There are a number of treatment methods used in Aromatherapy. Many depend upon the type of injury and/or the part of the body injured. Below is a list of the common ones.

When heat is applied to an area of the body it dilates the capillaries and increases blood flow. Blood nourishes the tissues and can hasten healing, reduce muscular spasm and reduce pain, but applying heat does carry the risk of seepage of blood and plasma to the injured area. If this were to happen healing would be prolonged and swelling and fluid retention would be increased. It is important therefore that heat is not applied to an injured area until at least twelve hours has passed.

Cold causes contraction of the small capillaries and this decreases the amount of blood collecting around a wound - which could prolong the healing time. The application of cold to an area of injury reduces bruising, swelling, inflammation and pain.

'Rest, ice, compress and elevation' are words so often repeated by physiotherapists and sports therapists that they have been shortened to form the word 'RICE' which is drummed into anyone with an injury that needs care.

REST. Resting an injury is extremely important to assure that no further damage takes place. And when you are advised to rest, that doesn't mean don't go dancing next Friday night, but rest now - immediately!

ICE. The ice methods are so helpful in treating all sorts of injury that they are referred to throughout this database, not only for the treatment of sports injuries. Ice can stop internal bleeding, bruises and inflammation and in so doing decreases healing time, if applied correctly. There are many methods. The polystyrene cup method enables you to hold the ice to a specific part of the body without freezing your hands. Fill a polystyrene cup with water and freeze it. When it is required, cut the sides a few inches to reveal a solid block of ice, which can be applied to the injured area.

Ice may also be placed in bowls or buckets into which you put the toes, feet, fingers, hands or elbow, and other areas of the body affected. Top up as required. In physiotherapy departments ice is often put into a polythene bag, crushed and then placed between two towels and wrapped around the injured area. Although this method has to be used in some circumstances, the dripping wet towels can be most uncomfortable. Whichever method you use, apply the ice to the injured area for at least twenty minutes, then allow twenty minutes' rest before repeating the application. Continue in this way for three to four hours.

COMPRESS. A compress can be made with a bandage or piece of material, folded to form a pad. This should be wrapped firmly over the area to prevent swelling. Compresses can be hot or cold. Compression is often needed to reduce the level of blood flowing to the area but should never be so tight that it decreases circulation and causes the injured person to experience pain, numbness or the skin turning blue.

ELEVATION. By raising the injured limb higher than the heart, swelling and pain can often be prevented or lessened. Elevation is especially important for dancers. Use whatever you have handy to support the limb-pillows, cushions or whatever.

An ointment can be made which provides a carrier for the essential oils. In some cases the essential oils are more effective when used during a sporting activity in this way, than when used in a vegetable oil base. Make the basic ointment in the following way. Using the bain-marie method, blend 50 grams of anhydrous lanolin and 30ml almond oil. (This will give a total of 90ml.) When well blended together, mix in your chosen essential oils. Essential oil formulas are given in our Recipes section for individual injuries and conditions which can be combined in this basic ointment.

Massage Oils
As a general rule, use 1 drop of essential oil to each millilitre of base vegetable oil. In the acute stage of injury, however, a higher dose may be needed than prescribed here. This may be up to double the usual amount. When the acute stage has passed, revert to the 1-1 rule.

During the acute stage of injury, unless specific directions have been given, use a total of 8 drops of essential oil on the compress - whether that is hot, cold, wet or steamed.

Cabbage Leaf
Iron a cabbage leaf and leave it on the affected area while still warm. Apply for ten minutes and repeat if necessary.

Clay Poultice
Add 2 tablespoons of green clay to hot or cold water and blend until a thick and sticky paste is achieved. Then add the essential oils and mix well. Apply to the area and wrap with a bandage or piece of muslin.

See our Recipes and Ailments sections for lots more information regarding specific ailments.

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