Aromatherapy is the use of a wide range of essential oils to maintain and promote the health and vitality of the spirit, the emotions and the physiological body, primarily applied by massage. Essential oils, generally speaking, give herbs and spices their specific smell and flavour, flowers and fruit their perfume. When you peel an orange, it’s the essential oil that squirts out, and gives that familiar orange smell. These highly concentrated oils and resins are the foundation of aromatherapy.

During a weight-management programme, more often than not, there is a release of impurities and therefore it is important to rid the body of them. The body is designed to release toxins through various organs and processes involving the circulatory and lymphatic systems. Massage therapy with essential oils can greatly assist with this detoxification process. By gently compressing body tissues with methodical, long, sweeping strokes characteristic of aromatherapy massage blood and lymph is squeezed through vessels. This action helps boost the circulation and elimination processes and promotes detoxification. With the absorption of detoxification essential oils through the skin, elimination process is further enhanced.

Aromatherapy works on an emotional level as well – this is after all a therapy of scents and scents have a powerful effect on our senses. Nature has provided a rich garden of pungent, aromatic and fragrant herbs, trees and flowers that can lift our spirits and enhance our wellbeing tremendously. Oils used for weight-management tend to be stimulating and uplifting.

Your therapist may create a mix using some of the following oils:

  • Black Pepper: A warming oil that aids circulation. It helps relieve arthritis pain and muscular aches due to stiffness and exercise.
  • Grapefruit: A very good stimulating aid for eliminating toxins and excess fluid indicated with cellulite and obesity. It’s great for relieving muscle fatigue, nervous exhaustion and headaches.
  • Juniper: Another good oil for removal of toxins. It works well for the treatment of cellulite, gout, obesity, muscular aches and pains. Note – this oil should not be used during pregnancy or by those with kidney disease.
  • Lavender: An all round oil. Very useful for muscular aches, digestive problems, insomnia, stress and headaches.
  • Lemon: A great oil for improving circulation, helping muscular aches and pains, aiding detoxification and reducing water retention. Note – it should not be used on skin before sunbathing.
  • Orange: Another excellent oil for digestive disorders,obesity, water retention and stress. Note – it should not be used on skin before sunbathing.
  • Peppermint: A general stimulant that works well for nerve and muscle pain, dyspepsia, flatulence, nausea, mental fatigue and headaches.
  • Rosemary: This is the classic stimulating oil for the mind and the circulatory system. It is useful for reducing fluid retention, poor circulation, gout, nerve and muscle pain.

A good therapist will tailor a mix to suit the needs and preferences of the client.

The outcome is a person feeling more energetic, less stressed and overall motivated to continue with her weight-management programme. And because of this, she feels good about herself.

Andrea McIntyre, Naturopath.

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