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What Is Aromatherapy?


Aromatherapy, also referred to as essential oil therapy, which is used to improve physical and emotional well-being. The oils are mainly extracted by distilliation from herbs, flowers, gums, fruits, roots and seed. They possess individual qualities that can help heal, balance, harmonize within in the mind body and spirit.


It was the French perfumer and chemist, Rene- Maurice Gattefosse, who coined the term “aromatherapie” in 1937 with his publication of a book by that name. His book “Gattefosse’s Aromatherapy” contains early clinical findings for utilizing essential oils for a range of physiological and psychogical ailments.

Equine Holistic Massage

How Does Aromatherapy Work?


When a horse is unwell, suffering from from an emotional or physical disorder, it would in its natural habitat seek out the correct plant or herb to retore itself to health. Today however horses are rarely in their natural habitat and do not have the freedom of choice and, need to rely on us for their well-being. Aromatherapy offers a form of treatment that allows the horse and its therapist to combine their efforts working together, as the horse is given the chance to participate in the selection of the oils that are needed.


Horses are very sensitive to smell and will instinctively smell the essential oils in the correct way. When the therapist offers them the oils to smell, they will first smell with one nostril, which connects to the other side of the brain, then turn, if interested, and smell with the other nostril which connects to the other side of the brain. If the aroma offers no therapautic value the horse will turn away from it. It is also quite common for the horse to curl the lip, flare both nostrils or try to nibble at the bottle if they are interested, or put their ears back and move away if not interested.


These are a couple of ways aromatherapy oils can be used:


  1. Smell - the nerves used to smell are found high up inside of the nose and they connect directly to the brain. The tiny molecules of the oils are released into the air and they stimulate the smell (olfactory) nerve cells. This then sets off a reaction in the body both emotionally and physically.                                                                                                                                                             

  2. Massage - the oils are diluted into a carrier oil or my preferred base (aloe vera gel) which is then massaged into the body. This works well when combining it with the efflerage, which is applied at the start of the massage which is explained in detail on the massage page.


Some of the benefits of essential oils:
  • Bergamont - Uplifting, balancing and helps kill airborne bacteria.
  • Carrot Seed - Stimulates the healing progress, nourishes cells.
  • Camomille - Soothes irritated skin and an anti-inflammatory.
  • Clary Sage - Good for nervous, irritable and panicky horses
  • Eucalyptus - Infections of the respiratory tract, allergies and helps kill airborne bacteria.
  • Fennel - Digestive stimulant.
  • Frankincense - Fear and anxiety
  • Grapefruit - Refreshing and uplifting.
  • Jasmine - Fear and anxiety - weavers often respond well to this.
  • Juniper Berry - Diuretic helps clean toxins and very good for arthritis.
  • Lavender - Soothing and calming, helps prevent scarring of burns and wounds
  • Lemon - Cleansing and uplifting, immune stimulant.
  • Neroli - Sadness (depression due to change of stable or stable companion which effect the heart)
  • Patchouli - Warming and comforting
  • Peppermint - Aches and sprain, anti-inflammatory and good for circulation
  • Rose - Resentment, anger and past trauma and abuse
  • Rosemary - Cleansing and stimulates circulation.
  • Sandlewood - Emotionally soothing and relaxing.
  • Tea Tree - Antiseptic, antiviral and antifungal.
  • Vetiver - Deeply relaxing and very grounding.
  • Ylang Ylang - Comforting and relaxing.
Please Note: the above is only a very brief outline to some of the many oils and their healing benefits. The information is only intended as a taster of how the essential oils could help. Please do not try any of these remedies yourself without veterniary consent and advice from a qualified aromatherapist. Most of the essential oils are highly concentrated, so need to be well diluted, and if not diluted appropriatly they can cause harmful reactions.
Horses can react like this to a essential oil that they need !
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