Aromatherapy: What’s New

By Gill Farrer-Halls on April 27, 2011

The practice of aromatherapy has been widespread here in the UK for several decades now, and I no longer hear the phrase “aroma what?” when I reply to the question of what I do. Aromatherapy - and its main treatment of aromatherapy massage - are definitely established in the holistic complementary therapeutic environment.

Like all evolving therapies, aromatherapy also has new developments in how it is practised. New essential oils are frequently discovered, tested for their suitability and then brought into mainstream aromatherapy. Essential oils such as the Japanese citrus yuzu, used for a long time in Japan for health and healing, and the new sandalwoods from New Caledonia and Australia introduced into aromatherapy to replace the endangered Indian sandalwood, are now quite popular in the UK aromatherapy world.

One of the most exciting developments over the last few years has been the increasing use of floral waters, known as hydrosols. Rose water, and to some extent orange flower water, have been well known for their skin care qualities since before our Mothers’ generation. But now there is a wealth of different and exotic hydrosols available.

Hydrosols are the by-product of essential oil distillation, being the end result of the steam used in the distillation process. Steam passes through the plant material and when the resulting mixture is cooled, the essential oil floats to the top while the hydrosol lies underneath. Hydrosols contain tiny amounts of the aromatic compounds present in essential oils and have a much more subtle fragrance.

Unlike essential oils, which must be diluted before applying to the skin, hydrosols can be used undiluted straight on to the skin. On a hot summer’s day a spray bottle of rose water to freshen your face is most welcome. Hydrosols are also a prime ingredient of face creams, body lotions, skin toners, deodorants and other home made natural cosmetics, and with the increasing popularity of making your own natural skin care products hydrosols have been widely embraced.

However, there is still nothing like a full body aromatherapy massage with the skilled massage techniques of an experienced aromatherapist and a delicious mix of essential oils blended just for you. Although modern aromatherapy differs a little from the ancient healing arts, nonetheless aromatherapy massage will help heal and bring wellbeing to mind, body and spirit in the same way the ancients used their aromatic potions alongside traditional massage.

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