Updated: May 29
I am getting ready to discuss something that is actually kind of embarrassing for me. As I continue my walk down this Herbalist path I have found myself fortunate to be touching base with some of my roots within massage & bodywork.
Herbalism has brought me back in touch with my Ayurvedic Massage training, something I had so desperately wanted to connect with several years ago but just couldn’t find “just the right space” for it. Has that ever happened to you? You find something intriguing & feel a connecting with, but it continuously fails to blend into your life at the moment? I had placed most of my Ayurvedic knowledge on a shelf in my brain the past four to five years with every intention on coming back to it. I didn’t realize, probably foolishly, that it would come back through my herbalism path.
That’s not the embarrassing part though.
I have come to realize that I had been very cynical towards “mainstream” spa treatments like Hot Stone Therapy and Aromatherapy Massage. For a long time I didn’t completely understand the processes and benefits to modalities such as this, so I closed myself off to them a bit while I explored other things.
As time passed, I felt myself cringe at the sight of an additional charge to adding “aromatherapy” to a massage...sometimes $20 extra! Why did I get so annoyed? Because, in my almost 20 years of experience (now) in the massage field working in all types of environments ... I had yet to work with or for someone that actually had an understanding of the oils they used. Not just what the label said the oil was for, but HOW it worked...I needed justification for someone placing lavender or eucalyptus or whatever else in their service and charging me an extra $20.
Before we go too far, let me touch base with you. I have almost 20 years of experience as a massage therapist. I have almost 39 years of experience as a human. Sometimes, it takes me minute to make a connection. I can be walking around for years sometimes with folders of information sitting on the shelf, before something finally clicks and a lightbulb goes off. If you can identify with that, please read on.
I have recently designed a service around the use of seven to ten specific herbal essences chosen precisely for the effect they have on the body. It feels warm and soothing, it enhances a mind and body connection. It smells amazing. But, it is more than that.
Once the scent of these magical herbs (or any quality aromatherapy item) dissolves and makes contact with your olfactory cells, they begin their journey to a tiny organ responsible for regulating several of your bodily functions, your hypothalamus. Some of these functions include regulating temperature, thirst, hunger, sleeping, waking, growth, and emotions such as anger and happiness. The hypothalamus is basically your brain’s brain.
Like a well-oiled machine the message of an aroma travels to your limbic system and to the hippocampus, responsible for memory. That’s right! That is why some smells trigger a memory.
Aromas send specific signals to your body and help balance and nurture your body’s natural state. When chosen with knowledge and care, aromatherapy or plant essence therapy can generate enormous change. With the right combination, plants and herbs can set into motion powerful healing within the body and mind.