Heaven Scent By Sara Niven
1st Jun 2018
With Aromatherapy Awareness Week (from 12th-16th June) coming up, Beauty Editor and Counsellor Sara Niven discusses the benefits of aromatherapy.
If you’ve ever been instantly transported back in time by a whiff of a once familiar aftershave or the fragrance of a certain suntan lotion, you’ll appreciate the power of our sense of smell.
Essential oils additionally are seen as having therapeutic benefits and Aromatherapy Awareness Week (from 12th-16th June) highlights a therapy based on our absorption of these natural plant oils, either from breathing them in (the olfactory-brain connection), absorbing them through the skin or both.
Scientifically the jury may still be out on the exact nature and extent of these benefits. Historically, aromatherapy can claim centuries of anecdotal evidence (Australian aborigines used Tea tree oil to treat various ills for hundreds of years for starters) but published research is limited and it can be difficult to quantify emotional effects in a medically provable way. To date however lavender and rosemary have been reported as having the ability to reduce the stress hormone cortisol whilst a four-week trial comparing aromatherapy massage with massage using plain oil found those having the aromatherapy version reported decreased anxiety levels compared to the control group.
Personally, regardless of any scientific studies I’m a sucker for a nice smell and would rather use products that have that due to natural essential oils as oppose synthetics. Adding an essential oil to a burner uplifts me in a way no chemical air freshener could (and I see the former as better for my family and the environment.) while a bath isn’t anywhere near as relaxing without a few drops of my favourite oils or a bath product containing them.
There are various ways of incorporating aromatherapy into everyday life – through treatments with a professionally trained aromatherapist, a few drops on a pillow or in a burner as well as using beauty products containing them. If a label doesn’t say something contains pure essential oils however, the scent is highly likely to be man-made. This may result in pleasant scent in your bathroom (and in the case of candles synthetics are often used because they provide a better “throw” – e.g. how they fill a room) but doesn’t count as aromatherapy.
Debbie Mulkern of New Forest Aromatics in Hampshire could be considered the guru of essential oils and is regularly called on to create essential oil blends for luxury hotels and high-end companies. She’s responsible for the signature scent SenSpa is known for; an exotic Eastern themed mix of eight certified organic oils including May Chang, Ylang Ylang and Lavender.
“My intention when creating an essential oil blend is to create an ‘aromatic message,” explains Debbie. “Each aromatic plant has unique therapeutic properties, whether you consider their physiological, chemical structure or how they affect us on an emotional or spiritual level. I create a blend of oils to help you enhance those qualities in yourself. Or for a spa or hotel to evoke a special feeling or place and a create a positive environment, that stays in your memory and you want to keep coming back to!’
Her SenSpa blend does the trick for me – an instant reminder of happy times spent travelling in Thailand, with the added benefit it now also triggers the memory of indulgent spa days.
A bottle costs £9.95 and lasts some time but products containing natural essential oils can admittedly sometimes be pricey. There’s a particular bath oil from one well known aromatherapy range I absolutely love but simply can’t justify buying regularly (or use very often if I did).
Instead I tend to buy bottles of good quality essential oils to add to a basic carrier oil like Sweet Almond for body and bath or look for affordable ranges like SenSpa’s Thai Rituals which contain my favourite Neroli essential oil among others.
If you do indulge in an aromatherapy treatment, ask your therapist about the oils they’ve used and see if you can recreate that at home (often the exact oil blend they’ve used may be available to buy). You’ll already associate the smell with relaxation and it is an easy way to experience that again.
A word of caution from Debbie however. “Always dilute essential oils before applying to the skin and don’t take internally. Some oils are not recommended for certain health conditions or at all during pregnancy. Be sure to check with a qualified aromatherapist and if going for a professional treatment, let the therapist know of any allergies, health or medical conditions they may need to take into account.”
Enjoy the serenity of our Thai spa and the aromas of our therapies at home with SenSpa’s luxury organic skincare products. Our SenSpa Boutique offers a range of chemical-free, natural skincare products for both men and women.
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