Beverley Higham is an aromatherapist with a difference. She first became interested in the practice during its Western renaissance in the 1980s, and now specialises in creating her own blends, which have resulted in some surprising tales extolling the powers of aromatherapy.
We once had a pet guinea pig that was so friendly he was almost like a very small dog, but when he lost his mate he started losing all his hair, which can happen when they are stressed – just like us! Instead of giving him the injections the vet offered I massaged calendula oil and camomile into the little hair that was left and over a period of a couple of months it all grew back to it’s former, glossy glory!
Perfect blend: Camomile is soothing, calming and stress relieving; while Calendula is a wonderful oil derived from Marigolds, with great anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties, it’s also good for circulation – if I had to take one thing to a desert island it would be a bottle of Calendula oil – it’s ideal for sensitive skin – roseacea, psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis.
I once taught a girl who had been written off by all her other teachers as someone who wouldn’t get anywhere, but when she got into aromatherapy she excelled. One day I asked her to bring in a client, and she brought her aunty who as a result of cancer had both a hysterectomy and a mastectomy as well as losing all her hair and eyelashes – everything that made her feel feminine, she had lost. She was smiling, but she was like a dormant bulb. She was at the end of her treatment and the doctor had said she was ok to have aromatherapy massage, and I watched this girl massage her back to life. She had reconstructive surgery of course, but she had been in such a bad way, and the massage helped to give her a real sense of self again, and encouraged the body to start healing itself – it’s a catalyst and a complimentary treatment, but was also a good example for how aromatherapy can heal the therapist as well as the client.
Perfect blend: In aromatherapy I am a firm believer that your body chooses what it needs – it’s amazing which smells people are drawn to. Rose is the queen of oils – it’s for love and femininity and is the closest thing to the natural smell of a woman – it’s very good for giving you that sense of self. I also recommend Jasmine – which is ideal for confidence, and can really help people come to terms with their changing reflection in the mirror as they get older.
I was doing a talk once at a mother and toddler group and one of the children, who was only about 18 months old was having a proper tantrum. I put a little mandarin oil on a tissue and before I could give it to him he had put out his hand, grabbed it and sniffed it without even being told that’s what to do – but that’s babies for you, they just know! He was completely calm afterwards.
Perfect blend: Mandarin is extremely calming for children, it reduces hysteria and anxiety. I developed a blend called Time to Grow with oils essentially chosen by children – they like sweet, flowery smells. If you don’t have that to hand however, and you are with a group of children who are getting agitated or over excited – at a children’s party or something, pierce an orange and roll it around near them – as soon as they smell it they will calm down!
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