Category Archives: Cambridge

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Clients as Experts

This is a subject I keep coming back to in my mind and thinking even when I don’t write about it. On the physical side, it is the client who knows all the little things they do to avoid feeling pain from an injury that has become chronic, sitting in a particular chair, turning in one direction rather than another  whenever possible, leading with one foot rather than another when climbing or descending stairs. (This may be different in each case.)

In the same way, the anxious client usually knows which situations they avoid and the things they say to themselves to get through difficult situations. The client with PTSD knows at least some of the likely triggers for them. They know which people to have around them to reduce the chances of being triggered and they usually though not always know what the initial event or events that led to the trauma is or are.

As a practitioner, it is my job to get as much of this information from the client as possible. This makes  it less easier to come up with a clear formulation as to how to proceed. Some  clients will happily strip off in front of me while others would be made too anxious and I would always leave the room. (My default position unless they start getting undressed before I have the chance to say I am leaving the room while they do so.

Some clients want a deep tissue massage to work out tensions in muscles whereas others need something which is much more nurturing in nature. and unless I can really empower them to find their internal expert, I won’t be able to choose the oils that are the best combination for them or do the best massage for them.

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Changing oils with the seasons

As spring develops, I have dealt with my first swarms of bees, they were on a sage bush on my allotment in Trumpington Cambridge. I notice that the essential oils I use change a little. I use less Rosemary, Eucalyptus and Tea Tree, warming oils that help to prevent and deal with infections. I find myself using more of the cooling oils such as Lemon, Melissa and geranium.

Asthma and hay fever become more common and I use anti-inflammatory oils like chamomile to help with that. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are said by many sufferers to be  worse in the colder months and while research suggests the correlation is weak at best it is difficult to deny the experience of individuals. I don’t have enough clients with these conditions to form a strong view on the subject. As ever I treat the individual rather than the index complaint.

In summary, I find myself treating clients now who are more likely to need cooling oils than the hot dry natured oils I use more of in winter. There is still a chance to book an Aromatherapy massage with the £% off for new clients till the end of April making one hour £45 and ninety minutes £50.

Call 07939273569 or email dave@cambridgearomatherapy.com to book.

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Unseasonable weather.

Normally, I would have expected to see the first frost of the season by now. As it is we are still picking Autumn fruiting raspberries every other day.  Aromatic plants that have normally lost their leaves by now haven’t done so and my bees are still busy collecting nectar from Ivy.

It is however cold enough that I need the woodstove lit for massage at home and of course heating on at the clinic.

Here in Cambridge , I still see many people who are having their first massage. This speeded up (over half an hour of massage compressed into less than two minutes) video gives an idea of the massage I do. At some point (having sorted out the technology) I will be posting one at normal speed!)

Who is in charge?

Why do I ask this? I guess largely because this question is I suspect in many client’s minds when they come for a massage be that an aromatherapy treatment or any other sort of massage be it sports or deep tissue or Swedish.

I covered some of the ground I am looking at now in my last post on “What happens when I come for an appointment.” I was prompted to write this because the same day, I had a female client who came with a voucher bought by a female friend who had been for an appointment a couple of weeks previously.

She was very nervous, obviously about the fact that I was a male practitioner and asked if I could restrict the massage to her back, legs and arms. My response was, “Of course. A massage that makes you feel uncomfortable is not going to help you in any way.”

We talked some more about what she wanted from the massage and stress relief was a major part of it. So I chose oils with that in mind. When I returned to the room after she had got undressed, instead of lying the towel on top of her she had wrapped it tightly around her body. This meant that I didn’t massage the bottom third of her back nor as high u on her legs as I normally would.

While for maximum benefit, I might have wanted to massage more of her body, I had no doubt that the stress involved for her would have more than outweighed any benefit. The most important thing was to allow her to be in charge. I also decided to leave the room while she turned over in order to allow me to massage the front of her legs.

I don’t know if the reasons for her nervousness were purely cultural or down to a traumatic experience in the past. If the latter, I may find out if she comes back which she said she might do. The important thing for me was to  do everything I could to ensure that the experience for her was not a traumatic one but rather one where she was able to feel in charge  cared for. Trying to break through her barriers with working with a man rather than allowing her to retain control would have been counter productive to say the least.