Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Alphabet Game - 'A' is for . . . . .


Recently I have noticed that two bloggers, Madame Butterfly, of A New Start, and Ellen, of Stuff From Ellen's Head,  both of whose blogs I enjoy reading, have started to post Alphabet posts without being members of a meme group. The meme groups all have many members already, so I thought I’d copy Madame Butterfly and Ellen and do a set of my own. A further reason is, of course, that I can simply stop doing them if I lose interest.

Here goes:

A is for Aromatherapy

What could be sweeter than to be welcomed by your gentle practitioner with an indulgent smile and a warm hug and be sent to a fragrant little room pervaded by the scent of essential oils, some wiffly-waffly music barely perceptible in the background. Ranged around the walls are some bookshelves holding books on complementary therapies, a small desk, a pair of comfortable chairs and a pile of thick, clean towels on a stool in the corner. In the centre  stands the couch, a contraption already covered in towels,  two small cushions and a headrest at one end, which can be removed.

The whole set-up speaks of luxurious relaxation without being in the least luxuriously appointed, or horrendously expensive.

My friend Jilly has been a complementary health practitioner for two decades and she is very good at it; she is less good at making a good living at it.

When I rang her for an appointment after we first came here, I wanted a facial, a beauty treatment. “I don’t do beauty treatments”, she said, “I work with the whole body, not just the outer layer”.

I didn’t know people like her existed then. Deeply involved in what were then called ‘Alternative Treatments’, and the whole philosophy surrounding them, I found her remarkably sensible in spite of her other-worldly kindness and spiritual warmth. I had had some very unfortunate experiences in London and paid a lot of money for treatments which had had no effect at all.

I have been addicted to Jilly and her healing hands ever since my first treatment. She has helped me through some very rough patches. Jilly practices several therapies but my favourite is Aromatherapy Deep Tissue Massage.  BUPA  provides a clear and unflowery, detailed, article on Aromatherapy for those who are interested to learn more.

This is what Jilly herself has to say:

The ancient Egyptians were probably the first to discover the healing power of natural plant oil. The aromas emanating from flowers, herbs and trees are due to potent, volatile essences found within tiny glands in the plant. Once extracted and distilled hey are called essential oils.

The aromatherapist skillfully selects the right combination of oils for each individual. These essential oils are then massaged into the body, producing a feeling of blissful relaxation.

Essential oils penetrate through the skin, taking their healing properties deep down into the system, thus ensuring good blood and lymph circulation through the body.

Aromatherapy treats a whole range of disorders including back pain, stress, tension, sciatica, sinusitis, allergies, eczema, asthma, migraine, insomnia, arthritis, and many more.

With Jilly I know I am in very good hands. This time, after a prolonged spell without any treatment and a stressful few weeks, the massage is very painful. The knots in my back, my shoulders, my neck, arms and legs need a lot of manipulation before they yield and loosen; but Jilly gets to them. I squeal and she says “sorry”, but she doesn’t give up.

When I leave her, I ache all over, but I also walk tall again, with my neck rising from my shoulders, not sunk into them.

Not a miracle, just a good aromatherapy massage and a good practitioner.


  1. I liked this very much and thanks for the mention.

    I've been into 'alternative treatments' since I became an adult. I totally subscribe to the whole body/mind approach. Everything in our environment impacts us so why not smells? I treated my daughter's asthma with herbal teas. they didn't taste all that good because I wasn't an artist at making the tea but when she drank a cup of tea every day, her breathing did not suffer. Medicine at our house was herbal and manipulation (accu-pressure, chiropractic, massage, breathing, stretching). MDs only as a last resort.

  2. friko through the winter i burn scented candles as well as aroma oils throughout the house. the colour of the scents is a huge part of surviving and even thriving in the deep northern winter. whole mind whole body is the way to work if you want to keep life real and your own!!! steven

  3. "I found her remarkably sensible in spite of her other-worldly kindness and spiritual warmth." I loved this observation.

  4. I would like to get a massage from Jilly every week. I carry a lot of stress in my shoulders, though I do better now at consciously relaxing them. Aromas and oil essences have much healing ability. Are you familiar with the Bach oil essences, which you take internally? Their stress remedy has calmed me in highly tense work seasons.

  5. How wonderful it must be for you, Friko, to have discovered Jilly and her healing hands!
    -- K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  6. A is for assimilate, which I have to do with this unexpected aspect of your personality.
    I wouldn't have thought you would be an aromatherapy person.
    I would have imagined you soldiering through your aches and pains and working out your kinks by thrashing yourself with a stocking filled with oranges.

  7. Having always been very guarded with my own "space" not sure how comfortable I would feel being with such an arrangement...but it sure sounds heavenly, especially in the midst of a very long winter...
    Love your description of walking taller with your neck rising from your shoulders...

  8. sehr interessant und ein schönes Post gewidmet Deiner Freundin Jill!
    Gute Nacht, ohne Schmerzen!

  9. Love your haiku and moon shot!!!!!

    Aloha from Waikiki

    Comfort Spiral



  10. I had always thought aromatherapy one of those airy-fairy things.....May have to re-think.

  11. i am all about whole body and aromatherapy...smell isone of my favorite senses...

  12. It all sounds very reasonable to me. I love burning incense. I find it incredibly relaxing. I sure could use a friend like Jilly. :)

  13. I love aromatherapy facials, but this sounds heavenly. I should try and find someone like her where I live. You owe it to yourself to do kind things to our body, don't you think?

  14. Friko - thank you for the mention and I am really pleased that you have decided to take up the game.
    When we ran our organic fruit and veg business we met all sorts of people who preferred "alternative" medicines and practises. Some were definately a little weird and whacky but most were very genuine people, rather like your Jilly.

  15. I've never had aromatherapy, but I can testify to the healing benefits gained from a skilled masseuse. Getting treatment on neck and shoulders from the right practitioner, is heaven. If I remember correctly, the last time I went under the thumbs, there was a tape of Gregorian chants playing in the background. Love the sound of some wiffly-waffly music, though.

  16. Wow, what you described sounds wonderful. I might even try it. Do you think Jilly has an opening?

  17. Not too sure about that deep tissue massage,I kind of prefer the relaxing type. Still since I have all the ailments minus eczema, asthma, migraine, perhaps I need to check the yellow pages.
    How fortunate you have found such a gem.

  18. lucky you - the treatment sounds heavenly! glad you have someone like Jill to run to. I love how connected we are to our environment and each other.

  19. You sound as though it's really helping you and I can see the appeal in sweet scented oils .
    But I'm afraid , for me , A is for aversion . It would just make me squirm and long to leave .

  20. Friko - I like your new 'Alphabet' post. Hope all your aches and pains have all well and truly disappeared! That aromatherapy sounds a wonderful antidote to all the grey wet weather we're getting!

  21. Friko, I once earned a few $$ selling essential oils. I love them for myself and thought others would too. We must first overcome our "deserve" issues to truly enjoy these wonderful gifts from Mother Nature. You apparently have done so and reaped your reward. Congratulations. Dianne

  22. Anyone, I mean anyone who wants to get their fingers deep into my flabby muscles may do so. I may even go to sleep as you are doing so. It is better than sex.

    Your book list could be mine.

  23. I have never formally gotten into this other than lighting scented candles now and then...but I believe it works. There is nothing more refreshing than the smell of a fresh tangerine when you break it open.

  24. A great massage therapist is worth his or her weight in gold, especially if aromatherapy is part of the treatment. Does your therapist have a specific source for her oils?

  25. A very nice read indeed.. Thank you for sharing this.. :)

    I invite you to join our 18th potluck beginning this Sunday, Hope to see you at Http://
    Week 18 Theme: Languages, Signs and Symbol. Poets , especially First Time Participants are also welcome to share old poems or poems unrelated to our theme..
    Let me know if you have questions…hope to see you in… Your participation delights us, keep writing, and keep sharpening your talent … xoxox

  26. Very interesting, Friko. I know very little about aromatherapy, but I totally support alternative, holistic approaches to healing, approaches that treat the mind and the senses no less that the body itself.

  27. Have never found an aromatherapy specialist who was able to give me a massage without leaving me with significant pain levels afterwards. But I would enjoy a gentle healing wrap with warm oils and cloths. Now I just have to go look for it.

  28. My mother in Paris used to go and have massages at least twice a month. My friends in France did too. Here I don’t know many who go to have massages. It is maybe because it is so easy to become a massage therapist in this state – even with a degree from a correspondence course. I would go if I knew someone reputable – but in the paper the massage categories are usually showing ladies in bikinis doing the massage and the ads are – well let’s say pretty “risqué.” I guess it’s a different culture – there are a lot of classes given to show you how to use a gun though.

  29. A is for ahh, Friko, again you have written a post that has got me rethinking about something.

    I have never had a massage, other than some offered up by old boyfriends.

    I like the idea of aromatherapy, yet fear its great commercial potential for any practictioners here in New York.

    Lucky you to know someone who is wise, skilled and worthy of your trust.

    I am going to add this to the many topics I've already collected, awaiting the time when we will actually get to sit down together for that first cup or glass of something.


Comments are good, I like to know what you think of my posts. I know you'll keep it civil.