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Aromatherapy dates back to ancient Egypt, where plants and flowers were distilled to extract their essential oils. In the early 20th century a French chemist and perfumier, Rene Gattefosse, badly burned his hand whilst working in his laboratory.

In an attempt to cool the burn he plunged his hand into a vat of lavender essential oil that was waiting to be used in perfume. To Gattefosse’s astonishment, he found that the burn healed extremely quickly, without blistering or scarring, and he then went on to research the healing properties of other plants.

During the Second World War Jean Valnet, a French doctor, used essential oils to treat the wounds of the soldiers. A French biochemist, Marguerite Maury, further developed the idea, using essential oils as an integral part of healing massage.

How does it work?

Human beings can distinguish up to 10,000 different smells – some delightful and others nauseating. It is believed that smells enter through the cilla – the fine hairs which line the nose – and then go on to the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls our moods, emotions, memory and learning.

Each essential oil from a flower, plant, root, leaf or piece of bark contains up to one hundred different chemical components (including esters, ketones, aldehydes and terpenes) which can have a strong effect on the whole person. For example, research has shown that the smell of lavender increases alpha waves in the back of the head, producing relaxation. The smell of jasmine increases beta waves in the front of the head, producing sensations of being more alert.

What does it involve?

An aromatherapy consultation will begin with the practitioner finding out about your medical history and what you would like the therapy to achieve for you. On the basis of the information you provide, the practitioner will then mix a recipe of essential oils, which is individually designed to suit your needs.

The recipe can contain anything from four to eight different essential oils, and the practitioner will usually add three of four drops of each one to a carrier oil (normally sweet almond oil or something similar). You will be asked to undress and lie on a treatment couch whilst the massage is carried out. Therapists are particularly sensitive to their clients’ need for modesty and the client is always covered with sheets or towels throughout the massage, which are removed only over the small portion of skin on which the therapist intends to work. Aromatherapy oils do not have to be used on the skin to be effective. Instead, they can be burned in an oil diffuser (a small china pot The recipe can contain anything from four to eight different essential oils which has a space for a tea candle underneath and a flat area on top for warm water to which a few drops of oil are added). The candle warms the oil and water and releases the fragrance into the room. Essential oils can also be diluted in water and sprayed into the air, or a couple of drops can be poured onto a tissue or cotton wool and tucked under your pillow whilst you sleep.

What is it good for?

Aromatherapy can be used for a variety of physical and emotional problems including stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, pain, insomnia, coughs and colds, burns, scar tissue, digestive problems and skin disorders.

What are the benefits?

Clients report that the process of having a gentle massage with aromatherapy oils is a wonderfully relaxing and soothing experience. Depending on an individual’s needs, essential oils can be used to soothe, uplift, energise, relax or stimulate.

What are the side effects and when should it be avoided?

Some essential oils must be strictly avoided during pregnancy, if you are epileptic, have high blood pressure or sensitive skin or intend to go into strong sunshine after applying the oils. Because of this it is vital that you consult a qualified practitioner who will take your specific needs into account before creating a recipe of oils for use on your skin. Essential oils are very strong and can cause severe irritation unless they are diluted in a carrier oil. They should never be applied to any part of the skin unless diluted first, and they should never be taken internally.

What Next?

Use the links below to search for Aromatherapy practitioners.

List of Aromatherapy Salons and Therapists.

Sponsored links

Aromatherapy Courses
Directory of CThA approved
Aromatherapy Courses

Other websites for Aromatherapy

- Aroma Shoppe

Aromatherapy and cosmetic making supplies and training

- synergiehealingblends.com

Natural remedies for many common ailments

- Relaxology

Beautiful aromatherapy massage in quiet and relaxed treatment room

- Simply Essential UK

Aromatherapy, Essential Oils and other natural products


Aromatherapy and Reflexology at WARC.

- Aromatherapy & Massage in London

Aromatherapy, Facial, Holistic, Pregnancy, Deep Tissue Massage

- relax and revitalise

A deeply relaxing treatment providing relief from stress and physical ailments

- How Aromatherapy Can Change Your Life

the ancient healing art - and what it can do to change your life. Although Arom

- mitra

Professional Aromatherapist, Holistic Massage, Baby & Infant Massage

- Essential Oils and Aromatherapy Supplies

Suppliers of pure essential oils, absolute oils, carrier oils and fragrances.

- Sylvia Hodge College of Health & Beauty

VTCT intensive diploma traning in Beauty and Holistic Therapies

- Almae Healing Rooms

Holistic Treatments

- San Francisco Bath Salt Company

Provides an extensive selection of luxury bath salts and dead sea salts.

- epona

complementary therapies and spa treatments

- soothe-me

Natural and organic skin care & Baby massage

- heatherwood academy

multi disciplind therapists

- Muscle & Stress Therapies

Complimentary Health Centre

- Aroma Thai

Thai aromatherapy, reflexology and massage by Thai therapist.

- A Peaceful Hour Aromatherapy Recipes

Aromatherapy recipes, bath and body recipes, natural beauty

- sober living

Ocean Hills Recovery is committed to providing a way out for those who are truly

- BobGem

Reviving Relaxation

- Neph Aromatics

Supplier of essential oils, carrier oils and aromatherapy products.

- Avenue Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy, Diet & Nutrition, Indian Head Massage, Reflexology, Reiki, Remedia

- Aromatherapy Massage

Luxurious aromatherapy treatments at Bristol Beauty Salon.

- Holistic Answers

Providing Holistic Therapies

- Surrey Therapist, Medium and Teacher

Surrey therapist, healer and medium, offering courses and personal development

- Healing Hands Complemntary Therapy

Complemetary Therapy and Beauty

- Shirley Price Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy manufacturer, training college and therapy rooms

- Free Spirit

Holistic therapies, courses and events in Bucks and Herts

- St James Beauty Clinic

Beauty Salon Victoria

- Heavenscent Complementary Therapy Clinic

Aromatherapy, Swedish Massage, Indian Head Massage and Hopi Ear Candles

- Greenways Natural Therapies

Feel-good therapies for body and Soul, promoting harmony from within

- Hermitage Oils

Suppliers of medical grade essential oils. Est since 1979

- Aromajoy

Aromatherapist website offering service and information

- Linda Southall

Holistic Aromatherapy, Reiki Healing and Weekend Residential Courses

- Zsuzsanna Lannetta

Massage Therapy

- Calm and Clear

Complementary Therapies in London - all areas covered

- Aromatherapy by Scentsiblearoma.com

Specializing in uplifting candles, essential oils, incense and high quality arom

- Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy alternative medicine, essential oils, recipes, synergies, blends..

- Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Kinesiology

Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Reiki and Kinesiology in Smallfield, Horley, Surrey

- Iris Plus Aromatherapy

Treatments and natural care products, Aromapeeling and Paraffin masks and detox.

- organic-aromatherapy

Holistic chakra balancing and organic products to balance these energy centres

- Lisa Holyland Complementary Therapist

I have been practising Aronatherapy since 1997.

- Sandra Day School of Healing Studies

Aromatherapy and related courses of study

- Penny Price Academy of Aromatherapy

School of aromatherapy offering in-house or distance learning courses and CPD

- Nature's Harvest

Aromatherapy, Massage, Reflexology, Ear Candling and Foot Stone Therapy

- Purple Flame Aromatherapy

Purple Flame Aromatherapy school and online shop with a wide range of products.

- Eve Taylor Aromatherapy Skin & Body Care

Professional Aromatherapy Skin & Body Care Products

- your free spirit

Holistic therapies, natural beauty and gifts

- Sento Holistic Therapy Clinic

Holistic Therapy Clinic in Crowle, North Lincolnshire