Aromatherapy is a holistic therapy which uses the essential oils of plants – the concentrated aromatic volatile part of the plant – to alleviate illness and promote balance in the body. Oils are usually inhaled via steam inhalation or an oil burner, applied in massage or added to bathing water. Some aromatherapists prescribe oils to be taken orally. This should only be done by a fully trained and experienced aromatherapist using extremely high quality essential oils which have been passed for internal use.
Essential oils can be very helpful at times of hormonal change or imbalance. During the menopause oestrogen and progesterone levels are falling and the adrenal glands are adjusting to their new role: providing a more significant proportion of our sex hormones, as well as continuing to produce our stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Some essential oils are thought to support the production of our hormones by the ovaries and adrenal glands.
Rose and Geranium are two of my favourite oils for the menopausal years. Rose essential oil is made from either Rosa damascena which is often grown in Bulgaria, and Rosa Centifolia which is often grown in France and Northern Africa (the finished product is called Rose Maroc). All essential oils are incredibly complex and made up of hundreds of different chemical compounds which work together to create the overall effect of the oil. The two different types of Rose oil have slightly differing chemical compositions which lead to their slightly differing medicinal uses. Rose Maroc is generally more bactericidal and relaxing and also considered to be more aphrodisiac than Rosa damascena. Both oils are expensive because so many rose petals are needed to make even very small amounts of the oil.
Rose essential oil is thought to have a strong affinity with the female reproductive system and hormonal balance. It is traditionally used to help balance menstrual irregularities, including heavy and erratic periods. It is also a powerful relaxant and gentle anti-depressant for mild to moderate depression. It is often used by aromatherapists for women who have a combination of low mood and/or anxiety and hormonal imbalance. It is also very helpful for grief, whatever the source of the sadness.
Rose is also excellent for skincare. It is suitable for all skin types but particularly helpful for dry, sensitive and mature skin. It is used extensively in skin care creams and toners. It is gently astringent and therefore helpful for thread veins and broken capillaries.
Geranium essential oil is generally made from oils within the leaves of Pelargonium graveolens, P. Capitatum, or P. Radens speices. It contains some of the same chemical constituents as Rose which explains the similarity in smell and some of it’s overlapping qualities. Geranium is thought to be an excellent female hormone balancer throughout a woman’s reproductive life and beyond. It is also thought to help with adrenal production of hormones. It is a relaxing but not sedating oil with a mild anti-depressant effect. It helps with both pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and mood problems around the menopause. Geranium essential oil is also a diuretic and may help to ease fluid retention in the body particularly when it is related to PMS.
Geranium is unusual in that it is both helpful for oily or dry skin types and can be used for combination skin. It is thought to normalise sebum production. It has mild anti-bacterial qualities.
Geranium and rose essential oils can be used separately or together or combined with our relaxing essential oils such as Lavender or Chamomile to support the body through the menopause or other times of hormonal imbalance.
Essential oils must always be diluted before use as they are too strong to use neat on the skin. To use these oils in massage combine two drops of essential oil in each 5ml of a base oil such as sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil. If you wish to use more than two drops of essential oil, you need to use more base oil. For example, if you have 50ml of base oil you may add up to 20 drops of essential oil.
Here is a massage oil blend to encourage relaxation, ease low mood and support menopausal hormone balance:
Rose essential oil 5 drops
Geranium essential oil 3 drops
Lavender essential oil 4 drops
In a base of sweet almond oil 30ml
Massage this oil into your tummy working in a clockwise direction or into your legs and feet. Or ask a friend or partner to gently massage it into your back, neck and shoulders. Try to use it at least twice weekly.
To use oils in the bath combine any four drops of oil in 10ml (2tsp) base oil and add it to the bath water. Be careful not to slip getting in and out!
To use oils in an oil burner or diffuser add a few drops to water and heat gently. Never leave candles unattended.
It is always important to seek medical advice if you have a change in your menstrual cycle or any unexplained pain or bleeding to ensure there is not a serious underlying condition which needs treatment. Aromatherapy works best when used holistically – that is, when combined with good diet, appropriate exercise and relaxation techniques. A good aromatherapist will always ask about your overall health and should be able to give sensible dietary and lifestyle advice which will complement your treatment.
At my ‘Natural Alternatives to HRT’ seminar on Friday 3rd March you can find out how diet and herbal remedies can make a big difference to hot flushes, mood, energy levels, weight gain, vaginal dryness and much much more as you move through the menopause.
Call 07949463288 or email firstname.lastname@example.org now to book your place!