Archive for the 'massage oils' Category

Sep 27 2011

Essentially, aromatherapy works

This next article gives quite a bit of credibility to aromatherapy in a very simple and straightforward way. The orangutan story is particularly telling. Please note that the article references NAHA (The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy). This association is the most highly regarded for healthcare professionals in the aromatherapy realm. Incidentally, the Institute’s distance learning Aromatherapy Essentials program was designed specifically for massage therapists and is approved by NAHA.

Essentially, aromatherapy works

By Lisa Ryckman, Rocky Mountain News

Using odors to treat illness spans time and culture, dating back more than 5,000 years to Ancient Egypt. The modern version of aromatherapy has a holistic focus that uses highly concentrated natural plant essences called essential oils to promote emotional and physical health.

“The emotional benefits come from inhalation,” says Laraine Kyle, director of the Institute of Integrative Aromatherapy in Boulder. “For physical problems, more often the application is topical.” Certain oils have specific effects on emotional and physical health, aromatherapists say, because they help release neurochemicals in the brain that reduce pain and promote relaxation and a sense of well-being.

Neurologist-psychiatrist Alan Hirsch says that any smell a person likes will make them feel good, whether it’s an all-natural essential oil or a $3 bottle of shampoo. “There’s reasonable evidence odors can have effect on all sorts of different conditions,” he says. “But what works for you might be different than what works for me.” Or what works for the orangutan next door. The Denver Zoo uses essential oils to calm their great apes, and several aromatherapy practices specialize in animals.

Kyle says certain oils help in specific ways; floral and citrus scents, for example, are known for mood elevation and stabilizing.”Of course we involve the client in selecting the fragrance they prefer, because it’s meant to be something enjoyable and something someone really prefers to use,” Kyle says. “Often we blend several different oils together to make a composite blend.”

People often make the mistake of using essential oils full-strength when they might actually be more effective if diluted, Kyle says. ” For psychological benefit, such as insomnia, anxiety, agitation or depression, we use a very mild concentration,” says Kyle, who recommends a ratio of six drops of essential oil to one ounce of lotion or massage oil.

Here are the top 10 essential oils and their uses from the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy:

Eucalyptus: Helpful in treating respiratory problems; helps boost the immune system; relieves muscle tension.
Ylang Ylang: Aids relaxation; reduces muscle tension. Good antidepressant.
Geranium: Helps to balance hormones in women; good for balancing the skin. Can be both relaxing and uplifting.
Peppermint: Useful in treating headaches, muscle aches and digestive disorders.
Lavender: Relaxing; also useful in skin care and treating wounds and burns.
Lemon: Very uplifting yet relaxing. Helpful in treating wounds and infections; useful as house cleaner and deodorizer.
Clary Sage: Natural painkiller; helpful in treating muscular aches and pains. Very relaxing; can help with insomnia. Also helps balance hormones.
Tea Tree: A natural anti-fungal oil. Also helps boost the immune system.
Roman Chamomile: Very relaxing; can help with sleeplessness and anxiety. Also good for muscle aches and tension. Useful in treating wounds and infection.
Rosemary: Very stimulating and uplifting; aids mental acuity and helps stimulate the immune and digestive systems. Very good for muscle aches and tension. or 303-892-2736

Recommended Study
Aromatherapy Essentials

Posted by Ralph at 04:08 PM
© 2009 Institute for Integrative HealthCare Studies. This work is reproduced with the permission of the Institute.

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Sep 02 2011

Five Tips on Essential Oil Maintenance

Although essential oils typically lack an expiration date stamp, their effectiveness can diminish with element exposure and time. However, therapists can easily learn how to prolong the life of their oils and detect when they are no longer viable.

by Nicole Cutler, L.Ac.

Therapists can learn to use pure essential oils safely and successfully through a National Organization for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) certified program of study. However, some aromatherapy information typically skimmed over and forgotten about is this: most pure essential oils don’t last forever. There are several things anyone purchasing, storing and using pure essential oils must know for aromatherapy to accomplish what it is capable of.

Luckily, pure essential oils do not go rancid. However, they do degrade through the process of oxidation. Heat, sunlight and air can all break down the chemical structure of essential oils. Additionally, the complex and varying chemistry of pure essential oils means that each oil has a different rate of degradation. Although there are too many variables to accurately predict how long an essential oil will be at its most potent, there are several tips that will help you determine your oil’s lifespan.

Buy Carefully
You can only control the environment of your oils after you purchase them. Thus, knowing what to look for when buying essential oils can help ensure their longevity.

1. Dark colored glass; no dropper – Dark colored glass helps protect the oils from the oxidative properties of ultraviolet light. Avoid purchasing essential oils that are stored in bottles with a rubber dropper incorporated into its cap. Pure essential oils can turn rubber into gum and quickly ruin the oil.

2. Evaluate your supplier – The closer to its distillation date, the more potent an essential oil will be. Suppliers specializing in aromatherapy typically have a high turnover of oils, ensuring a fresher purchase. When purchased from a store, they may have been sitting on the shelf for a long time. If you do buy from a store, make sure they are not displayed under hot lighting or in direct sunlight, and check that they don’t have a layer of dust on their caps.

Store Carefully
Once you have the essential oils, the steps you take to properly store them will either make them last long or render them useless.

3. Know their age – Although you are not likely to know the date an essential oil was first distilled, you can keep track of how long you have owned them. Devise a way to mark your oil with the date of purchase so that you can be alerted to when one might be approaching the end of its life.

4. Minimize oxidation – Since heat and light oxidize essential oils, always store essential oils inside dark glass bottles in a cool, dark place. In addition, keep your oils in the smallest possible sized bottles to reduce the amount of empty space in the container. Because the empty space in a bottle is occupied by air, more empty space hastens the rate of oxidation. For this reason, experts advise rebottling oils into smaller bottles as they are used.

Check your Stock
Again, based on the substantial number of variables in determining the viability of a pure essential oil, there are no guarantees of how long it will last. Some experts tout that well cared for oils will last for one to two years, while others claim this time frame is longer. However, terpene-rich oils such as citrus and some coniferous essential oils oxidize quicker than other oils, while the thicker viscosity essential oils, including Patchouli, Vetiver and Sandalwood mellow and improve with age. The only surefire way to know if your oil is still viable is to check it yourself.

5. Look and smell – Through a little bit of effort, you should be able to detect an essential oil that has passed its prime. Look carefully to see if your oil appears cloudy or thick, both of which indicate oxidation. Since drastic changes in odor also indicate oxidation, smell your oils to see if they have lost their characteristic odor or if they smell acidic. In either case, the therapeutic value has diminished, requiring its proper disposal.

Although the skilled application of essential oils can dramatically improve a person’s health, they must be suitably maintained to do so. Along with the knowledge gained through a NAHA certified course, careful purchasing, storage and inspection of pure essential oils allows bodyworkers to fully appreciate the therapeutic value of aromatherapy.

Recommended Study:
Aromatherapy Essentials

References:, Shelf Life and Storage, Retrieved July 9, 2008, Aromatics International, 2008., Essential Oil Shelf Life, Retrieved July 9, 2008, AromaWeb LLC, 2008., How to Use up those Aging Essential Oils, Retrieved July 9, 2008, AromaWeb LLC, 2008., Storing Your Essential Oils, Retrieved July 9, 2008, AromaWeb LLC, 2008., Storing your essential oils, Retrieved July 9, 2008, Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd., 2008., Shelf Life of Aromatherapy Oils, Retrieved July 9, 2008, Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd., 2008.

Posted by Editors at 01:50 PM

© 2009 Institute for Integrative HealthCare Studies. This work is reproduced with the permission of the Institute.

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Oct 04 2009

Oil Massage For a Relaxing and Rejuvenating Experience

Published by under massage oils,Massage Therapy

Too much stress harms you in many ways. The negative consequences of stress are in fact too many to mention, and one article in itself may not suffice. But by all means, stress ought to be managed – for the sake of health and well-being and for worthwhile living. So what are good means for relieving and managing stress? Several stress relief measures can be opted to if you are intent on taking care of yourself. For instance, there is massage therapy. And then again, there are different kinds of massages to resort to. Considered as one of the “favorites” when it comes to massages is oil massage.

What is oil massage and what are its benefits. Why is it one of the most preferred massage therapies? Oil massaging benefits the whole body, inasmuch as most massages do. Through a well-applied oil massage, stress can be relieved and tension released. Oil massage has in fact been considered as one of the best ways to gain relaxation. An oil massage makes use of different kinds of oils for massaging. The varied sorts of oils used for massaging have their own properties for healing, relaxation and strengthening the body and the immune system. Why is it that the oil massage has long been resorted to, and why is it regarded as an effective therapy.

The effectiveness of oil massaging has been proven for thousands of years, having been a natural healing modality for centuries. Thus, this stress relief and healing measure is not a new or novel means for keeping healthy. If you happen to be stressed, you can use kernel apricot oils for massaging. Or if you are suffering from eczema or psoriasis, borage can be applied. Olive oils would be effective for stiffness, while emu oil is recommended for arthritis. Sweet almond has anti-inflammatory properties, and you can prefer it for such concerns. The same goes for kukui nut oil. As much as the idea of having oil massaging is tempting, you must also be wary.

Taking precautions is most often applicable in all circumstances, and so it is with this particular form of massaging. You primarily have to take into account if you have an allergic condition, or could be allergic to one of the oils. Once you are cleared of this issue, you can then enjoy the benefits of the therapy. For a certain health condition you might be suffering with, you can consult a qualified massage therapist. The therapist can guide you on which oils would be most suitable for your condition. Then can you enjoy the benefits of this health measure to the optimum.

You actually hit several stones with massage therapy, considering this wellness measure delivers multi-faceted benefits. There are different kinds of massages for different purposes. Whether it is for relaxation, better circulation, boosting your body and immune system, many forms of the therapy can help you. The same goes for developing endurance or healing from injuries, among others. Having regular massaging therapy is well worth it. You may have to expend a significant amount of your finances for it, but you ought to know-massage is more than indulgence, but one of the best means to promote and enjoy well- being.

The author of this article Rose Windale is a Health and Wellness Coach who has been successful with several natural health programs for many years. Rose decided to share her knowledge and tips through her website You can sign up for her free newsletter and enjoy a healthy and happy life.

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Sep 06 2009


The use of Essential oils for health and vitality has been recorded over thousands of years. Aromatherapy uses essential plant oils extracted from many parts of the plant including the flower, leaf, bark, resin, root, twig, seed, berry, rind, and rhizome. The essential oils are mixed with carrier oils in conjunction with massage to provide a therapeutic treatment which is relaxing and luxurious. The emotional or physical effects evoked by aromatic essential oils include: A rebalancing of energy, rejuvenation, cleansing, deoderising and purifying of the body, mind and sole, and as such is classed as a holistic treatment. Essential oils can be use to help a great number of problems when used in many ways. As full or part body massage, facials, hand and foot treatments. Used with a diffuser or candles as room fragrances, bath and body care products, use as perfume in place of chemical scents etc. You need to seek a qualified Aroma therapist for advice if you are pregnant as some of the oils are not to be used during pregnancy or on small babies. A consultation is required and oils are mixed for each person depending on the problems presented.

The sent of essential oils are best when you in a meeting room having a coporate massage, event massage or onsite massages.

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Aug 31 2009

Massage Oils – How to Make a Perfect Blend

Massage oils are a great way to enhance the beneficial effects of a massage therapy, they are looked as a must for a massage therapy session. The massage techniques have evolved in order to accommodate the use of oils. Choosing the right products, making a good blend that doesn’t spoil in time might be a difficult task without the proper information.

There are a few reasons for using oils in a massage: facilitate the gliding over the skin thus avoiding superficial irritation, nourish the patient skin and promote health and absorption of the essential oils through skin and lungs.

A massage oil is usually a combination of two or more oils. The combination contains at least a base oil, the carrier, and one or more essential oils (aromatic oils). The base is an oil with a high skin penetration potential. The essential oil is chosen for its therapeutic effects and it is based on patient’s need.

The carrier is a vegetable oil. When buying a carrier we have to search for cold-pressed or expeller-pressed oils. These two extraction methods ensure the oil is not polluted with solvents and is not degraded by high temperatures processing.

Most of the carrier oils can be stored in the sealed bottle for long periods. Once in contact with the air it starts the oxidation. If kept in dark containers at low temperatures the oxidation is slowed down. However some oils will deteriorate if stored in the fridge, check with the producer the proper storage conditions.

The most popular carrier oils are Grape-seed oil and Sweet Almond oil. Grape-seed oil is a very light oil and is very easy absorbed by the skin. Sweet Almond oil is very reach in vitamins with high therapeutic value.

Another excellent base is Olive oil because of its therapeutic qualities but is not very popular because of its strong fragrance.

Some other great base oils are: Apricot kernel, Avocado, Jojoba, Coconut, Hazelnut, Peach kernel, Sunflower.

Wheat-germ oil is an excellent adjuvant to any base because of its antioxidant properties. Wheat-germs oil added in proportion of 15% to any other base will prevent it to go rancid. Wheat-germs oil is a sticky oil so use it cautiously in your combinations.

The aromatic oils are plant extracts, (from flowers, roots, seeds, etc), with therapeutic properties. The aromatic oils are very concentrated and they are only used in combination with a base. The concentration should be about 3% essential oil in a base. Adding too much aromatic oil could irritate the patient skin as some of these are very potent.

Most of the aromatic oils are volatile, some of them will simply disappear in minutes if you forget the container open. As a general rule you have to keep them in sealed dark containers at low temperatures.

Each essential oil has its own healing properties. It is very important to know what these properties are in order to avoid harm. Using them improperly could worsen certain conditions.

Buying essential oils is a difficult task because of the lack of regulation in the industry. Very often your aromatherapy oils contain chemicals, fragrance enhancers, solvents to multiply the content, or oils extracted from similar plants but with different properties. None of these are marked on the bottle.

You can follow these guidelines when you are buying essential oils:

Look for therapeutic-grade oils, sometimes it’s marked on the bottle;
Look for the scientific name of the plant, as sometimes the same common name of a plant could cover different botanical varieties;
Check if the plants were grown organically or wild-crafted – these are the best plants.
Check the reputability of the producer and question your supplier about their products.
Know that aromatherapy oils are not essential oils. Aromatherapy oils are usually a blend of essential and carrier oils or other components.

Use your smell, sometimes you can detect a problem product only by smelling it.Some excellent essential oils and their properties are:
Chamomile – anti-inflammatory and sedative,
Eucalyptus – respiratory problems, flu, skin infections;
Frankincense – helps the intellect;
Lavender – good sedative, heals burns, mood enhancer;
Lemon – antiseptic, lowers blood pressure and good for skin conditions; it is extremely volatile;
Peppermint – digestion, flatulence, flu;
Pine – antiseptic, very effective treating respiratory problems;
Rose – aphrodisiac and mood enhancer, very expensive oil.

When you blend your massage oil take in consideration the following facts:

Carrier oils go rancid and essential oil oxidize so make only what you use.
Massage oil has to be warm when you use it that will accelerate the alteration of your blend.
Your clients are different and have different needs, ask them what they like. Get feedback about the oil you use on your patient and don’t use the same blend on all your clients.
Never use mineral oils, they are not absorbed by the skin and sometimes they can be harmful.
Do not use more than 3% to 4% of essential oil in your blend.
Avoid pre-blended massage oils if you are not sure about the date of fabrication, and exact content.
Avoid blending too many oils, simple is more effective.

Every person has their own preferences when it comes to essential oils, and that is based on their affinities and needs. Show your patient a sample of oil each time they come for a massage and note in their file what they like most.

My personal favorites are Frankincense, Lemon and Lavender. Frankincense has an important spiritual component while Lemon oil creates an oasis of freshness and intensifies all your senses. Lavender creates invisible bonds between people of opposite sex.

For a more complete list of massage oils visit my Massage Oils page

Dorian is a Complementary Medicine therapist who is involved in promoting touch as a life changing instrument. He is contributing with articles at

You can also check the online Massage Manual, part of the promotional campaign at the same address.

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Aug 26 2009

Learn About Hot Stone Massages

Published by under Hot Stone Massages,massage oils

There are plenty of massage types including Swedish, Thai, aromatherapy, deep tissue, reflexology. Even though there are many choices, hot stone therapy is one of the most popular methods. Many people are choosing the hot stone therapy option and its popularity is quickly rising and more and more therapists are offering this option.

This type of therapy involves placing heated basalt stones on key parts of the body to help you relax and release muscular tension. The stones are composed with mainly silica with traces of irons which allows the stones to retain the heat very well. The heated stones work by transferring heat to the body creating a deep tissue effect. The heat of the stones warms the skin, which allows for the absorption of moisturizing and therapeutic oils, while simultaneously preparing the musculature of the body so the therapist can work into the deeper muscle layers.

The main reasons people choose this therapy is to loosen muscles, relax, feel energized, and experience increased local circulation.

It also works wonders for people with with a wide variety of health conditions. People with headaches, carpal tunnel, back problems, and plantar fasciatis all use hot stone therapy for treatment.

Another one of the reasons for the popularity of this massage is that it requires minimal contact with the therapist since all the work is being done by the stones themselves.

One hour sessions usually cost around fifty dollars. Remember this type of treatment is all natural and is available by most therapists.

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Aug 11 2009

Creating Environment For a Soothing Massage

Published by under massage oils,Massage Therapy

By Jan H Schiphorst

A massage is the unsurpassed solution to a person’s weariness. No other method can be as good as providing a massage. Getting a good massage is bliss for the receiver. It can provide mental as well as physical peace to a person if provided in the right type of environment. Creating a good mood is very important for the person undergoing the treatment. If the person getting the massage is not finding pleasure, then it is waste of time both for the receiver and the masseur.

For a suitable surrounding, you need a few objects. Here is a vivid description of a few of them:

1. Music: The first and the foremost thing that is required to create a mood is the music. You need to play some soft and relaxing music while massaging a person. This enhances the effect and provides great mental satisfaction to the receiver. It is a better idea to play music that will be liked by the person experiencing the massage. Music has always been the most widely accepted form of relaxation since a long time. Thus, if you play some sort of good music definitely the massage can be enjoyed as well as benefitted more by the receiver.

2. Candles: The second major item needed to create the mood of the receiver is the candles. Candles that provide a favorable aroma are liked by people. You can choose various candles like lavender, rose, jasmine or any other favorite smell of the person receiving the massage. A sweet odor also helps in providing mental tranquility to the receiver.

3. Flowers: You can also place flowers in the room where you provide massage to people. The sweet smell of flowers diverts the attention of the people receiving the massage from their daily tensions to serenity and spirituality.

4. Oils: The other important object required for the massage is the massage oil. It helps in reducing the friction between the hands of the masseur and the body of the receiver. Massage oils that provide some benefit to the body of the receiver are always the best choice. You can opt for almond oil or jojoba oil. Other varieties are also available in the market these days.

5. Towels: The next necessary requirement is the towel. You require at least two big towels for the massage. One should be placed under the person getting the massage and one on top of him to hide certain unclothed parts of his body. You should make the towels warm to provide warmth to the receiver of the massage.

6. Books or video: This is basically for the beginners. If you do not have the exact idea of the steps to be followed, then you should buy a good book or a video to learn the accurate steps for the massage. You can also take help from the online sites available for the purpose.

7. Lights: The lights of the room where the massage is under progress should not be too bright. The lights should be kept dim, to make the person feel more comfortable and warm. Bright lights tend to irritate the eyes of the person taking the massage.

Provided by: Jan H Schiphorst

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Aug 03 2009

Aromatherapy Comfort With A Pinch Of Home Cooking

Published by under massage oils

I always remember Sundays at home for the smell. These were the days when my mom would go out of her way to make the cookies or the cake for the week so we could enjoy something a little bit different. Of course, it’s not the same if you are no longer at home. However, it is always possible to bring back the scent to the right place.

Aromatherapy and the smell of the environment is not just good for those that want to remember home cooking, but also triggers something that can bring back comfort or that can create a new comfort in your own home. If you don’t want to spend hours cooking, then find your favorite recipes through candles that bring in aromatherapy.

One of my favorites for good home cooking are from Diamond Creek Candles, known as “Brown Sugar Nutmeg.” This includes flavors of sugar, nutmeg and vanilla bean. This is combined with amber and soft woods that help to create a comforting feeling and provide a sense of warmth in your home.
I not only love the smell of these candles, but also enjoy the fact that they are 100% all natural and the fragrances are carefully designed for some of the best smells around.

If you are looking for a mother’s day gift, there is nothing that makes a stronger statement for comfort then these candles. You can enjoy the smell for a long time while bringing in that motherly touch of domestic comfort. Visit
Diamond Creek Candle
to find a simple solution for Mother’s Day, home comfort and the enjoyment of creating the right scent in your home.

By: Brookeh

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Jul 07 2009

Aromatherapy: Effective Treatment for Head Lice

Being educated about the irritating parasites you and your family members may bring home from work or school is the best form of protection. See how aromatherapy can offer a unique and effective way of treating unwelcome head lice.

by Nicole Cutler, L.Ac.

The head louse is a wingless parasitic insect that lives among human hair, feeding on extremely small amounts of blood drawn from the scalp. Although they are not dangerous and do not spread disease, lice are contagious and their bites typically cause the scalp to become itchy and inflamed. Persistent scratching may lead to skin irritation or infection.

Some important facts about head lice include:

• Lice can only live 24 hours off of a human host.
• Daily shampooing will not protect against head lice.
• Head lice do not jump or fly; they are spread from person to person by direct contact or sharing of recently infested items.

The most effective way to control head lice is through diligence and mechanical controls, which typically involve removing lice from hair one by one with a nit comb. A pesticide-laden lice shampoo followed by fastidious nit combing is the most common treatment recommendation.

Some experts believe the greatest harm associated with head lice results from the well-intentioned but misguided use of caustic or toxic substances (pesticide shampoos) to eliminate the lice. As published in the June 2006 edition of Archives of Disease in Childhood, researchers found that 80 percent of lice were resistant to the chemicals in commonly used lice shampoos. The head louse’s resistance to pesticides is just one reason why alternative treatments for lice are sought, the other being the forethought to spare children from exposure to caustic chemical preparations.

Effective Alternative Treatment
When it comes to head lice, the essential oils used in aromatherapy are proving to be one of alternative medicine’s best kept secrets. When applied to the hair, oil coats the exoskeleton of adult lice, basically preventing them from getting oxygen and ultimately suffocating them. A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found that lice submerged in olive oil for two hours died but those submerged for only one hour recovered. To effectively coat the lice, thoroughly saturate the head with olive oil mixed with essential oils. After a minimum of two hours, the oil can be washed out and the remnants removed with a nit comb. To account for the life cycle of the head louse, this process may be repeated every four days to kill emerging lice before they mature and can lay new eggs.

*Note: synthetic oils, such as kerosene or motor oil, are dangerous and should never be used.

When using essential oils, perform a skin test to determine a person’s sensitivity to the oils you plan on using. If the skin test uncovers any irritation, choose a different treatment. If irritation is experienced during treatment, shampoo the mixture out immediately. Various sources have touted the use of the following essential oils for the treatment of head lice:

• Tea Tree
• Lavender
• Rosemary
• Lemon
• Geranium
• Ylang ylang

The Proof
In addition to countless reports from moms and healthcare practitioners everywhere, scientific research confirms the superiority of essential oils in treating head lice:

• In a study published in the March 2004 edition of Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Irish researchers investigated tea tree essential oil’s ability to kill head lice. The results concluded that the insecticidal activity of tea tree oil made it an ideal ingredient in fighting lice infestation.

• In 2002, Israeli researchers conducted a clinical study comparing a natural remedy with a known pesticide spray to halt head lice infestation. The natural remedy used was a commercial preparation with the following ingredients: coconut oil, anise oil and ylang ylang oil. Of 940 children with lice, treatment was successful with the natural remedy in 92.3 percent of subjects, while treatment was successful with the pesticide spray in 92.2 percent of subjects. Researchers concluded that the natural remedy using essential oils was just as effective in controlling louse infestations as a pesticide, and it caused no serious side effects.

• In a 1996 study, researchers in Iceland looked into the use of essential oils of aniseed, cinnamon leaf, red thyme, tea tree, peppermint, nutmeg, rosemary and pine to treat lice. This study found all of these oils except rosemary and pine to be effective against head lice when applied in an alcoholic solution, followed by a rinse the next morning with an essential oil/vinegar/water mixture.

At least one of ten children will contract head lice before they reach the sixth grade. As these pests become increasingly resistant to chemical pesticide solutions, alternative treatments must be sought. In addition to the scientific support, people who have persevered through a louse infestation are grateful for the wonders of essential oils. Being prepared for a personal plight against these critters, advising clients how to best handle them or playing a role in preventing their transmission can all benefit from an education in aromatherapy.

Recommended Study:
Aromatherapy Essentials


Cleary, BJ, Gilmer JF, et al., Inhibition of acetylcholinesterase by Tea Tree oil, The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, March 2004.

Main, Emily, It’s Okay to Nit Pick, The Green Guide, August 1, 2006.

Mumcuoglu KY, Miller J, The in vivo pediculicidal efficacy of a natural remedy, The Israel Medical Association Journal, October 2002.

Veal, L., The potential effectiveness of essential oils as a treatment for headlice, Pediculus humanus capitis, Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery, August 1996.

Wormwood, Valerie Ann, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, New World Library, Novato, CA, 1991., Natural Head Lice Treatments, Anne Helmenstein, PhD, All Info About Ltd., 2006., Head Lice Facts, Department of Health Promotion and Education, 2006., Factoids, The National Pediculosis Association, Inc., 2006., Head Lice Information, Richard J. Pollack, PhD, Harvard School of Public Health, 2006., Infections: Head Lice, Nemours Foundation, 2006.

Posted by Editors at 04:22 PM
© 2009 Institute for Integrative HealthCare Studies. This work is reproduced with the permission of the Institute. <>

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Jun 09 2009

Protection from Autumn’s Viruses

To stave off the viruses that often accompany the arrival of the fall season, bodyworkers must be extra vigilant in order to protect themselves and their clients. Learn what else contributes to a healthy immune system and tips to maintain an optimal healing environment.

by Nicole Cutler, L.Ac.

Autumn brings back-to-school sales, a chill in the air and plenty of viruses to avoid. As a service professional with your door open to the public, viruses both mild and nasty can make their way into your healing space. Whether you provide bodywork to teachers or parents of runny-nosed children, receive a sneezing client on your treatment table or have someone under the weather waiting for a client in your reception area, autumn’s germs are everywhere. Keep yourself and clients healthy by learning to foster an optimal healing environment. Minimization of virus transmission and elimination of airborne germs will keep your massage practice from perpetuating the common cold.

Practitioner Resistance
Perhaps the most important component of a healthy environment is maintaining the bodyworker’s immune system. Someone who is ‘burning the candle at both ends’ will lack the strength necessary to fight off a communicable illness. Contributors include:

• Eating irregularly
• Consuming foods that lack nutritional value
• Drinking alcohol and smoking
• Working long hours
• Getting insufficient sleep
• Lacking movement or exercise
• Sacrificing fun and joy

Attention to general lifestyle factors will not only make a person feel better, but will also increase their immune system’s strength. Such factors include:

• Eating regular, healthy and nutritionally balanced meals.
• Supplementing diet with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Vitamin C, Zinc and Echinacea are all believed to strengthen one’s immunity to colds and the flu.
• Saving vices (alcohol and sugar consumption) as occasional treats.
• Quitting smoking. Tobacco smoking has been linked with the weakening of the immune system. Smokers on average take 25% more sick days a year than non-smokers.
• Setting limits on work. This will leave you more time for rest, relaxation, fun and sleep.
• Adhering to a regular exercise routine. Research proves that regular exercise strengthens the immune system.

The stronger a practitioner’s immune system, the less likely they are to act as a viral conduit from one client to the next.

Germ-free Environment
Excellent hygiene practices are crucial for minimizing contagion. This includes:

• Changing linens between every client
• Doorknob cleaning
• Scrupulous hand washing
• Air purification

Changing linens and cleaning doorknobs
While most practitioners understand the importance of linen changes, it is easy to become lax with this crucial practice. Even though a client appears to be perfectly healthy and may leave the massage table without any evidence of their previous session, the linens must be clean and fresh for each person. Since viral particles are undetectable to the naked eye, failure to provide fresh linens can easily result in viral transmission.

Doorknob germs are a prime suspect in the transmission of the common cold. An easy tip to minimize viral spread during cold and flu season is to keep some antimicrobial wipes handy, and wipe down doorknobs between clients.

Hand washing
To avoid catching a client’s cold; bodyworkers must wash their hands thoroughly and regularly, as well as refrain from touching their own face. If the therapist touches the client’s face (by performing any type of facial massage), be sure to follow immediately with thorough hand washing. Research has demonstrated that anti-bacterial soaps have no effect on the cold virus – it is the mechanical action of hand washing that removes the virus particles. In 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended alcohol based hand gels as an effective method for reducing infectious viruses on the hands. However, subsequent research supports findings that the physical rubbing together of hands is the primary cleanser.

The following is a highly recommended hand washing protocol:

1. Turn on water to a moderate flow and wet hands.
2. Place liquid soap in hands. While plain soap is fine for routine hand washing, an antimicrobial soap is advised for use with an immune compromised client – or in the event of a blood or suspicious body fluid exposure.
3. Rub hands briskly for 30 seconds, including knuckles, between fingers and under nails. Wash up to forearms.
4. Rinse hands in a downward motion, from forearms to fingertips.
5. Dry hands completely with paper towel.

Disinfecting the air
Since viruses are primarily transmitted from person to person via cough or sneeze droplets, neutralizing airborne germs can prevent viral inhalation. While some practitioners may rely on aerosol spray disinfectants, many people (as well as the environment) are sensitive to these products. A natural, yet effective alternative is releasing an antimicrobial essential oil into the air.

When high quality essential oils are chosen, they can possess significant healing properties. Three essential oils typically relied on for their antimicrobial properties are:

1. Grapefruit
2. Orange
3. Tea tree

An easy method to disinfect the air is to use a spray bottle. Add 10 drops of a chosen essential oil to two ounces of water and spray the air in between clients. Another method to use in your healing space is an air diffuser. Use approximately six drops in a diffuser to maintain a continual dispersal of essential oil in the air.

Grapefruit and orange are more desirable for most healing spaces because the aroma of tea tree may be too strong for client appreciation. Tea tree essential oil dispersal into the air is best at the end of the day, to rid your office of any remaining airborne germs.

Maintaining your own immune system, practicing excellent professional hygiene and using aromatherapy to keep your environment germ-free are all ideal methods for making your healing space a retreat from autumn’s cold and flu season.

Recommended Study:
Aromatherapy Essentials

References:, Common Cold, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. August 2006., Using Essential Oils, Elizabeth Van Buren Essential Oil Therapy, 2006.

Posted by Editors at 02:18 PM

© 2009 Institute for Integrative HealthCare Studies. This work is reproduced with the permission of the Institute. <>

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