Category Archives: Essential oils


An aromathereapy Massage for Loss and Grief.

At my practice in Central Cambridge and Trumpington, a significant proportion of my clients have issues of loss and grief. Given that as we go through life there are not many of us who will not experience bereavement or break up of a relationship not to mention other losses that is probably no surprise.

Oils I often find myself reaching for in this situation  are Rose, Lemon and Frankincense.  There are a number of other  oils that come from herbs that have been used as funeral herbs by different cultures over the years that I might also use.

Rose is one of the top oils for emotional healing. Frankincense helps to still the mind from repetitive thoughts and lemon promotes clarity of thought. I will often do a massage that is not as deep tissue in style as I would at other times, concentrating on being more nurturing. (How many people in these situations just want a hug from a close one?)

The one part of the massage where I do go fairly deep though still less deep than my usual is the abdomen. A lot of clients have found this particularly nurturing and helps them to let go of tensions they are holding there. Our language reflects this with phrases such as, “I couldn’t stomach it” and, “gut feelings.”

So If you have suffered a recent loss or you have an older loss that you still struggle with remember there is no such thing as a right or wrong way to manage the grief process. Do consider whether an aromatherapy massage might help and if you think it could,

Phone 07939273569 or email to find out more.


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 to book.



Towards the end of the 17th Century, Anne Marie Orsini, Duchess of Bracciano and Princess of Nerola, Italy, introduced the essence of the bitter orange tree to fashionable society by using it to perfume her gloves and bath. Since then Neroli has been the name given to the essential oil produced by steam distillation of the flowers of the Bitter Orange.

At one time in Madrid it was used in an altogether less elevated part of society. – It was worn by prostitutes as a way of enabling men to recognise them for what they were!

Perhaps given the above it is not surprising that Neroli has long been describes as one of the aphrodisiac oils but to see it simply as such would be an oversimplification. It is particularly good at treating nervous depression which quells sexual desire.

It is also goo for promoting emotional harmony and to me is the most important oil for dealing with deep emotional trauma.

On the physical side it is an oil that can aid eczema, particularly when it is a form that is exacerbated by stress. It similarly can help with irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive tract problems.

One of my favourite oils it is unfortunately not cheap, the yield from the flowers being only 0.1%.

It is also loved by bees and in places where orchards of citrus are grown produces a fine honey.


Lets hear it for pain!

I was struck by a news item today on BBC World Service which talked about medics having enabled someone to feel pain!

I know that many if not most of my clients’ instinctive reaction to this would be, “Why!?” Yet, not being able to feel pain puts the person in a lot of danger. They will not pull their hand away from heat be it a hot kettle or perhaps something even more dangerous. They are at danger of asphyxiating when sleeping at night and of getting pressure sores because they do not feel the discomfort that makes them turn over. Or at a very simplistic level if we break a leg, it stops us standing on it and damaging it furhter!

Paradoxically, those behind this research believe that it might also be useful in looking at ways to help those in Chronic pain which does not have a useful function. What they didn’t say was what the time scale for this was.

Until then, I will continue to use massage and aromatherapy to help those in Chronic pain. A question that therapists in pain clinics often ask is, “Is it better to feel the pain and still be able to get on with life or to feel the pain and not be able to do anything?”

I see part of my job working with chronic pain as to help people reach the stage where they can carry on with life as they wish to. For some this does mean a big reduction in the amount of pain they feel. For others it is more about helping with the depression that often comes with chronic conditions of all types.

Oils used for depression which almost always increases the level of pain felt include Bergamot, Lemon and Frankincense. Oils for the pain often include lavender, Marjoram and Ginger.

As always, I look to choose oils that have multiple functions. The culinary herb oils and the citrus ones are both useful in constipation, encouraging peristalsis. (Constipation is very common in depression.) As a general rule I try and ensure that every oil I choose for a treatment addresses at least two issues that a client has and also for each issue I wish to address, I use at least two oils. I take a similar approach in the massage I give to clients in my Cambridge practice.


Unusual Oils

When I see a new research paper on an essential oil more often than not it is one I have at least heard of. However there are vast numbers of essential oil bearing plants that I know nothing of. I have heard of the fruit, Mangosteen but never seen it. I had never heard of the essential oil before today.

Garcinia mangostana is an oil that I have not used and will almost certainly never use! However my interest was piqued by a research paper I saw yesterday. It makes two points about why the research was carried out.

  1. 80 % of people in developing countries rely on plant medicine for most of their treatment of health problems.
  2. In all countries, not just developing ones, there is an increase in resistance to antibiotics.

The research was looking at the antimicrobial properties of the oil but the oil also contains a chemical compound that has been shown to be useful as a cytotoxic drug with some cancers. It was a very effective antimicrobial.

This along with one of the tests carried out means that the oil is quite toxic and so not suitable for aromatherapy use. The fruit from this tree is used in traditional medicine for dysentery and other gastric problems.

Looking at the same test for toxicity when used with the essential oils of Nutmeg, (Myristica fragrans) this oil is more than a thousand times more toxic so while the essential oil may have properties that make it useful in medical applications it is unlikely that it will ever make it into the aromatherapists repertoire.

This will not stop me looking at research papers on new oils as there are several being used today that were not commonly used when I first trained.


Massage and Aromatherapy for FibroMyalgia

I was reading on another blog recently about the struggles the writer was having with her FM.

I commented as follows

I would suggest a blend of Roman or German Chamomile, Frankincense, Ginger and Rosemary. Either diluted in a carrier oil (any good quality vegetable oil such as olive, sunflower or coconut will do) or in an oil burner or diffuser. Despite the claims of a couple of companies that engage in dodgy marketing strategies do not take essential oils orally!

The first three oils all have analgesic properties, whereas Rosemary is the one I have found most effective in helping energy levels with the Fibro-Myalgia clients I have worked with in Cambridge

Do not be afraid to try other oils however, especially if there are any of those I have mentioned that you really don’t like.

If diluted in a carrier oil, rub some onto your belly as well as your neck and top of your chest. The latter will make some of the oil evaporate so you ca breathe it in which has a faster effect than absorption through the skin.

Have you tried massage? I know this is not for every person with ME/FM and as the expert on your own body you need to be able to tell any massage therapist what level of pressure etc is right for you.

Some therapists think they know best and will leave clients feeling even more exhausted through the use of over vigorous massage.

The one extra oil I might add to the blend is Bergamot as depression is very common not just with FM but with all chronic illness.

Call 07939 273 569 or email to book an appointment.