resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
July, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 07
Inside Aromatherapy -- How to Recognize and Offer High-Quality Aromatherapy
By Shellie Enteen, RA, BA, LMBT
Aromatherapy is a natural adjunct to the practice of massage, and one that greatly enhances the therapeutic experience. The demand for aromatherapy is booming. It has become a must-have modality at spas and salons, and essential oil companies are springing up everywhere.Most schools of massage have minimal training in aromatherapy, but massage therapists don't have the luxury of years of private research to become proficient in this modality. Because of this, and my love for the essences, I became a teacher of aromatherapy for massage therapists at the CEU level. It's my hope that the information and guidelines presented in this article, culled from over 10 years of experience, will help speed you in the right direction on your journey through the wonderful, welcoming and profitable world of essential oils.
Though relatively new to the U.S., the art and practice of aromatherapy are as old as our relationship with plants. Infused oils, pomades and plant resins were used from ancient times for healing, cosmetic and ceremonial purposes. References to the properties and uses for essential oils are found in manuscripts from China, India and Egypt dating as far back as 2800 BC. However, since most of these substances were rare and costly, they were employed mainly in the royal courts and temples, administered with ritual and invocation. Trade routes and methods of extraction were often closely guarded secrets.
A plant's "essential oil" is a liquid produced in small, gland-like pockets. The word "essential" refers to the fact that this liquid contains the imprint of the plant's specific qualities and acts as a protection for the plant itself. The volatile molecules of the essential oil communicate with the plant's environment, and with mankind, through aroma and vibratory rate.
In the 12th century, the introduction of the process of distillation in Europe made a large number of previously unobtainable plant essences available. Along with herbs and spices, these were the medicines of the time, and the primary ingredient of personal fragrances. Ironically, 19th century chemists, anxious to identify the active biochemical ingredients and their effects, laid the groundwork for synthetic derivatives, leading to the decline of essential oils and herbal medicine.
Modern scientific literature on essential oils began in the 1920s with the French chemist Gattefosse. He accidentally burned himself while working in his laboratory and instinctively plunged his hand into an open vat of lavender (a popular ingredient in the colognes and sachets of his day.) To his amazement, the burn healed without pain, blistering or scarring. Subsequent investigation into the sedative and regenerative properties of lavender led to scientific exploration and testing of other essences. A great deal of medical research on the effects of essential oils now exists, leaving no doubt that when the right oil is chosen, at the right time, wonderful things can occur.
However, there are also contraindications for essences, as well as possible sensitivities and dosage guidelines. Therapists who choose to use aromatherapy in conjunction with work on mind/body -whether in spas or private practice, as room diffusion or in massage -- need to be well-educated with regard to properties and effects and to treat essential oils with the respect they deserve as a powerful healing modality. Simply adding lavender to massage oil, or using the same commercially prepared blend for every client, isn't the way to go if you want to use these substances professionally and responsibly.
Many books and classes on aromatherapy are available, some for continuing education credit. As in other areas of our practice, opinions about therapeutic applications can vary, so try to read and listen to as many leaders in the field as possible so that you can form your own opinion. Also, because an individual's response to essences can differ from time to time, a good "sense" of which essence to choose can be as valuable as all the literature on properties. To develop this, familiarize yourself with different essences and the information conveyed through their individual aromas. Pay attention to "likes and dislikes," because it is thought that these responses communicate desirability of effects.
It is also important to realize that the most powerful aromatherapy treatment is simple inhalation. Molecules enter the brain and blood stream immediately via nerves, nasal membranes and the alveoli in the lungs. Essential oils are also said to pass the blood-brain barrier and studies indicate that some is absorbed directly into the lymph through skin contact. Realize, then, that you and your client receive the treatment at the same time. The greater your repertoire of essences, the more you can moderate your own exposure to certain oils. And it is advisable to use only therapeutic quality essential oils, which indicates a substance manufactured and grown with integrity and without adulteration or harmful additives. Therapeutic quality may cost more than fragrance grade, but it is definitely worth it, even for room diffusion.
True essential oils range in price from extremely expensive (like melissa, rose, jasmine,); to expensive (like frankincense, chamomile, sandalwood,); to moderate (like ginger, peppermint, basil); to inexpensive (like lavender, rosemary, orange.) "Bargains" are not always what they seem to be in this field. You should question whether therapeutic quality is present when a wide variety of essences are displayed in the same amount (usually 10 milliliters) for the same price. Think twice when an essence you know to be very expensive is offered in large quantity at a low price.
Many factors influence quality, including the method and expertise of extraction, and the region of growth. Also, a particular species of the same plant and/or extraction from certain parts of the plant may be considered better quality, and therefore more costly. (Quality standards may reflect both fragrance and levels of desired biochemical components.) For example, wild rose geranium from China may be almost twice the price of the farmed variety from Morocco. Orange blossom extracted from the flower and leaf can cost almost a third the price of that from the flower alone. And you'll pay more for silver fir (Abies alba) than for Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii.) As with crops, a shortage can push the price up. Occasionally, a price will come down, but usually not enough to take the essence out of its general price category.
In these and other ways, the essential oil business shares many characteristics with the wine industry: Many of the manufacturers of fine essential oils have been in business for centuries. Since plants are living organisms, they are affected by their environment and climate. Therefore, the same manufacturer can produce an essence that varies in aroma from year to year, so you can expect the same variance with true essential oils that you would from different vintages of wine.
Most distributors shop the manufacturers and repackage the essences, either singly or in blends, under their own label. Be wary if a distributor claims exclusivity on quality, but know that when distributors shop well, the results are good products that deliver fine fragrance and top therapeutic effect. Try distributors that are recommended by lecturers or referenced by authors of books on aromatherapy. Compare prices and samples. Experience will help you zero-in on the products you want to use in your practice.
The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy is this industry's American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). Offering conferences with international speakers, the organization promotes public awareness of true aromatherapy and standards for education and products. They can be reached at 1-888-ASK-NAHA or by email at .
Getting the information you need and finding the right products isn't really hard work. Attending lectures and sampling essences is both interesting and pleasurable - and it will bring tangible results. No matter how you choose to utilize essential oils in your practice, they will add a wonderful dimension to the therapeutic experience. Another benefit will be a growing respect and appreciation for the beauty, individuality and healing presence of our helpful neighbors in the plant kingdom.
Click here for more information about Shellie Enteen, RA, BA, LMBT.
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