Category Archives: Massage


We have all met this versatile and delicious nut (actually it’s called a drupe), I think every person has some kind of memory associated with the scent of coconut. Sorry to say, the scent is contained in the fruit and can’t be isolated. The coconut scent that you all know is made by manufacturing the 6-pentyloxan-2-one molecule, more commonly known as delta decalactone. In other words, totally synthetic 😩

In Latin coconut is called Cocos nucifera. The word is thought to originate from the Portuguese “coquo” which means skull. When you look at a coconut you can see a little face. It originates from islands in the Indian Ocean and is cultivated in Indonesia, Malaysia, South India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Since coconut will float on water, it has spread, via the ocean, to many other countries and continents. It will thrive wherever it’s sunny, hot and humid. It grows at low altitudes and along the sea; think beautiful beach pics with palm-trees…They are coconut trees. The tree is 20-30 meters tall with palmy serrated leaves that can grow up to 8 meters long and it carries tiny flowers that develop into the coconuts. The tree starts bearing fruit after 7 years and from 15-70 years of age it produces about 50-100 coconuts a year. The nuts mature gradually and are picked by youths who can easily climb the tree, due to “scar tissue” where old leaves have fallen off, creating hand- and footholds for them Coconut facenimble kids.

The fruit, or nut, is slightly elongated and somewhat smaller than a human head. It is covered by a thick, fibrous material which protects a 1-2 cm thick layer of white fruit and a hollow inside that contains the bacteria-free sterile juice, called coconut milk. The oil is derived from the white fruit. The whole fruit is used; roofs and mats are made from the leaves, the fibres from the shell are used to make ropes, hats, mats and mulching material.

After removing the fibrous layer, the nut is cracked and the pieces are dried until the fruity inside loosens from the shell (this dried fruit is called copra), which is then pressed to release its oil; 65-70% oil from 1 kg copra. Most of the fat is refined and used by industry for soaps, creams, emulsifiers, margarine, ice-cream, frying oil…

The oil is a saturated fat and has a consistency like a butter with a melting point of about 25 degrees Celsius and a long shelf-life. Thanks to high levels of lauric acid it is easily digested by the body, helping to lower cholesterol and boost metabolism and immunity. It converts easily to energy instead of being stored as fat in the body. Being a saturated oil means that it is very heat-stable, making it a good cooking oil. This is a great food-oil ❀

food-refreshment-coconut-fruit_36270HAIR: In the pacific it has traditionally been used as a hair-oil as it conditions, strengthens and gives shine to the hair. For long, curly, thick hair (as mine) it is the best product, making the hair lustrous and smooth. Definitely a must for dry hair, just rub some fat between your hands and smooth it into your hair. If you take just a little bit, it won’t leave a greasy film. For use as a deep conditioner, massage into hair and leave for 30 min- 1 hour before washing with a mild shampoo.

SKIN: Best ever! Use it as a cleanser; warm the oil in your hands and apply to your face, wipe off with tissue or cotton. It will even take away waterproof mascara…For real. Remove any residue with a toner or, preferably, a hydrolat. Then you can massage more coconut oil into your skin for moisturizer. When you use it in the morning, massage into your skin and wait 5-10 min for it to sink in before you do make-up. For longer and thicker eyelashes, use coconut oil. My daughter, who is a model, swears by it. All the make-up and loose eyelashes that are used in modeling is really destructive and her make-up artists always ask how she can have such thick and long eye-lashes 🙂 Use coconut oil as a moisturizer for your entire body (don’t forget the feet), it will keep your skin soft and supple. It is also excellent for massage.

coconut oilSince this oil is usually refined or fractionated, you have to pay attention to get the real thing. If the label says “fractionated” or “light”, don’t buy. Your best bet is to get coconut oil from a reputed seller of organic natural substances or a health food store. Since it is quite inexpensive, you can enjoy all the benefits even if you don’t have a thick wallet. What’s not to love about coconut!


Massage reducing anxiety and improving alertness

Massage reducing anxiety and improving alertness

There are now a number of research papers demonstrating the beneficial effects of massage therapy in relation to the physiological and psycho-logical aspects of stress (see ALTERNATIVES in healthTM Vol 1;2 and Vol 1:5) and the latest controlled study conducted at the Touch Research Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine, Florida, USA shows once again that massage therapy has an important role to play in the alleviation of stress and stress-induced illnesses.

In the study two times every week for five weeks, twenty-six adults were given a chair massage and twenty four adults were asked to relax in the massage chair for 15 minutes to be used as controls.

On the first and last days of the study all of the participants were monitored for EEG, before, during and after the sessions. In addition, before and after the sessions they performed math computations, they completed POMS Depression and State Anxiety Scales and they provided a saliva sample for cortisol.

At the beginning of the sessions they completed Life Events, Job Stress and Chronic POMS Depression Scales. The results revealed the following:

1. Frontal delta power increased for both groups, suggesting relaxation;

2. The massage group showed decreased frontal alpha and beta power (suggesting enhanced alertness); while the control group showed increased alpha and beta power;

3. The massage group showed in-creased speed and accuracy on math computations while the control group did not change;

4 Anxiety levels were lower following the massage but not the control sessions, although mood state was less depressed following both the massage and control sessions;

5. Salivary cortisol levels were lower following the massage but not the control sessions but only on the first day; and

6. At the end of the 5 week period, depression scores were lower for both groups but job stress score were lower only for the massage group.

This small-scale study suggests that massage therapy offers benefits in not just alleviating the physiological effects of anxiety, but also in improving mental alertness.

Field T; lronson G; Scafjdi F; Nawrocki T; Goncalves A; Burman I; Pickens J; Fox N; Schanberg 5; Kuhn C.Massage therapy reduces anxiety and enhances EEG pattern of alertness and math computations. mi Neurosci (ENGLAND) Sep 1996,86 (3-4) p197-205.


Seniors are a growing but invisible group in society. More often than not do they come to the point of moving into a home where they can be properly looked after. This is an intensely stressful event. Some people choose to move into a home of their choice at the time of their choice, but they are few. Most seniors slide into a solitary life in their own homes until they can’t manage it anymore and then are moved to a senior home. At this point they often become confused, scared, depressed and angry.

From these negative feelings arise many problems; circulatory, emotional, sleep-disorders, appetite and digestion. Sometimes seniors deteriorate very quickly in a home; the older we get, the more loath we become to leave our familiar – and therefor safe – surroundings and when this safety is taken away the world falls apart. When there is also mental confusion, a move at this time in life can become a huge trauma.


I have done some work in retirement homes using essential oils and the results are amazing! By using carefully blended oils in proper dosages a lot can be done. Together with massage they work wonders on stressed individuals. Massage can be as simple as stroking somebody’s hand, bringing peace to the person. There is no need for massage-training, all that is needed is care. Scents in diffusers also help with emotional balance and a stress-free environment.  Anxiety, fear, stress, confusion, depression, anger….all schoolbook examples on areas where essential oils are helpful.

  • Emotional disorders: Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), Orange (Citrus sinensis), Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), Frankincense (Boswellia carterii), Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora), Petit grain (Citrus aurantium), Bergamott (Citrus bergamia), Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata). When severe: Neroli (Citrus aurantium ssp. amara var pumilla), Rose (Rosa damascena), Melissa (Melissa officinalis).  Massage, diffusion.
  • Sleeping disorders: Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), Bitter orange (Citrus aurantium), Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata). Massage, diffusion.
  • Stimulating appetite: Lemon (Citrus limon), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Diffusion 20 min. before mealtimes.
  • Mental stimulation: Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), Lemon (Citrus limon), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

Seniors are frail in many ways, not least physically. Always contact a professional aromatherapist before using essential oils.

Massage therapy & stress and anxiety in children

Massage therapy and  stress and anxiety in children

A study conducted at University of Miami Medical School, Florida, USA, revealed that massage may offer considerable help for children suffering from stress-related disorders. A 30-minute back massage was given daily for a 5-day period to 52 children who were hospitalized as suffering from depression and adjustment disorders. Subjective assessments were made by the children themselves and by the nurses based upon perceived anxiety levels, sleep patterns and the willingness of the child to be co-operative. Objective analyses were also made by analysing stress hormone levels in the both the urine and saliva. The results were then compared to a control group who were shown relaxing videotapes for 30 minutes instead of massage therapy.

The results of the study revealed that the children receiving a 30 minute massage were less depressed or anxious and had lower saliva cortisol levels after the massage. In addition, nurses rated the massage group as being more co-operative on the last day of the study, and noted that the children were sleeping better than the children in the control group and that their night-time sleep had increased over the 5 day period. Massage therapy also had the effect of reducing urinary cortisol and norepinephrine levels in the children suffering from depression which was not observed in any of the children in the control group.

The researchers were left in no doubt that massage therapy offers real benefits for children suffering from stress and anxiety.

Field T; Morrow C; Valdeon C; Larson S; Kuhn C; Schanberg S. Massage reduces anxiety in child and adolescent psychiatric patients. Journal of the American Acadamy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry (UNITED STATES) Jan 1992, 31 (1) p125-31

CARE: health-professionals and aromatherapy

Over the years I have held training courses and workshops on aromatherapy for health-professionals. Mind you, this is not “true” aromatherapy which is individual-based, but the essential oils can be useful in many different areas such as stress-management, care for the elderly, hospice, handicap, physiotherapy and much more. I create safe blends to be used in different areas and I train existing health-care professionals in how, when and why to use them. Very often this small addition to already existing practices gives huge results.

Care of the elderly (usually in old people’s homes); EO-blends help with a wide array of problems; fear, insecurity, stress, circulatory problems and appetite.

Handicapped (also intellectual): Stress, fear, confusion, mood-swings and comfort. If the individual is in a wheel-chair EO-blends help with different physical problems such as head-aches, muscle-tension and circulation.

Massage-therapists: Gives an added touch to the massage.

Physiotherapists: Blends help with respiratory problems, circulation, muscles, emotion and rehabilitation.

Hospice: Smoothing the transition to accept the end of life and giving comfort to the individual.  This work also includes those near and dear to the sufferer.

Another area where I work with EO-blends is for health-professionals themselves. People who are constantly working with others, especially in demanding situations such as with elderly, handicapped or the dying, are very often taxed both physically and emotionally. To be able to do this work they need to stay balanced and healthy and the best way is to make sure that they pay attention to their personal needs and learn to recognize signals of stress or exhaustion. We all need to learn to pay attention to ourselves and review our personal status every now and then, especially if we work with others or with people who are suffering in some way. The only way we can be truly “useful” to our fellow beings is by staying whole ourselves.

Rub Your Pains Away with Pregnancy Massage

When I was pregnant I had great help of essential oils and massage for all the little things that come: prevention of stretch-marks (4 children later and not one mark!) Nausea, lower back pain, leg-cramps, swelling and of course the Grand Finale: Birth!!! I gave birth to my last child at home in the living-room one stormy night in September. It was pure bliss. I will write more about this later. For now here is an article about massage in pregnancy for you:

The article is from “JUST PARENTS” and the website is:

Rub Your Pains Away with Pregnancy Massage

Your back aches, your feet are swollen and your neck is sore. And, to top it all off, you feel fat and lethargic. You’re a typical pregnant woman with raging hormones and an expanding waistline.

Pregnancy takes a major toll on the body—the skeletal structure is supporting an increasing amount of weight and organs shift to accommodate a growing baby. Your center of gravity has changed and your back, shoulders, and neck feel achy. All of this is normal, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer until your baby is born.

All you need is a little human touch.

Physical Benefits of Pregnancy Massage

Massage offers a range of benefits for the average person, but it is especially beneficial for pregnant women. Natural-touch therapy is known to improve circulation and digestion, ease backache, decrease pain in the pelvis and hip, reduce swelling of the feet and legs, provide relief to weight-bearing joints, help maintain proper posture and reduce fatigue. And these are just the physical benefits of pregnancy massage.

According to a study conducted by the Touch Institute at the University of Miami (U.S.), 20 minutes of massage performed two times a week for five weeks effectively improved sleep patterns and reduced stress hormones in pregnant women. Additionally, women that received regular massages had lower rates of postnatal complications and premature birth.

And you thought massage just felt good!

Pregnancy Massage as Mood Booster

Human touch is inherently nurturing. For many women, pregnancy is an emotional rollercoaster. Massage can smooth the ride by giving you the attention and emotional boost that you deserve. Natural-touch therapy lessens anxiety and promotes relaxation—all of which trickles down to your baby. A happy, relaxed mum is a happy, relaxed baby.

Not All Massage Therapists are Equal

Finding the right massage therapist is key to maximum comfort and safety. Look for a massage therapist specifically certified in pregnancy massage.
Certified massage therapists have undergone specialized training and know what is—and isn’t—safe for pregnant women. Just because a clinic or spa offers pregnancy massage doesn’t mean the staff is capable of handling the special needs of a pregnant woman.

What to Expect

Before the massage, you should be placed on your side or seated in a semi-reclining position and propped with pillows. Avoid lying flat on your back after 22 weeks because it puts pressure on deep blood vessels that can reduce circulation to you and your baby. Some massage clinics have a special table with a hole cut out, allowing you to lie on your stomach. However, massage therapists disagree on whether this device strains the lower back.


Because doctors have differing opinions on the safety of pregnancy massage during the first trimester, it’s best to wait until the second or third trimester before booking an appointment. As with all therapies, consult with your health practitioner beforehand. Even though pregnancy massage is generally safe, there are conditions where a massage must be avoided. Women with gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, placental dysfunction, a high-risk
pregnancy, heavy discharge and morning sickness, as well as women who are at risk of early labor, should not have a massage.

Save the Pain for Childbirth

Everything you feel should be soothing, not painful. Chances are that you don’t want to stimulate labor while sitting in a massage chair. There is a pressure point between the ankle bone and heel that must be avoided. According to reflexology, these pressure points relate to the uterus and vagina, and labor may be stimulated if direct pressure is applied to the area. A certified massage therapist will know to avoid this area and to not perform deep-tissue massage.

Experience Massage in Your Pajamas

Recruit your partner as your own personal massage therapist and get relief in the comfort of your home. To begin, straddle a chair so you’re facing the back of it. Place pillows between you and the chair and lean forward. Have your partner rub some massage oil in his hands, cross his hands across your back and apply gentle pressure around—not on—your spine. He should press in a circular motion with the heels of his hands or pads of his fingers and move up and down your back. Say, “Ahhh…”


During the 16:th to 18:th centuries the art of distilling plants had grown to become an every-day matter. Every mansion had its own distillery and the pharmacies of the time distilled essential oils for medicinal purposes. The doctor would make out a recipe, and the pharmacies would blend the medicines.

In this time herbal medicine grew immensely with the founding of the Royal Society in Britain, the plant classifications by Linnaeus and the great herbals by, amongst others, Culpeper, Gerard and Parkinson. By the end of the 18:th century, essential oils were widely used in medicine alongside herbs, essential oils being the strongest form of medicine in existence.

The late 19:th and early 20:th century saw the flourishing of chemistry as a discipline. As plant cures and essential oils could be synthesized in a laboratory – the cures both stronger and faster in action, essential oils began to lose their place in the pharmacopoeiae.

In the early 1900’s a French chemist, RenĂ©-Maurice GattefossĂ© – the father of aromatherapy, rediscovered the effectiveness of essential oils when he after a severe burn dipped his hand in pure lavender-oil and noted the speed of recovery; the pain was instantly subdued, there was no infection nor scarring. This made him devote himself to the study of esssential oils. He discovered that the oils could penetrate the skin to access the blood-stream and chemically interact with the chemistry of the body. In 1937 he published the book “L’aromathĂ©rapie” that became the first textbook on essential oils.

Dr. Jean Valnet followed in GattefossĂ©’s footsteps. He was an army-doctor during WW2. As antibiotics were hard to come by in wartime, he used essential oils with great success. After the war he opened a clinic where he success-fully used essential oils for both physical and psychological healing. Much of his work was based on the antiseptic properties of essential oils. In 1964 Dr Valnet published a book; “AromathĂ©rapie se soigner par les essences de plantes”.

At this stage aromatherapy began popping up all over Europe; Italian doctors Gatti and Cojola start researching the psychological effects of essential oils in the 20:s; In the 70:s their work was followed up by Professor Paolo Rovesti at the University of Milan.

Mme Maury, an Austrian cosmetologist, introduced the idea of massage combined with essential oils in the 50:s. Not being a doctor, she was looking for other ways of administering the essential oils. By blending – or diluting – them with vegetable oil, the resulting blend was milder and could be used directly on the skin without irritating it. Most of her clients were healthy women that wanted beauty-treatments and the results of the aromatherapy was astounding; not only did it make the skin look better, it also had other effects such as relief from rheumathic pain, stronger libido, better and deeper sleep and an overall mood-enhancing effect. In the early 60:s Mme Maury opened her first clinic in London where she also held workshops and training. Some well-known names trained for her in the late 70:s; Robert Tisserand, Shirley Price and Patricia Davis are some of them.

The final break-through for aromatherapy as a valued alternative health practice came in the late 80:s and early 90:s when it finally became a recognized profession in many countries. In Britain and Sweden the training is state-supported and sometimes subsidized.