Tag Archives: Ginger


Aromatherapy for pain, a look at the evidence.

Does Aromatherapy work for pain? I would imagine that just about every aromatherapist out there would say, “Yes it does!” This review on Pubmed  would seem to agree. I can’t quote verbatim from it currently as pubmed’s website is down right now.

However, statistics are one thing. What my clients with chronic or other pain want to know is, “Will it HELP ME?” They don’t care about whether it helps seven out of ten cats or whatever! Theyu want to reduce their own suffering.

In my experience, it is more likely to make a difference with severe chronic pain than severe acute pain. Acute pain is giving the body a message such as, “Take your hand away from the heat.” Chronic pain is often present long after an acute injury has healed or it may be from a condition such as Fibromyalgia etc. Here something is wrong with how the pain receptors in blood vessels are working. It is not a message to the body to sort something out. There is a need to disrupt the mechanism that these nerve pathways are using. That may be the pleasant sensations produced by a massage, the physiological action of the essential oils or even the emotional reaction to the aroma. All can play a part.


Abstract – now the site is back up!

“Background. Aromatherapy refers to the medicinal or therapeutic use of essential oils absorbed through the skin or olfactory system. Recent literature has examined the effectiveness of aromatherapy in treating pain. Methods. 12 studies examining the use of aromatherapy for pain management were identified through an electronic database search. A meta-analysis was performed to determine the effects of aromatherapy on pain. Results. There is a significant positive effect of aromatherapy (compared to placebo or treatments as usual controls) in reducing pain reported on a visual analog scale (SMD = -1.18, 95% CI: -1.33, -1.03; p < 0.0001). Secondary analyses found that aromatherapy is more consistent for treating nociceptive (SMD = -1.57, 95% CI: -1.76, -1.39, p < 0.0001) and acute pain (SMD = -1.58, 95% CI: -1.75, -1.40, p < 0.0001) than inflammatory (SMD = -0.53, 95% CI: -0.77, -0.29, p < 0.0001) and chronic pain (SMD = -0.22, 95% CI: -0.49, 0.05, p = 0.001), respectively. Based on the available research, aromatherapy is most effective in treating postoperative pain (SMD = -1.79, 95% CI: -2.08, -1.51, p < 0.0001) and obstetrical and gynecological pain (SMD = -1.14, 95% CI: -2.10, -0.19, p < 0.0001). Conclusion. The findings of this study indicate that aromatherapy can successfully treat pain when combined with conventional treatments.”

One area where a high quality study has been carried out is with Menstrual Pain, where the initial study compared abdominal massage with ginger essential oil compared with Thai Massage through clothes. The Abdominal massage group did considerably better. However this could have been the abdominal massage rather than the aromatherapy component . A further study was done comparing the abdominal massage with and without the ginger oil. Again the Aromatherapy group did significantly better.

So, if you wish to see how Aromatherapy Massage can help you with pain, do email me or phone. dave@cambridgearomatherapy.com or 07939273569 to book an appointment either in Trumpington or Central Cambridge.


A Winter Warmer

There are a lot of oils that might be associated with Christmas, the Solstice and indeed Winter in general. Oils that encourage us to look inside ourselves and aid meditation, just as plants draw their energies down into their roots before the exciting rush of growth in the spring. Frankincense and Myrrh are two of these.

Other oils of the season are the warming oils from spices that are used in many festive recipes. Ginger, Cinnamon, nutmeg along with the citrus oils that are light and help to keep our energy moving, Lemon  for clarity of thought, Bergamot which helps counter depression and Seasoned Affective Disorder.

I expect to be using all these oils a lot in the coming weeks but if you don’t have them in your home why not make either a mulled wine or mulled apple juice with the spices instead? You can add some slices of citrus to the mix and you can burn a good quality incense as well to complete the mix.

Another alternative is to book an aromatherapy massage in Trumpington or Central Cambridge. Phone  07939273569 or email dave@cambridgearomatherapy.com


Cancer and Aromatherapy

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month,


quickly followed by Movember. Most of those who have had brushes and more serious encounters with the big C have had other forms of the disease but if you look at the figures, cancer rates are increasing. The main reason for this is that as life expectancy goes up, there is more chance of our cells mutating to cause cancer. In the younger age group pollution, largely caused by motor transport is the main culprit in the increase, though there is  evidence that lifestyle and increasing levels of obesity also play a part.

There is evidence that some essential oils can kill cancer cells but any treatments based on this knowledge are at least a few years away and would be outside the scope of nearly all aromatherapists.

What we can help with is the trauma caused by cancer, both emotional and physical and both the direct trauma and that caused by treatments such as chemotherapy.

Ginger Essential Oil for example when inhaled has been shown to be effective in dealing with nausea caused by chemotherapy.

In my practice, both in Central Cambridge and in Trumpington, I have found it is not only those being treated for cancer that can be helped. It is also the close friends and relatives who can gain a lot from massage and aromatherapy in dealing with the situation.


Aromatherapy Massage for Depression in Cambridge


01In my massage and aromatherapy practice in Cambridge I see a lot of clients with depression, one day  out of five clients three were taking antidepressants prescribed either by a psychiatrist or a GP. Also three quarters of people with depression in The United Kingdom go undiagnosed or untreated — and even if the disorder is diagnosed, today’s medications will work well for only about half of those who seek help.

Depression affects about one in five older people, (two in five in care homes) Over a life time about one in four of us will suffer from depression at some point in our lives.

To see how depression has been ignored by researchers compared to cancer see this article in Nature Magazine.

Massage and Aromatherapy can be very helpful in depression for a number of reasons.

  1. Many when depressed do not feel they are worth spending time on. This leads them to deny themselves pleasurable experiences which then reinforces a belief that life is not good setting up a vicious circle. An aromatherapy massage can be part of breaking this pattern.
  2.   Depression is often characterised by a disturbed sleep pattern, either difficulty getting off to sleep or early morning wakening. aromatherapy can help deal with this sleep disturbance.
  3. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, depression is always associated with blocked Qi or energy. Most essential oils help to release blocked Qi in one part of the body or another. Massage is also powerful in doing this.
  4. Constipation and reduced bowel motility are symptoms of depression. Massage can help with this as can most of the oils derived from culinary herbs.

Essential oils used in treating depression include Bergamot and other citrus oils plus Melissa all helping to move stagnant or blocked Qi or energy. They are invigorating and uplifting in their aroma. Ginger, Pine and Rosemary among others can be used to increase energy levels while Rose and Jasmine can be used to help heal the effects of grief or abuse.

I can see clients both at the Salus Wellness Centre in Norfolk street or my home in Trumpington.

email dave@cambridgearomatherapy.com to find out more.


Insomnia needs an holistic approach.

I meet a lot of people who have problems getting to sleep at night and each one is different though some of these people share some of the factors.

Chronic Pain. There are a few of my clients with this who always sleep better for a few days after an aromatherapy massage. Sadly they can’t afford to get one every three days as if they could, I wouldn’t need to do any advertising at all for clients!

Worry. This is probably the most common reason both among my clients and friends. When we are busy, we don’t have time to worry and some  will do anything to avoid thinking about things till they try and go to sleep at which point it all starts….. This one is particularly true of students just before exam time at least in Cambridge!

Another group is those who drink coffee too late at night. – This seems not to affect me but many I know struggle to get to sleep at night if they drink coffee after about 4.00pm.

Treating Insomnia with Aromatherapy means working with the whole person, and working with their depression, anxiety, pain and whatever else they present with.

I use Lavender, Ginger, Rosemary, and Chamomile essential oils a lot for dealing with pain issues, Frankincense, and Bergamot for those who are depressed and Rose for those suffering from Grief issues.

Fortunately a number of these oils, Lavender, Chamomile and Frankincense in particular can also directly aid sleep so it is possible to utilise one of the permaculture principles of each element having multiple functions. It is rarely that I use an oil without having two or more reasons for choosing it.

If you struggle to sleep, why not book an aromatherapy massage.

07939 273 569



Arthritis, Massage and Aromatherapy

Often thought of as an, “older persons'” illness, this is not necessarily the case. There are juvenile forms of the disease and osteoarthritis can be present at a relatively early age due to bad work practice or repetitive actions from sports. It can also be a consequence of sports injuries. The rheumatoid form of the disease is an auto-immune disease.

Nearly all are able to get some relief from massage but it is important to remember that massage and aromatherapy will not reverse damage that has been done. the cartilage once destroyed does not regrow. It is also important to remember that the pain an individual experiences does not necessarily reflect the amount of damage that shows up on x-ray. Some with very little damage experience a lot of pain and some with a lot of damage seem to experience a lot less. Massage and aromatherapy are able to reduce the amount of pain experienced by a client. However those with chronic severe pain may still require analgesia. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy also helps many with chronic pain issues.

Essential oils that can help with arthritis include Scots Pine, Lavender, Ginger and Sweet Marjoram.

As psychological issues have a great effect on the experience of pain, oils like Bergamot for depression, and Frankincense for anxiety are also often useful and I often use these alongside the oils that directly effect arthritic pain in my Cambridge Practice.