Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Base Knowledge - The Second

Snow is fluttering down this morning and here in the South of England we are enjoying a morning where the trees look as if they have had a heavenly dusting of icing sugar. With three weeks to go until Christmas we are starting to look seasonably festive!

My study is a great place to hunker down and enjoy a cozy cup of tea, read my books, listen to BBC Radio 6 and write to all of you. What a wonderful way to start my day.

Today I am going to take you through three base, (a.k.a carrier), oils that we derive from nuts and seeds; Rosehip, Apricot Kernel and Hazelnut.

Apricot Kernel oil is very light weight and I chose this oil to introduce to you as it can be used instead of Almond Oil in massage, meaning that you don't have to have a nut oil if you are after a good base. It's important to know that if you do have an allergy to nuts, you can still enjoy Aromatherapy Massage! I know a few people who have been put off from booking in simply due to the fact that they thought that almond oil was the only base oil used.

As it is light in weight and high in Vitamin A, I think this is a great carrier oil for facial massage and especially if you are combining it with a skin care treatment focusing on premature aging. Vitamin A is Retinol; the ingredient you often see advertised for moisturizers as it helps to rejuvenate skin and has been said to help reverse the signs of photo-aging/sun damage.

Vitamin E is also found in Apricot kernel oil and as this has a softening effect on the skin, the two properties combine to really help nourish lack-luster skin. It is a beautiful oil and when blended with the essences can really help to restore the body.

Rosehip Seed Oil is a lusciously rich oil and one that can be used on its own or in a blend. According to the book 'Essential oils' by Susan Curtis, the oil has been used to help heal scar tissue in hospitals in Italy and the rejuvenating properties can be harnessed to help in the treatment of wrinkles. This, to my mind, makes it another fantastic base oil for skin care treatments.

This deep oil can also help with dehydrated and dry skin, so works well with the winter skin that many of us are suffering from at the moment. I have a few clients who are braving the golf courses this month and with the frost, snow and ice, I would certainly be looking for a base oil combination with Rosehip Seed Oil to help them.

Hazelnut Oil is obviously not one to use for those with nut allergies!

I personally thought that this would be another thick, rich oil, mainly due to the fact that when I eat Hazelnuts I like the creamy texture. But actually the oil has a slight astringent action on the skin, so for those who may have an oilier complexion, or suffer from blocked pores, this would be a nice oil to reach for in the treatment room.

Saying that, it does nourish the skin as well, so it is not to be thought of as an oil that would not help people with a normal skin type.

Dermalogica uses Hazel Oil in all their Professional Massage Additives so that every time they are used in the Skin Care Treatments the massage can condition the skin without leaving it feeling blocked and greasy. It's an ideal oil to prep the skin before the professional masques are applied and I am always happy to use it on clients who have a history of blocked pores and minor breakouts.

So, all three base oils can be used on the body during Aromatherapy Massages, but they can also be safely blended to be used on the facial skin, an area that can often be overlooked when it comes to a full body massage. Writing this has been a fantastic reminder to me that full body massages should come with the offer of a facial and head massage!

I have spent the best part of five years learning how to release fascia and for that we don't use any oil, but I think that the rich oils such as Rosehip can be over looked in treatment oils as we search for new ways to unwind the body. I am quite a fan of starting a treatment with fascial release and then carrying on with pre-blended oils at the moment with the view of introducing Aromatherapy again in the spring/summer once I finish the Aromatherapy course at Stonebridge College. Oils really help to restore my clients and I love the effects that they can give to them. I am desperate to see a blended harmony with massage where we can embrace the benefits of many different forms of touch.


These blogs are not aimed at telling you how to blend oils, use them on yourself, family or friends, or give you the techniques to practice. It is just aimed at giving you background knowledge so that you can identify with your therapist in a deeper manner. If you are interested in the subject, please look to your local education providers so that you can learn how to use these tools safely, as they can be dangerous if used incorrectly.

Of course, I have used some great books to help with this series of blogs and they are:
The Book by Dermalogica

Aromatherapy Diploma Course Notes (Stonebridge College)
Essential Oils by Susan Curtis (Neal's Yard Remedies Publishing)
Aromatherapy An A-Z by Patricia Davis (Daniel Publishing)
The Art Of Aromatherapy by Robert Tisserand (Daniel Publishing).

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