From managing the home, planning the family schedule around school activities, doctor’s visits and extra-curricular activities, to keeping on top of deadlines at work, it’s no wonder mums often suffer from anxiety, fatigue and frequent headaches! A busy family life also usually means that some me-time is nearly non-existent.

The good news is that Aromatherapy may help, not just with the problem, but also with the cause.

What exactly is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the science and art of using naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to promote the health of body, mind and spirit.

It’s a complementary discipline, intended to complement regular medicine, not replace it.  The NHS, as well as medical professionals in private practice, already supports the use of aromatherapy in maternity units, cancer centres, neurology departments and in dental surgeries, with the support and consent of the patients’ clinical team.

Aromatherapy, that’s essential oils, right?

A qualified aromatherapist will work with different types of plant extracts.

Essential oils – highly concentrated plant components
Hydrosols (flower waters) are left over once an essential oil has been extracted and being far less concentrated, are safe to use on young children.
Carrier oils are fatty oils and not only used to dilute essential oils, but may also be used on their own, as they contain vitamins, minerals and other substances not found in essential oils.  Coconut and Jojoba are both examples of carrier oils.

There are many ways to use essential oils, including massage, inhalation, compresses or topical applications such as lotions or creams. All of which can be used at home.

How does it work?

Imagine you have a banging headache.  It’s been going on all morning and by lunchtime, as well as being in pain, you are emotionally frazzled.  This is an example of how a physical condition can affect you emotionally.

Conversely, if you are highly stressed, or suffering from anxiety, it may manifest as a banging headache.  This is how an emotional condition can affect you physically.

Aromatherapy can be used to target not only the symptoms, but also the cause.  For example, the same blend of oils that is used for a tension headache may also promote relaxation and a better sleep, addressing the cause of the issue in the first place.

Did you know that when you are constantly in a state of extreme anxiety or stress, your immune system is supressed?  By using essential oils to reduce stress and promote relaxation of the mind and spirit, we may help the body return to a state of balance, which in turn enables the immune system to kick in.

The fine print

Essential oils are wonderful, but it’s not a good idea to use them constantly.  You may become sensitised – not only do the wonderful effects stop, but you may experience such discomfort that you are unable to ever use that those oils again.  So, it’s best to only use them when you need them.

Essential oils are 50-100 times stronger than that in the plant.  As such, they are too strong to use on children under the age of two.  And they should never be added to water and drunk – they are far too strong for that

Certain essential oils should also not be used by people with epilepsy, heart conditions, liver and kidney problems, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, endometriosis, certain types of cancer and there are oils that can be skin irritants.  Here in the Middle East, we even have to be careful with citrus essential oils.  Why?  Because they are phototoxic – they can put you at a higher risk of sunburn.

So please, please don’t think that just because something is natural, it’s safe.  Do your research first or consult with a qualified Aromatherapist.  After all – tobacco, hemlock and opium are natural too.

Written by British mum in Bahrain and qualified Aromatherapist and Massage Therapist, Beth Thomas. Check her out on Facebook and instagram @mintandmanuka.

Read more:

Our guide to safe pregnancy pampering in Dubai

Having a baby in Dubai – and how it differs to the UK…

How to look good and feel good after having a baby

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