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Water is essential for healthy living. How much we need is a topic of some debate. I looked at various sites from an internet search and found figures for an adult male varying between 2litres and 3.7litres a day. However one site with the latter figure, included non-water beverages and our intake in food in that figure which muddies the water a bit. There are also sites that give even higher figures and it makes sense that if one is exercising or we are sweating a lot due to hot weather the figure should be increased.

There is also some evidence that increasing our water (and here I am talking about drinking it as water) can aid in losing weight through speeding up the metabolism.

However it was not health that got me thinking about water today but rather the fact that our allotment plots in Trumpington on the Southern edge of Cambridgeimg_20180616_205438 are desperate for it! We do not have hoses on our site so that means lots of carrying of watering cans. and this is another area where we need to look after our health.

Don’t carry a can heavier than is comfortable. Carry two smaller cans rather than one big one. (I use two big ones about two thirds full each as full they are slightly painful for my wrists.

When carrying these or other heavy objects be mindful about how you move, especially if you have any damaged knee, or hip joints etc. Keeping your body in alignment will prevent/reduce further damage.

Even if you follow the rules, if you have a large plot or garden, you might still end up with aches from this. That would be the time to book an aromatherapy massage by calling 07939273569 or emailing


Are Essential Oils safe?

The answer to this is, “Yes.” However that means, yes, so long as they are used as intended. There are some companies who advocate the internal use of essential oils and unless done under the supervision of someone qualified in aromatic medicine this practice is not safe. Neither is, “Raindrop therapy” the dropping of undiluted essential oils directly on the skin. This latter practice is if done regularly at a very high risk of causing sensitisation which can result in very severe skin reactions which in the future can happen even with the use of the oils diluted to the same degree as is normal in aromatherapy massage.

Another practice which is very common is the use of vaporisers or oil burners. With these, they should not be left on for more than half an hour at a time.

All these unsafe practices will not produce problems with everyone who is on the receiving end. If they did, these practices would be outlawed and the sale of essential oils would be under much greater scrutiny.

Lastly and again this does not happen with everyone is photo sensitivity reactions. Most of the citrus oils can cause this as can Basil and a few others. The sap of a number of plants can also cause these reactions, indeed, parsnip and most of the rest of that family of plants will cause a reaction if the sap gets on the skin and exposure to strong sunlight follows. The sap of these plants is a much higher risk than the essential oils mentioned.

What I can say is that the only severe reactions I have read about are from the misuse of essential oils. I have never seen a skin reaction that I have been sure is due to essential oils. (One client had a slight rash after a hand massage but this was in my view more likely to be a reaction to the carrier oil used. (Coconut in this case.) It is interesting to not that my practise of using unrefined oils is more likely to produce an allergy reaction than the use of more refined oils as the latter will not have any proteins present.

To summarise, I would say that used sensibly, my experience both in my practice in Cambridge and in my work with adolescents in Huntingdon Aromatherapy is a very safe therapy. The only fatalities ever recorded with essential oils are from the internal use of them and the only ones of those I have read about are either bottles being left where children can find them or deliberate consumption as a form of self harm.

To book an aromatherapy massage where not only will your own concerns and issues be addressed but also safety will be thought about at every stage phone 07939273569 or email dave@cambridgearomatherapy.comIMG_0764



Today, I will be celebrating my own birthday by going out for a meal. I also celebrated yesterday at a BBQ hosted by friends where I probably ate a bit more than I should have done and drank a little more alcohol than I should have done. (Though not as young as I once was, I only consumed a little more than the recommended maximum.)

I suspect that this is typical of most of those in Cambridge. There is a wide variety of places to eat and drink and both these activities are often a big part of birthday celebrations. I will also this week see a fellow practitioner to get an aromatherapy massage as this is something I don’t get for myself as often as I would like.

An Aromatherapy Massage is an ideal gift for a birthday so why not make this a present for yourself or someone you care about?

Call 07939273569 or email to book.


What goes into our bodies?

Perhaps because I am a practitioner of an holistic therapy or it may be just the company I keep but a lot of those I know are careful about what they eat and drink. Many only eat organic produce. Some are vegetarian, some vegan and all these terms are defined differently by different people. I make no judgements about others choices in this though I do have my own opinions but I also recognise that others  come from different starting points. At my local supermarket, I won’t buy much organic produce because of the amount of plastic it is packaged in.

My own stance is that for essential oils and the carrier/base oils I use, I do insist on organic. For some other things I feel local is more important than organic, especially meat and of course honey which comes from my own bees, kept on foster Road Allotments, Trumpington, Cambridge but I don’t call it organic because the bees forage on things like oil seed rape which is a heavily sprayed crop. The beeswax that goes into my skin balm, likewise I can not call organic. (Actually the amount I produce wouldn’t make it economic for me to get it certified even if it did meet all the criteria.

However, some crops and meat actual exceed the organic standards but either for economic or sometimes political (with a small p) reasons the producer chooses not to certify them.

What I do want is for all of us to think about where what we eat, drink or put on our skin comes from. I do believe that if we all do that we will make better and more informed choices.

If you wish to purchase skin balm or book a massage where all the choices have been  thought about from an ethical and environmental point of view please call 07939273569 or email


– can you guess the ending?


Increase in Mental Health Problems

This BBC news item caught my attention the other day. I was struck by what seems to me a dramatic increase over the last twenty or so years. While as the article states some of this may be explained by increased reporting, there has been a significant increase in severe mental illness and self harm even allowing for this.


The graph NHS Digital, Mental Health & Wellbeing in England, Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014 *Percentages scored in the highest category for overall neurotic symptoms

What does this mean for us, both as individuals and as a society? My  view based purely on anecdotal evidence and my own experience is that increasing pressures in society from various sources mean we have lost some of our capacity to care both for ourselves and for each other. I saw this increasing pressure in the NHS before I took early retirement and friends have said the same about other work places. I do not believe that the NHS is particularly worse than many other environments to work in, just that increasingly many staff are being asked to do more with fewer resources and inevitably that leads to problems with depression, anxiety, burnout and in extreme cases even psychosis for those who are vulnerable to this.

What then is the answer?

All of us need to take responsibility for this at personal, social and political levels. This means paying attention to our own personal energy levels and stresses, noting when colleagues and friends are struggling and making time for them and finding ways of not buying in to a society that insists on attempting to increase national wealth all the time. The need for never ending growth if a fallacy.

A big part of looking after ourselves and those around us is this noticing when things are not OK and taking time out for an Aromatherapy Massage, spending time in nature, going for a drink after work with colleagues etc.

Around Cambridge where I live and practice, despite the ever increasing amount of new development, we have many open spaces, community gardens and orchards, and nature reserves to do this.

And if an aromatherapy massage is what you need to de-stress and avoid tipping over into being one of those statistics, phone 07939273569 or email to talk about booking an appointment.


Nature’s Way

Having trained in Aromatherapy, as a nurse, both general nursing and mental health and also having trained for different lengths of time in different aspects of psychotherapy, I am often asked questions about what to do about a wide range of problems.

However even more often I get asked, “Should I be feeling this?” or some variation of that question seeming to imply that there is something wrong with what they are feeling. This may be a symptom that has gone on longer than they think it should after an injury or infection or it may be to do with emotional trauma. I see these feelings, whatever the source as nature’s way of telling us what is going on either in our body or in our mind.

These feelings are not right or wrong, they just are there. Sometimes the question is about not feeling upset enough about something. In these cases I sometimes ask how feeling more upset would help the individual or those around them. Perhaps they need to be the one in the system to hold things together for a while.

As an aromatherapist, I often find myself choosing oils with my clients that aid acceptance and paradoxically, acceptance often helps us to move on.

Oils that can help with this include Rose, Frankincense, Citrus oils, Vetiver and many more. Combining them with a massage treatment can relax both the body and the mind allowing the oils to do their work. At the same time the oils can relax or stimulate and make the massage more effective.

To book an aromatherapy massage treatment in Cambridge, please email or phone 07939273569