FHT celebrates aromatherapy week with talk on essential oils

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FHT head office staff were yesterday treated to a talk on the benefits of essential oils to mark Aromatherapy Awareness Week.

We were pleased to welcome our speaker Colette Somers, who delivers training for FHT Accredited course provider Penny Price Aromatherapy and the Winchester School of Aromatherapy. Colette told us that although she has been practising aromatherapy for 25 years, she is now more passionate about essential oils than ever before.

After a short introduction, Colette focused on research, highlighting a number of scientific studies that supported the therapeutic use of essential oils for a range of health issues, such as anxiety before surgery and fibromyalgia.

She followed this by warning of the potential dangers of ingesting essential oils and talked about why this is a problematic practice. For example, when swallowed oils can react with medication, stopping them working and even accelerate the effects of blood-thinning medicine – thinning blood to dangerous levels.

Colette then ended the session by passing around some of her favourite essential oils, including bergamot, lavender and geranium. We all had the opportunity to take in their pleasant and therapeutic aromas – the perfect way to start Aromatherapy Awareness week.

 

Six ways aromatherapy can help everyday ailments

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Aromatherapy involves the therapeutic use of plant essential oils, which enter the body via our lungs through inhalation, or the skin, if applied in a massage blend or other product.

A recent survey* by the FHT revealed that aromatherapy is one of the top three complementary therapies requested by the public in the UK. This week, as aromatherapists celebrate Aromatherapy Awareness Week (10-16 June 2019), we look at six different ways this therapy can be used to help manage some common complaints that affect our overall health and wellbeing.

1. Sleep aid
Poor sleep affects as many as a third of us and in recent years, it has been linked to various health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and mental health problems. Clary sage and marjoram both have sedative qualities, which can help promote sleep, while lavender, chamomile and neroli are calming and soothing oils, which are great for relieving anxiety, if this is the underlying problem. Where depression is linked to poor sleep, an uplifting oil, like bergamot, could be beneficial.

2. A natural boost
Many of us can be left feeling physically or mentally drained after a particularly busy period or demanding life event. There are lots of essential oils that can give us a much-needed boost including pine, which reduces fatigue, and citrus oils such as orange, lemon and grapefruit, which are all uplifting and can help stimulate the mind and aid concentration. Rosemary and peppermint are said to be excellent for memory and mental performance, while basil can help bring clarity.

3. Skin support
Aromatherapy can help a wide range of skin problems. For mature skin, cicatrisant or ‘skin healing’ essential oils are ideal, as these promote cell regeneration and are good for scars and blemishes. Examples include frankincense, palmarosa, carrot seed, rose, lavender and German chamomile. For best results, these are often added to a carrier oil suited for mature skin, such as rosehip seed oil, which can help reduce wrinkles and fine lines and is particularly good for dry or damaged skin.

4. Soul soother
Left unchecked, stress and anxiety can take a huge toll on our health and wellbeing. Research shows that lavender can help calm the nervous system; lower blood pressure, heart rate and skin temperature; and change brain waves to a more relaxed state. Neroli, often referred to as the ‘rescue remedy’ of essential oils, is also great for helping to ease anxiety and stress, along with bergamot, which is traditionally used in Italian folk medicine to relieve tension and anxiety.

5. Menopause ally
While the menopause is a natural stage in life’s journey, many women experience unpleasant symptoms that can affect their overall quality of life. Geranium, clary sage and rose can help balance and regulate the hormones, while other essential oils are useful for addressing more specific issues. For example, cypress and peppermint can alleviate hot flushes and sweating, while oils like grapefruit, neroli, bergamot and jasmine can help to ease feelings of depression.

6. Nausea knock-back
Nausea is an unpleasant symptom that can be triggered by a variety of things including digestive problems, certain medications (eg. anaesthetics), motion sickness, headaches and pregnancy. For digestive-related nausea, fennel seed or lemon essential oil might be useful. Recent studies have also shown that inhaling lavender, ginger, peppermint or rose essential oils can help reduce nausea in patients experiencing nausea and vomiting after surgery.

Important safety notes…

  • Aromatherapy should be used alongside standard medical care and not as an alternative.
  • If you are currently receiving care from a doctor, consultant, midwife or other health professional, let them know you intend to have aromatherapy treatments / use essential oils.
  • Essential oils are very powerful and if used incorrectly, can be detrimental to your health. Never ingest (swallow) essential oils or apply them to the skin neat (undiluted). Various cautions also apply for babies, children, the elderly, during pregnancy, prior to sun exposure, when taking certain medications, and for some medical conditions.
  • Seek advice from a professional aromatherapist before using essential oils. To find a registered, qualified and insured aromatherapist you can trust, visit www.fht.org.uk

 

Downloadable resources for Aromatherapy Awareness week

To help promote aromatherapy this week, FHT members can access downloadable resources, such as leaflets, posters, and social media images and banners, from fht.org.uk/membersarea

Indoor air pollution as harmful as car fumes, study finds

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The shampoo, deodorants, air fresheners, cleaning products and even perfumes in our homes could be creating as much air pollution as the transportation sector, a new study finds.

Conventional wisdom maintains that outside air pollution from cars, industry and public transport are the main sources of air pollution. While this was true in previous decades, today particle-forming emissions from chemical products are about twice as high as those from transportation. According to this new study, as cars get cleaner, VOCs come increasingly from consumer products.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) atmospheric scientist Jessica Gilman, a co-author of the new paper, attributes this disparity partially to differences in how we store those products versus fuels. “Gasoline is stored in closed, hopefully airtight, containers and the VOCs in gasoline are burned for energy,” she said. “But volatile chemical products used in common solvents and personal care products are literally designed to evaporate. You wear perfume or use scented products so that you or your neighbor can enjoy the aroma. You don’t do this with gasoline,” Gilman said.

What are volatile organic compounds (VOCs)?

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are any chemical compound that evaporates into the atmosphere at room temperature, potentially causing health effects within the environment.

Many VOC concentrations are up to ten times higher indoors than outdoors. They are emitted by a wide array of products, including paints, varnishes and wax, as well as many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing and hobby products. It is thought around 350 different types of VOCs exist in our indoor environment.

What effects can VOCs have?

VOCs can react with the atmosphere to produce either ozone or particulate matter—both of which are regulated in many countries due to the potential health impacts, including lung damage.

There’s a wide range of long- and short-term health effects associated with exposure to VOCs, including eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, loss of coordination, nausea, and some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.

How can you reduce VOCs in your home?

Store paint, paint thinners, pesticides, particle board, fuel, cleaners, and similar materials in a detached shed or garage to protect your family from VOCs.

Let fresh air in by opening a window, or using exhaust fans in the kitchen or bathroom.

Decorating with houseplants is an easy, inexpensive way to absorb VOCs and other toxins. Some of the best plants for cleaning your air are aloe, spider plants, chrysanthemums, Chinese evergreens, and peace lilies.

Cleaning regularly can reduce VOCs already in your home, and can be done without introducing new VOCs. Use lemon juice and olive oil as a healthy wood polish, or a few drops of tea tree oil mixed with water to prevent mildew in your bathroom.

Dig into DIY deodorisers. Herbs and flowers can make a lovely potpourri, and simmering cinnamon sticks, orange slices, cloves, or other spices on the stove will produce a welcoming aroma. Natural essential oils are also popular as air fresheners.

Read about the study here. You can also learn more about making your own products with essential oils at our 2018 Training Congress, where Penny Price will be running a session entitled Making Aromatherapy Skincare Products. Find out more on our website.

 

 

In The Moment readers follow their noses and discover aromatherapy

in-the-moment-6Have you always wanted to try aromatherapy, but didn’t know what to expect? You can learn all about this wonderful therapy in our latest contribution to In The Moment magazine.

In The Moment is a beautiful, practical lifestyle magazine for the modern-thinking creative woman. Enjoy practical creative projects, positive features and stories to inspire, adventures near and far for a healthy body and mind, and ideas embracing every aspect of women’s lives: friends, family, self, work, rest and play!

And in their sixth issue, readers will find an introduction to aromatherapy. Our own Karen Young, editor of International Therapist magazine, and FHT Vice President Mary Dalgleish discuss what you can expect from an aromatherapy treatment, things to avoid, and various types of oils to try.

Aromatherapy is one of the therapies on our Complementary Healthcare Therapist Register. Find out more about our Accredited Register here, and read our aromatherapy feature here.

Don’t swallow essential oils

This news item is aimed at members of the general public who have been advised that it is safe to ingest (swallow) essential oils.

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The FHT is very concerned by a growing number of reports that members of the public are being advised that it is safe to ingest (swallow) essential oils, or take them internally.

In the FHT’s opinion, taking essential oils internally can be extremely dangerous. Although essential oils are produced from plants and are ‘natural’, they are very powerful products and can have serious side effects if not used properly.

If you would like to use essential oils at home, it is very important that you seek the advice of a professional and suitably qualified aromatherapist. To find an aromatherapist in your area, search the FHT’s Accredited Register, which has been approved by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care.

Please share this link with anyone you think may benefit from the information.

Click here to read the FHT’s full statement on the ingestion of essential oils.