resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
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.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
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.
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.
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.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
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.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
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.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
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.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
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.
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.
April, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 04
Methods: Inhalation and Topical Application of Essential Oils
By Shellie Enteen, RA, BA, LMBT
It's my hope that the information and guidelines presented in this and following articles on the basics of aromatherapy, culled from more than 20 years of experience, will help propel Massage Today readers in the right direction on a journey through the wonderful, welcoming and profitable world of essential oils.
When working with essential oils in massage, it is helpful to understand the way they enter the body. There are two basic pathways that we utilize in a massage practice: inhalation and topical application.
Inhalation and the process of olfaction are well documented and understood. During inhalation, the volatile molecules of essential oils become a vapor which contacts the sensory nerves in the nasal passage. Now, the vapor is converted to an electrical charge that is carried via the olfactory nerve to the olfactory bulb and into the brain. (At this point, there are several theories of how the charge is recognized.) However, it is then conveyed to the limbic region and reaches the hypothalamus, where it will continue on to either the ANS or the pituitary gland to stimulate hormone activity. Other molecules will pass into the cerebral cortex, stimulating memory, learning and emotional responses. Blood circulation is immediately accessed during inhalation via the nasal mucosa and the alveoli in the lungs.
Inhalation of essential oils is achieved through diffusion via machine or air sprays in the office or treatment room. It is also the most direct pathway of the aromatic blend or essence used during the massage. The therapist and other clients or office staff will also receive essences diffused into common areas via inhalation. Because of this, it's good to note that regarding true essential oils (versus synthetic fragrance), once the brain recognizes and transmits the information of the essential oil molecule, the sense of smell is satisfied and the fragrance may stop being detected -- unless we leave the room and re-enter, causing this to become "new information" for the olfactory nerve to deliver. However, the molecules remain active and in the air for hours.
Unless an air purifier is used between clients, the treatment room can become a muddled mixture of blends. This will tamper with the purity of the specific aromatic treatment. For example, if the goal is to relax a client, but stimulating essences are still in the room, the relaxing effect will be lessened ... and vice versa. The buildup can also become overpowering for the therapist. For these reasons, using an air purifier to clear the aromatic molecules in the room while the sheets are being changed is a very good idea. And because the constant diffusion of essential oils will also build up in the waiting room, a time release diffuser is preferable. It is best to use essences that are neither too sedative or stimulating, such as those from citrus and wood, for common areas. For greatest purity of experience, use no fragrance at all in the rest of the office or in the treatment room.
Unlike inhalation, the amount and action of essential oils absorbed in topical application is not as well understood, nor can it be completely and accurately described at this time.
Dermal penetration presents a more difficult route, beginning with the fact that percutaneous absorption requires that the essential oil in liquid form enters the stratum corneum, the thin outer layer of the skin that is equipped to protect the body from invading organisms. Hair follicles, eccrine and apocrine glands, which account for only 1 percent of the skin's surface, provide easier access than the cells and keratin content of the stratum corneum. Thus, certain areas of the body are said to be more permeable: forehead and scalp, soles and palms, genitals, armpits and mucous membranes.
According to aromatherapist and educator, Salvatore Battaglia, if the essence is able to permeate the complex biological functions of the stratum corneum, a variety of things can occur. One potential is for the essential oil molecule to remain in the skin itself, where it may be metabolized by cutaneous enzymes. (It is speculated that enzymes may convert some components, such as safrole, methyl chavicol and carvacrol, into potentially harmful substances.)
Another possibility is that the essence remains in the skin, forming a reservoir by binding to the stratum corneum or subcutaneous fat where it may be slowly released into the capillaries. The best case scenario is that all or part of the essential oil components will reach and be completely absorbed into the cutaneous micro-circulation.
Essential oil components may also bind with proteins in the skin, which creates the sensitizing response of allergic contact dermatitis. Skin permeability may be increased by:
Research about skin absorption rates have not resulted in a clinically proven pathway to date. In addition, none of these studies or speculations takes into account the vibratory action of the essence when it touches the body. These effects can be experienced, even if not successfully measured.
Regarding the topical method, Sylla Sheppard-Hanger writes, "Just because whole essential oils may not be absorbed into the bloodstream creating a systemic reaction, beneficial skin affects and certainly the mental effects (relaxation) are very much possible with essential oil treatments. ...Certainly the beneficial mental effects induced when using a pleasing fragrance cannot be denied."
The combination of inhalation, vibration and potential dermal penetration, coupled with the caring touch of the therapist could well be the reason Sylla concludes, "The safest and most pleasant method of delivery is the external use of essential oils (highly diluted), usually in the form of massage."
Click here for more information about Shellie Enteen, RA, BA, LMBT.
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