Keeping Cool and Safe in the Heat

As I write, the temperature here in Cambridge is about 37C which is why I am writing this and not working hard on the allotment.

This week has been one of the few when I have been able to see clients with no heating whatsoever in the room. Also washed towels or sheets from doing a massage dry within minutes once hung out on the line.

So what about he safety? A vigorous massage increases blood flow to the skin and can also increase perspiration. If you have a massage in this heat make sure you drink plenty of water afterwards. There is no need to take extra salt or at least not unless you are one of those very few people who only eat fractionally more than the recommended daily intake. Most of us have so much above what we need that we will still be perfectly fine and may even be healthier with a lower level of sodium in our bodies.

Make sure you protect your skin if out in the sun! In the middle of the day that means an spf of 30 or more and re-apply regularly. If swimming re-apply after swimming. Water resistant sun protection creams etc are not water proof!

And for my part as a massage therapist if I see a client in the morning or early afternoon, there are some oils I will not be using. Basil and most of the citrus oils plus a couple of less common ones have chemical compounds in them that can cause a severe photo-sensitivity reaction.

This is most likely if either by accident or lack of knowledge the oils are applied undiluted to the skin but it can happen even with diluted oils. If these oils have been used on your skin or you have preparations with them in, do not go out in the sun after application for twelve hours. So, late afternoon/evening I don’t mind using them so long as my client knows this. In the morning, for me, the risk of them having to change plans for some reason and getting a severe burn type reaction is too much.

Note, there are essential oils with the offending component removed. With essential oils this will be stated on the bottle. It should also be stated on preparations but may not be. If not stated I would play safe and assume it isn’t.

One last point, In my local paper yesterday the advice was given to put a few drops of lavender essential oil into a bath to cool down. Don’t! Unless the oil is diluted you can get a sensitivity reaction. It might not happen the first time or even the tenth or eleventh but it could still happen any time. Essential oils don’t mix with water but float on top so you end up having pure essential oil on the skin. Put the drops of oil in 10ml of Vodka first and thoroughly mix. That way you will be safe.