in his calf muscles and hamstrings, with a lessening of the pain in the lumber region, neck and shoulders. It was also important to boost his immune system.

I decided to carry out aromatherapy massage to his calf muscles, hamstring, back, neck and shoulders, blending 5 drops each of black pepper (piper nigrum), sweet marjoram (origanum marjorana) and rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) in 25mls of grapeseed oil (3% dilution). All three essential oils have analgesic properties and should help with tired, tight and painful muscles.

I also provided a mix of rosemary, sweet marjoram and grapefruit (citrus paradisi) in a shower base cream to be used after training and other exercise sessions. Use a 3% dilution, 10 drops of each in 50mls of base cream. Grapefruit is particularly good for breaking down lactic acid after exercise.

The first three sessions: I did lots of effleurage and worked deeply into the areas where Peter had muscle spasm. I did a good deal of stripping out of the muscles, followed by more effleurage then tapotement. Peter found that even after one treatment there was much less tightness in his muscles, he thought he moved more easily during practice. He felt the shower preparation gave him a real lift and the grapefruit certainly did not keep him from sleeping at night.  By the end of first three sessions, Peter thought his back pain was almost gone and he had a lot more movement in his neck and shoulders muscles. His legs lost the tightness.

Fourth & fifth sessions:  On the fourth treatment session, I replaced the black pepper with tea tree (melaleuca alternifolia). The treatment for the muscular pain and spasm was going well and I was keen to use the tea tree to help boost Peter’s immune. We stayed with the tea tree on the fifth treatment, and Peter was delighted with his increased flexibility, he had no pain at all in his back, neck or shoulders and the tightness was almost gone in his legs. He said he was feeling great.

Aromatherapy a natural holistic therapy


Aromatherapy is a natural holistic therapy, which combines the healing power of massage and the aromatic fragrances of essential oils gathered from plants.  It is well documented that certain smells produce psychological changes in us, changing our mood, and can then lead to physiological change – for example when we smell food, as well as the psychological effect of salivation we start to feel hungry.  The fragrances that are produced by some plants are potent, volatile essences hidden in tiny glands within plants, containing powerful properties used in aromatherapy to increase vitality and health.

The skin readily absorbs essential oils, with their many therapeutic properties while the essences are also inhaled, having a subtle effect on the mind and body.

The health of our bodies, minds, and spirits can benefit in innumerable ways from these very natural, potent organic plant chemicals.  Some of the various properties are:

  • Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral qualities.
  • Support of the immune system; supporting all the body systems – hormonal, glandular, emotional, circulatory, and nervous.
  • They can have a positive effect on memory and induce heightened awareness.
  • They can be used as a soporific and assist in calming the mind and helping us to sleep.


Despite this being a very ancient art our knowledge of its full potential is still in its infancy.

What to expect during treatment

Normally, before the start of your first treatment, a questionnaire (of any medical history) will have to be completed, the therapist will then be able to choose the most suitable essential oils to suit your individual needs.  The mixture of oils is chosen for your present condition and can change throughout any treatment course.

Once the initial consultation is over, you will be given privacy to undress, to your underwear, before lying on the treatment couch, covered with a towel. During treatment, only the body parts that are being currently worked on will be uncovered.

After the first treatment you will often be given an aftercare leaflet and a treatment plan will be discussed.