What happens when I come for a treatment?
By treatment here, I mean, if you're in pain or need some other holistic help rather than just for a Swedish or Aromatherapy massage to get rid of a few knots and relax.
It's a good question.
Treatment will obviously depend on what you need help with. In every case, you'll need to have a consultation, as I will need to assess the issue and decide on the best way of approaching it. We generally sit on the chairs in reception for this and have an informal discussion. This helps you get to know me a little too.
During the consultation, I'll need to take some medical information, not because I'm particularly nosy, but because I have to ensure that the oils I use don't interfere with any medication you may be taking, and take into account any temporary lifestyle changes, e.g. pregnancy or breastfeeding. I'll then set up a file for you - you may not see me do this - and will make notes on the treatment received for each session, just as they do at the doctor's. This information is kept in a locked box, as it is obviously confidential, as per GDPR regulations. From there, a treatment plan is formed, and we generally move to the treatment area for some treatment, if appropriate.
The good news is that if massage isn't for you, you can still have treatment. My daughter desperately needs her shoulder looked at and she's like, nope, don't touch it. So, I will need to treat it in other ways. For example, using cold and hot compresses with a range of essential oils. l may need to check exactly where the issue is originating from (for example, hip pain can be caused by muscle knots in the leg), but otherwise if you don't like being touched for massage, you don't have to be.
For other treatments, such as gout, you don't necessarily need to even touch the joint. Using essential oils and a cold or hot compress will be the best way to approach this. If you've been reading my ReJuvenate with Jan posts on Facebook, you'll know that gout is triggered by a build-up of uric acid and therefore, the best solution for this is to apply oils that remove the acid from the joint. Massage will be just too painful for this condition when the joint is very inflamed.
There are many combinations of oils too that can help support many issues - far too many to list here, and this is why the consultation is so important. For conditions like eczema, for example, a lotion made with essential oils is going to be the best method to use, as this needs to be applied daily.
When using essential oils, little and often is always the best way to use them, and this is why I am always recommending that people think about taking a blend home after treatment to use in between appointments. So, if I suggest something, please be reassured it's not because I'm trying to "sell" you something - the oils just work best if you keep them in your system. Think of yourself as a car, if you don't put fuel in it regularly, you won't work, and the same is true with essential oils. If you stop using them, you lose the benefits. You can't overdose on them - the body only ever takes what it needs and discards the rest, so using them at home, under guidance, is perfectly safe.
I've had a few clients come to me with niggling pain in their hip, buttock, leg and sometimes calf recently. For this treatment, I'd generally start with a hot (not burning) chamomile compress on the buttock area, and some hot stones on the leg and calf area to warm the muscles up before looking at any treatment, once the initial consultation has been completed. This type of issue does require massage, as it's very often muscular in origin (see my blog post next week - do I have sciatica?) Coupled with a bespoke essential oil blend, the area is then treated and assessed. These types of treatment often require three or four sessions to fully unknot muscles, although most clients do find some relief after even the first one. We generally assess progress after three treatments, and then amend the treatment plan as necessary from there.
You will very often find me pressing my thumbs or even my elbow into muscles to release tension, and this is not something to worry about. It can be a little bit painful (sorry, I always find them), but the relief that comes from this method of release should not be underestimated. Think of it like spaghetti. Normally, spaghetti comes in loose strands, and this is what your muscles should be like. When the muscle tightens, it turns into the dry, stuck together next day spaghetti, and I therefore have to loosen it up again. You'll find the area may go a bit red. This is normal, and what I look for, as this just means I've brought the blood to the surface of the skin (and therefore "rehydrated" that dry spaghetti).
Of course, if it's a bronchial or cold/cough/nasal issue, I'll likely get out the steamer and give you some oils to inhale directly. If it's being unable to smell or taste because you have long Covid, it can take up to four months before you see a huge improvement, as you have to perservere with retraining the cells in your nose. So with any treatment, you must remember that just as a doctor can't heal a broken bone, essential oils can't "cure" anything either. All I can do is support your symptoms and give you some relief from them. And as it's an holistic complementary therapy, you'll also pick up some tips and guidance along the way in other areas if this is appropriate. Which also means you may be given some advice that sometimes takes you out of your comfort zone. For example, you may be told that it may help to lose a little weight to take off some of the pressure on your knees, legs & feet, or that you really should stop smoking.
So, if the expectation is of an "instant miracle", aromatherapy may not be the best fit for you in terms of treatment. Sometimes the relief can be instant, sometimes massage and treatment is cumulative... that just means the more you have of it over time, the better it gets.
Of course, if there is anything that I think needs further investigation, I'll always send you back to your doctor with a letter outlining what I think needs looking at and why, and I referred a client just last month for exactly this reason. When this happens, sometimes we can continue with treatment at the same time, sometimes it's better to leave it while the issue is being investigated further. It just depends on the individual circumstances.
I've already outlined in my blog "how often should I have a massage?" the information you need to decide how often you should attend, so I won't go into that here but please do read it if you'd like more information on this subject.
A client came to me this week and said that she'd decided to cease treatment, and that's absolutely her choice. We had come to a point where there was little more I could do for her except maintain her current level of mobility, until she had undergone her knee replacement and lost that all-important weight. Treatment had definitely made a "bit of a difference" but it wasn't the "miracle cure" she was hoping for. But she knows that my door is always open, and that I am here for her if she needs anything while she is waiting for her operation. I'll also keep in touch from time to time to see how she's doing. I generally get to know my clients very well, and therefore take a genuine interest in them, even after their treatment has finished, so it's natural for me to want to know how they are getting on. It's the nature of the job that clients will come and go, so I am never offended if you decide that you'd like to take a break. I want you to be very much in control of your treatment, and this is why you are never pressured into paying for a series of 6 or 7 treatments at a time.
Finally, I may send you home with some homework to help you out when you are home. This could involve how to use a compress, how to use tennis balls to work out muscles, or just some instructions on how to use that blend I've given you. In any event, I am always happy for my clients to contact me if they need me, especially if they need an emergency appointment because they've had a flare up.
I'm lucky that I get a lot of positive feedback doing a job I love, and this for me is the most important thing. As long as you feel better leaving my treatment than when you first came in, I've know I've done my job well.
Stay safe, as always