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(Extracts from The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy, compiled by Chrissie Wildwood.) has been confirmed that pleasurable experiences such as falling in love, listening to music, receiving nurturing massage, and inhaling pleasant fragrances actually strengthen the body’s immune system. Unhappiness on the other hand, lowers our resistance to all manner of physical ills – be it colds, flus, shingles or something much more serious....


...Essential Oils, or “essences”, as they are also called, are highly concentrated substances extracted from various parts of aromatic plants and trees. They are usually captured by steam distillation, a process whose origins can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia. Unlike ordinary vegetable oils, such as corn and olive, plant essences are highly volatile and will evaporate if left in the open air...


...The chemistry of essential oils is complex. Most consist of hundreds of components, such as terpenes, alcohols, aldehydes and esters. For this reason, a single oil can help a wide variety of disorders. Lavender for instance is endowed with antiseptic, anti-bacterial, antibiotic, anti-depressant, analgesic, decongestant and sedative properties...



Aromatherapy massage recent development and rising awareness beyond the Orient. 


...In the 1950’s, the Austrian-born cosmetologist Marguerite Maury introduced the idea of combining essential oils with massage. She was not happy with administering essential oils by mouth but preferred to dilute them in vegetable oil and to massage them into the skin. Inspired by the methods used in traditional Tibetan medicine, she developed a special massage technique of applying the oils along the nerve centres of the spine. She also devised the “individual prescription” – essences were chosen according to the physical and emotional needs of the recipient. As the mental and physical pattern altered, so too the aromatic prescription.


Her clients, mainly wealthy women seeking rejuvenation, reported dramatic improvement in their skin condition as a result of her treatments. To their delight, there were also some interesting side-effects; many experienced relief from rheumatic pain, heightened sexual pleasure, deeper sleep, and a generally improved mental state.


Maguerite Maury opened an aromatherapy clinic in London in the early 1960s. Although her treatments were geared to beauty therapy she knew that aromatherapy went much deeper. Indeed, she had discovered an important key to the art of true healing. Maguerite Maury was totally dedicated to her work and, in 1962 and 1967, was rewarded with two international prizes for her research. Soon after, at the age of 73, she died of a stroke, thought to be due to overwork. Her achievements are best described by her husband and colleague, the French homeopathic physician Dr E.A. Maury, who says: ‘She continues to show the way for those who have been willing to recognise her and will long do so for those who seek a new way of achieving moral and physical well-being.’


However, it could be argued that it was the British aromatherapist, author and researcher Robert Tisserand, who really put aromatherapy on the agenda. He is the author of The Art of Aromatherapy, one of the first books in English on the subject, which was published in 1977. Although inspired by Maguerite Maury, it would be fair to say that this book above any other has sparked the greatest interest, wordwide, in the therapeutic properties of essential oils and aromatherapy in general. Tisserand has also helped to found two aromatherapy associations and is the editor of the International Journal of Aromatherapy.



Aroma families. 


Citrus bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange

Floral geranium, chamomile, rose otto, lavender, ylang ylang, neroli

Herbaceous chamomile, lavender, peppermint, rosemary, marjoram, clary sage

Camphoraceous eucaplytus, cajeput, rosemary, tea tree

Spicy coriander, balck pepper, ginger, cardamom

Resinous frankincense, elemi, myrrh, galbanum

Woody cedarwood, sandalwood, pine, juniper berry, cypress

Earthy patchouli, vetiver



Principal Actions of essential oils. 


Antiseptic: all essential oils are antiseptic to a greater or lesser degree, though good examples include eucalyptus, lavender and tea tree.

Anti-inflammatory: helpful for skin rashes and wounds, for example chamomile, lavender, geranium

Cicatrissant: (stimulates the growth of healthy skin cells): helpful for burns, wounds and scars, for example chamomile, lavender, neroli

Deodorant: helpful for excessive perspiration and the cleansing of wounds, for example bergamot, cypress, lemongrass

Fungicidal: helpful for fungal conditions of the skin such as athlete’s foot and ringworm, for example cedarwood, lemongrass, patchouli

Insect repellent: to repel insects such as midges and mosquitoes, for example lavender, eucalyptus, geranium

Parasiticides: (prevents and destroys parasites): for treating conditions such as headlice and scabies, for example eucalyptus, rosemary, tea tree

Mind over matter. 

Actions of essential oils. 

Adrenal Stimulants: for stress-related exhaustion, for example basil, geranium, rosemary

Sedatives: for calming a jangled nervous system, for example clary sage, lavender, marjoram, sandalwood

Hypnotics: specifics for inducing sleep, for example chamomile, hops, neroli

Stimulants: to help restore energy levels depleted through illness or nervous fatigue, for example black pepper, coriander, peppermint, rosemary

‘Normalising’: for stimulating or relaxing, depending on the state of the individual, for example bergamot, geranium

Nerviness: for strengthening and toning the nervous system, for example clary sage, juniper, lemongrass, lavender, patchouli

Anti-depressants: for uplifting the spirits, for example bergamot, geranium, lemon, orange, rosemary, ylang ylang

At a glance guide to healthy eating. 

The mind/body effects of massage. 


•Improves blood circulation and lymphatic drainage, and thus aids the elimination of tissue wastes such as lactic and carbonic acids which build up in the muscle fibres causing aches, pains and stiffness

• Aids digestion and helps to prevent constipation

• Can prevent and alleviate headaches

• Encourages deeper sleep and helps to prevent or relieve insomnia

• Helps to reduce high blood pressure

• Encourages deeper breathing and is therefore helpful for respiratory ailments. Deep breathing also brings about a sense of letting go, thus reducing stress levels

• Triggers the release of mood-altering brain chemicals such as encephalin and endorphin which have the ability to reduce pain and engender a sense of well-being. Feelings of well-being also stimulate the immune system, and thus help in strengthening our resistance to disease.

• As tense muscles begin to relax, pent-up emotions are also often freed. This may manifest as an overwhelming need to laugh or cry during the massage. Where there has been a great deal of stress and nervous tension the emotional release may be experienced as an emotional shaking, although this rarely continues for more than a few minutes. In every case, however, there is a subsequent feeling of renewed vitality.

• During massage or immediately afterwards, some people experience a light-headed sensation; a few fall into a deep sleep, many become more tranquil, others who are prone to tiredness and lethargy suddenly fell more alert and energetic.

Why Swedish Massage is called “Swedish” Massage...


Unlike the more spiritual, energy-flow and yoga-likedisciplines associated with Eastern types of massage like Thai massage, Swedish massage appears to be focused on Western concepts of anatomy and physiology. Swedish massage is probably the most common and widespread massage technique in the West. It is the foundational technique on which many Western styles of massage are based, such as deep tissue muscle massage and to a great extent aromatherapy massage.


Swedish massage was invented by Peter Henrik Ling in the early 19th century when he developed a system called “Medical Gymnastics” which included movements performed by a therapist. These became known as “Swedish movements” in Europe and “the Swedish Movement Cure” when they came to the U.S. in 1858. Today such techniques are called Swedish massage, mainly in English and Dutch-speaking cultures, but never in other places including even Sweden, where they are simply called massage or classical massage!


Nevertheless the truth is that Dr Ling was heavily influenced by his Chinese friend Ming, who had taught him some Eastern martial arts and Tuina. These disciplines have slowly become disassociated in many practitioners’ minds from their oriental origins, starting with when Johan Georg Mezger developed a reduced set of maneuvers and techniques based on Ling’s system. The techniques were effleurage (long, gliding strokes), petrissage (lifting and kneading the muscles), friction (firm, deep, circular rubbing movements), tapotement (brisk tapping or percussive movements), and vibration (rapidly shaking or vibrating specific muscles). Nevertheless, all of these techniques are also present in tuina and Chinese massage. At Thai Oasis our Swedish massage practitioners fully understand the oriental and mystical roots of Swedish massage of course...