Aromatherapy and Gua Sha for pain and stress relief

Aromatherapy and Gua Sha is not a very common combination. The two therapies are quite contrasting, as aromatherapy is known for its gentle and subtle approach whereas Gua Sha has a reputation of being a “rough” treatment. Gua Sha is an ancient remedy from East and Southeast Asia. Aromatherapy has roots all over the ancient world, but the use of essential oils medicinally was established in Europe. The term “Aromatherapie” was coined by the French chemist Jean-Maurice Gatefosse around the beginning of 20th century, when he realised the medicinal properties of essential oils. ¹

In my own experience through applying the two therapies on myself and others, I  have realised that together they create a complete therapy, fully complementing each other.

The technique of Gua Sha (Gua=to rub, Sha=describes the blood congestion that arises where there is pain and stiffness) is “a traditional East Asian medicine healing technique”² that was used to relieve from feverish conditions and injuries. Gua Sha is a form of deep tissue massage, performed with a special tools, usually from jade, ceramic, horn or metal, with which the therapist scrapes the skin to bring the stagnation of Qi, Blood and toxins to the surface of the body to be dissolved by the lymphatic and circulatory system. Gua Sha is excellent to break those stubborn knots and relieve from deeply rooted pains of the muscles and nerves. Nowadays, is very popular among athletes as it is used for injury and pain relief. It is very efficient for emotional and stress release as well-these shoulders always have some stagnation hidden due to the burdens of everyday life…

Aromatherapy massage (massage with the use of aromatic essential oils) on the other hand, is one of the gentlest forms of complementary therapies.  The therapist with gentle massage movements distributes the essential oils in the body through the skin, to enter the bloodstream through the capillaries, in order for their potent chemical constituents to start working on the troubled part(s) of the body. In conditions where the client needs just a little bit of relaxation or rejuvenation, aromatherapy massage on its own can work miracles. However, for a really painful shoulder, or a trapped nerve, a stiff neck or other chronic pain conditions, aromatherapy will take a series of treatments to show results. Combined with Gua Sha, these deep stubborn issues can be relieved within one treatment, and after two or three sessions, it is high likely that the pain will have subsidised significantly.

The treatment starts with an aromatherapy massage, using essential oils that are suitable for each client’s ailment and emotional need at the time of treatment. When the body is relaxed after the aromatic massage, Gua Sha takes turn. The therapist scrapes the skin over the stubborn knots and any other  sore body parts that were felt during the massage, looking for the appearance of Sha. The stagnation will surface the skin forming red marks (or sometimes blue or black… depending on how long the stagnation has been in the body) that usually last three to five days. This is where aromatherapy kicks in again. Using a blend of carrier and essential oils indicated for bruises, the Sha marks can be kept to a minimum and fade a little bit quicker than they would without the aromatherapy blend.

If you are interested to experience an Aromatherapy Gua Sha treatment email me through the contact us page or give me a call to book an appointment at the Kingston Natural Health Centre.

Sources:
1.Lyth, G. (2018). The History of Aromatherapy | Part 2: 529 AD – Today). [online] Quinessence.com. Available at: https://www.quinessence.com/history-of-aromatherapy-2 [Accessed 1 May 2018].
2.Nielsen, A. (2013). Gua Sha. 2nd ed. Churchill Livingstone, pp.39, 43, 118.
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Patchouli

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)

Element: Earth

Crystal: Green Tourmaline

Angel: Archangel Chamuel

It carries the healing vibrations of the orange and violet Highly connected with the Flower Power era in the 60’s Patchouli can bring either loveable or very dislikable memories to the one who smells it. As I was born much later, meditating with Patchouli takes me back to my childhood’s Christmas in the farm of my grandparents and this winter feeling of being around the warmth and safety of a lit fireplace.

patchouliessentialoil
Taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patchouli

Patchouli connects us with the healing vibrations of the Earth. It is grounding and strengthening, whilst it brings harmony to the mind and the emotions. It is especially good for the over-worrying and those that have focused on their spiritual path, neglecting their physical self (Remember Balance is needed everywhere!). Great grounding and centering tool during meditations, it largely acts upon the Root and Sacral Chakra. However, it can also warm the Heart, easing emotional pain and calming the overworking Mind. Its earthy but spiritual personality dispels the blockages between the Chakra connections, allowing the energy to flow freely from the Root to the Crown.

starr_070906-8832_pogostemon_cablin
Taken from : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Starr_070906-8832_Pogostemon_cablin.jpg

When working with the Root Chakra its grounding and strengthening effect assists to relieve energetic blocks and its powerful spiritual action connects the physical body with the auric field, opening the feet centers to unite us with the Earth, enabling us to draw its valuable energy.

Patchouli has strong affiliation with the Sacral Chakra spiritualising
sexuality, bringing enjoyment of the senses and awakens creativity.

Concerning the Third Eye, Patchouli is great for relaxing the tense and overactive mind, leaving space for the Inner Vision to grow. Patchouli can influence our vibrations towards our sexuality, physical energy and money. The deep, rich earthy scent has musky overtones, and when partnered with visualisation and mediations can ease anxiety connected with sexuality but also helps to open to receive abundance.

Cautions and contraindications: Patchouli is possible to cause drug interaction and may inhibit blood clotting. Taken orally it is contraindicated with anticoagulant medication, major surgery, peptic ulcer and other bleeding disorders. It is a low risk allergen but does not require dermal use limit.  (Tisserand and Young, 2014) (Purchon and Cantele, 2014

Bibliography

  1. Cunningham, S. (1989). Magical aromatherapy. St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications. pp. 123-124.
  2. Davis, P. (1991). Subtle aromatherapy. Saffron Walden: C.W. Daniel. pp. 216-217.
  3. Farrer-Halls, G. (2009). The aromatherapy bible. 2nd ed. New York: Octopus Publishing Group. pp. 365-366.
  4. Loughran, J. and Bull, R. (2000). Aromatherapy & subtle energy techniques. Berkeley, Ca.: Frog, Ltd. 66.
  5. Mojay, G. (1999). Aromatherapy for healing the spirit. Rochester, Vt.: Healing Arts Press. pp. 106-107.
  6. Tisserand, R. and Young, R. (2014). Essential oil safety. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier. p. 382.

 

 

 

Happy Trees, Sad Trees..

Since essential oils became part of my life, my relationship with the plant world has changed. It is as if essential oils have tuned me in their vibrant kingdom. Walking through the small streets of Kingston upon Thames, the flowers from the lovely gardens seem to be palpitating. In a big chain store with a gardening section in the basement, I notice the complete absence of vibrancy among the plants on the shelves. They are lonely and sad. Like the strays in the rescue home cages.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100  In the New Forest of Hampshire, UK,  trees are standing tall for thousands of  years sharing their earthy wisdom.
In the deeper part of the forest there is a strong overwhelming sensation. The colours are breathtaking -and a strong woody scent enters the lungs with the clear, fresh oxygen. In tune with the nature, part of the detailed perfection that Earth has created.

 The flowers and the grass smile at you.

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A herd of 16 wild horses joined us in Avon Water

 

The atmosphere is crystal clear like Avon Water -where wild horses come to drink and munch their grass.

I was taken in the crystal clear atmosphere of nature. I was part of the forest’s vibrations, and there I felt absolute happiness.

Avon Water river.
The Avon Water River

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming back to Kingston the energy change of the trees struck me.   The trees and plants of the cities all look tired compared to the ones of the forest. They are dull and drained. There is too much pollution for the trees to produce adequate amount of oxygen to provide us with the positivity and stillness I felt in the depths of New Forest- as nature would like it to be.VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

 

There are happy and healthy trees as well as sad and tired ones.  They have an effect on us, as much as we have an effect on them. Respect them so they can provide.



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Essential oils… Is it Magic or Science?

A few weeks ago, I was at work when my friend passed by to say hello. I was holding my little roll-on bottle I had made the previous evening to apply on my swollen wrist throughout the day. My friend saw the little bottle and asked me what it was. It was a blend of peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary and chamomile, so I said that is for headaches and suff. He took the bottle, opened it, smelled it and rubbed some on his temples. After a few minutes he said: “It works. It really works. It’s magic.”

Essential oils contained in these little bottles that you see at the back corner of health food store, are of the most loving, caring and warm companions in life. It is a ritual. Pick up the bottle, rub it unconsciously between the palms , unscrew the lid, bring it to close to the nose, inhale the nature’s aroma spreading out in the air and then pour the drops into the carrier. Mix up the carrier and then apply. This volatile life force of nature is given by the plants can fight all sorts of bacteria, germs and viruses, reduce our wrinkles and moisturise our skin, balance our emotional whirlwinds and clear the energies and auras. They are of all kinds: stimulating, relaxing, powerful and gentle, woody and floral, for all tastes and needs.

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Where all of these amazing properties of the oils come from?

If not an aromatherapy enthusiast, or a training/trained aromatherapist, the chances are that little do you know about the magical -or scientific?- particles of the essential oils that penetrate our skin and work for our benefit. Is it really? There is a lot of science in those little bottles. Ketones, and esters, monoterpenes and phenols, alcohols, and all those chemistry words that are so perplexing and seriously scientific. All of those chemical constituents, meet together in different parts of the plant in various amounts, creating the Essential oil. Then, humans, gather the part of the plant, extract it with steam distillation, enfleurage or any other type of extraction, put it in bottle, and use it for its therapeutic properties. A chemist can explain why each essential oil has the specific effect on our health and mood by describing the forces of very chemical constituent in it. Research showed that if one constituent is pulled out from the essential oil the outcome is not the same. And one constituent by itself cannot do the job it supposed to do as a whole. The next question is why all this chemistry has all those amazing effects on us? And how did nature put them together working in absolute harmony providing us with all this goodness? How they can affect us in all three levels of body, mind and spirit at the same time?

Science or Magic aromatherapy works. It works for those who believe in it and for those who do not. I like to believe in Magic so maybe that is my answer. But I like that fact that I can refer to chemistry to convince the sceptics.