Tag Archives: Sleep


Thoughts after Permaculture Intro

I loved having another Introduction to Permaculture course running in Trumpington, Cambridge. As ever, a lovely bunch of people and, each time I end up with slightly deeper knowledge of the subject to carry on in my own permaculture practice.

Again I am struck by the links between permaculture and aromatherapy.

Two of the principles of permaculture come to mind in particular.

Each element should have multiple functions


Each function should have multiple elements.

If we think about each oil in a blend being an element, it will always have several functions.

Take Lemon for example.

It is an an oil with both anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. It can be used for treating depression. It also promotes clarity of thought and is good for digestive problems. This makes it and some of the other citrus oils especially good for treating depression as thought clarity often suffers with the depressed client thinking they aren’t good enough or no one will like them etc. They are also more prone to infections and constipation is common in depression.

But as with conventional medical treatment for depression, Lemon may not be the best oil for all individuals with it, the same with Bergamot which is often thought of as the best oil for depression and shares the above properties. The main difference being Lemon is usually better for promoting clarity of thought and Bergamot better for feelings of being stuck.

However a blend of oils for depression will usually  include some other oils too. Frankincense is often good and is particularly good for helping calm the agitation that some depressed clients feel. Another oil that is particularly good for depression is Rose which is an amazing oil for healing the hurt that goes with loss after a break up or bereavement or from abuse. – All common in depression.

If sleep is a problem, I might well add Roman or German Chamomile, both oils that are good for sleep, digestive issues and agitation.

While I have used depression in this example, any other issue is also going to have a range of oils that can treat it with each chosen oil also treating other aspects of a client’s reasons for seeking treatment.

to book an appointment email dave@cambridgearomatherapy.com or phone 07929273569.



The Anatomy of Rest

Just been listening to this on BBC Radio4 and was struck by some of the figures from the survey they did on rest. 70% of people who responded felt they didn’t get enough rest. Also there were massive differences in what people did to rest. I can relate to that given that I used to do circus skills


as my main way to rest and still do some today. Reading came top of the list, followed by being in nature, Being on your own and music were next, both more popular in the younger age group. #5Doing nothing in particular, #6Walking, #7 Having a bath or showering, #8 Daydreaming #9 Watching TV and #10Meditating or practising mindfulness.

I haven’t yet looked at the results closely enough to see if they say where having a massage fits into the list but I know that for my clients both in Trumpington and in Central Cambridge it rates highly and some of my clients would if money was no object come every single day!

Massage especially when combined with Aromatherapy can be so much more than just resting for an hour or whatever the duration of the massage is. It can qualitatively enhance the quality of both rest and sleep outside of the session.

Do you get enough rest? When you do is it effective?

If the answer to either of these questions is no and you live in or near Cambridge,  then perhaps you should email dave@cambridgearomatherapy.com or phone 07939273569


Aromatherapy for Sleep Problems


When I see clients for problems with sleep Roman Chamomile and Lavender are oils that can be useful. However even more useful is addressing the issues that are behind the sleep problems. Only occasionally is sleep a primary cause for a client seeing me, even if that is what they talk about first a little questioning usually lets us explore what is behind the sleep problem.

So treating the stress, depression, grief or pain issues for example will help with the sleep far more than treating it alone in fact only treating the sleep issue rarely works if there is something more urgent behind it.

A recent example of this was a client I saw recently in Trumpington, Cambridge who had recently had a 14 year relationship end. I used Lemon for clarity of thought, Frankincense and Rose. Frankincense also helps aid a meditative state of mind and has been used as a funeral herb. Rose is legendary as an oil that is helpful in working with grief.

The massage was also less intense than I do for muscular problems, instead being more nurturing. A slow abdominal massage was particularly enjoyed by the client, helping them let go of emotions she was holding there.

For a massage to help with problems that lead to lack of sleep or any other reason,

call 07939273569 or email dave@cambridgearomatherapy.com




Lavender and Petitgrain.



Over the past week I have been making a new standard mix of my handcream/skin balm, using Beeswax from my own bees kept in Trumpington, Cambridge. Previously I just had the one which used, Sea Buckthorn, Geranium and Frankincense. The new one uses Lavender and Petitgrain the citrus balancing the lavender perfectly. Petitgrain is produced by steam distillation from the leaves and green twigs of the Citrus family, usually bitter orange but a petitgrain can be produced from any citrus tree. Fragrant Earth produce a comparative pack with petitgrain from combava (a type of lime), lemon and Manderin.

This combination is especially good for sleep difficulties with both oils having benefits in this regard.

I will be selling this and the original mix at Seedy Sunday on 24th January. You can also buy it from me by mail order. As well as the two standard mixes the new one is £8 for a 60ml pot, the original £750ml. (Makes things easier for me having them in different sizes but actually my supplier running out of the smaller size was the real reason!)

To buy these, book a massage or a consultation to buy a handream with oils chosen specially for your needs contact me at dave@cambridgearomatherapy.com

or phone 07939 273 569





When I see a client, I am always looking for patterns. These patterns are sometimes obvious but sometimes less so. Different elements in a pattern may include the client’s weight or more usefully the amount of fat they are carrying,their musculature, posture, gait, skin texture, tongue colouration, pulse and of course the answers to the questions I ask.

Often, especially though not only when I am seeing a client who has come for primarily psychological reasons, I will ask a very specific question and they will ask, “How did you know that?” This is because I think I have spotted a pattern and want to be sure I am right.

This ability to recognise patterns is something most of us do all the time in our every day lives. When cooking, we might use a combination of sounds, sight and smell to tell us something is ready and then prod it with a knife or skewer to see if we were correct. Not that I am suggesting massage therapists should prod their clients with skewers!

Just as I or a doctor will look for patterns rather than relying on just one symptom to tell us what is wrong, so we can learn to spot patterns in our own lives and bodies that tell us when something is wrong. A single night’s poor sleep may just mean there has been an alarm going off on a nearby building site. If this happens once a year it is annoying but not something that we need to worry about. If it happens every Sunday night there is a pattern that we can address with those involved, either directly or through the services local councils provide for this. It could be especially important if we usually have important meetings on Monday mornings!

If we are sleeping poorly every night, the pattern is more worrying and it is time to look for other elements. Are we worried about anything? Are we depressed? Are we in pain? The additional factors could be any or none of these three.Here in Cambridge for some it could be related to fewer but brighter street lights having been installed or for some it could just be that they are sleeping in a different bed that isn’t comfortable! I need to be aware that not everything that a client comes to me with is going to be illness!

So like any detective, I need to look for patterns and when I think I have found one check out the accuracy of my guesses. Only then can I start to think about which essential oils, massage techniques etc might be used to help my client change those patterns into ones which in the example above give them a good night’s sleep.

Massage and aromatherapy for sleep in Cambridge

At least a quarter of my clients have sleep problems, many but not all of them related to either depression or anxiety. And of course, stress.

Massage in itself can be used to help with all of these problems but, essential oils, chosen for the individual can make this a much more powerful and effective treatment. Vetiver is probably the most effective oil for anxiety and helping one to be grounded. However we are all individuals and if an oil has an unpleasant association for you I won’t use it as that would negate it’s therapeutic effect, more so when treating psychological conditions than physical.

One of the two chamomile essential oils or Blue Tansy are good for sleep and Frankincense is also good for this. If depression is involved I would add Bergamot. If also treating for a cough at the same time I might use Rosemary. If this is to be used by the client at night, I would make sure they use the linalol chemotype (The type of Rosemary essential oil I use most) rather than the camphor chemotype which is better for helping to clear the chest but more stimulating and likely to promote alertness rather than sleep.

There are many other oils that I might use depending on your particular needs, if pain is involved, then one of the lavenders is always worth adding to the blend.

However the most important thing is to address the cause of the sleep problems, so if anxiety is the major reason, sleep will improve if anxiety lessens. The same with depression etc. There is never a one size fits all solution in aromatherapy, however nice it would be if there was.