Aromatherapy uses essential oils extracted from plants and herbs which can be inhaled or applied through the skin; aromas and oils from these natural sources have been shown in clinical studies to positively affect the body’s natural ability to balance and regulate itself.
Aromatherapy addresses issues which are important to patients undergoing drug or alcohol detoxification as the process calms the mind, alleviates stress, reduces anxiety and insomnia, and also restores feelings of well-being. Marked improvement has been noted in those suffering from generalised anxiety disorder, stress and depressive disorders.
Aromatherapy may be included in individual treatment plans, depending on availability and referral by either medical or therapeutic staff.
How does it work?
- When oils are inhaled, the olfactory system (responsible for sensing smells) is stimulated.
- This causes a signal to be transferred to the brain’s limbic system that controls emotions and stores and retrieves learned memories.
- The signal triggers chemicals to be released; these are thought to have different effects causing either relaxation or stimulation. The gentle massage often used to apply oils to the skin tends to have a relaxing effect.
- This process can help reduce anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, pain, digestive problems, as well as menstrual and menopausal issues.
Although the scientific evidence for this type of therapy is limited, there is considerable anecdotal evidence which supports it. Indeed plant oils have been used as therapy and cosmetics for thousands of years with records dating back to ancient Egypt, China and India. Given the sparse scientific evidence, Castle Craig has conducted its own independent evaluation to ascertain whether or not aromatherapy is helpful to our patients.
67% of the group stated that aromatherapy – “Helped me to relax my body and calm my mind”
20-25% of the group commented that aromatherapy helped relieve stress and tension, assisted with sleeping problems, and that it was something to look forward to.
95% of patients expressed their desire to continue with aromatherapy when they leave treatment.
It is abundantly clear from the positive and detailed responses that all patients who had received aromatherapy had benefitted considerably. Indeed the only suggestion for improvement was for aromatherapy provision to be extended.
Aromatherapy is not only greatly appreciated, but our aromatherapist is considered “a great asset to Castle Craig’s treatment programme” in her professional and person-centred capacity.
‘I have gratitude for this treatment and the passionate and dedicated way it was delivered.’
‘100% professional and therapeutic. Environment, therapist’s tone and empathy presented well.’
‘Brenda is very talented, very good at what she does.’
‘Brenda’s kindness was so helpful.’
‘One of the most lovely things here.’