Tag Archives: therapists

ALLOPATHIC + ALTERNATIVE = COMPLEMENTARY

In the 11th century doctors in Europe were widely called “leeches” or “barber-surgeons” and their trade consisted mainly of cupping and blood-letting – the universal cure-all. They used herbs, vinegars and wine in treatment, but very little was known about the human body, disease and hygiene. At the time the witch-hunt was on full force and many doctors were afraid to be accused of witch-craft, making them even more restricted in their medicinal practice. The “wise” women and men, who had a deeper knowledge of plants and healing were all too often burned at the stake or drowned for witch-craft, seriously depleting this empirical knowledge. What was left of it moved into the cloisters.

At the same time there existed a school for physicians in Persia where young men were taught religion, physics, medicine, law and philosophy. The great man Avicenna (Abu Ali at-Husain ibn Abdullah ibn Sina) was the leading expert and guru of the time. He developed a medical system that combined his own personal experience with the medical system of the Greek physician Galen (AD 129 – 199/217). The Greeks had done autopsies on human bodies, giving them invaluable knowledge of how the human body works. Due to religion, this practice was forbidden in European and Islamic cultures during the 11th century, and pigs were used as substitutes to learn about the human body.

Via different routes, not least via cloisters and traveling Jews, was spread the ideas of hygiene, nutrition, emotional and vibrational healing. Different schools of thought were born using “humors” and signature medicine. There was a deep understanding of the body as a whole; body/mind/soul, and that without considering all facets of a being, healing could not be successfully achieved.

Fast-forward to ad 2000: Medicine has advanced and developed with the speed of lightening; un-believable medical feats are being performed and there is an extensive knowledge of how the body works. At the same time it is as though the body has been separated from the soul. Many chronically ill people complain of the inhuman treatment of them, they become a machine, something interesting to study.

Medicine is more than just body, for deep and true healing to take place the soul needs to be healed as well. I think it is time to re-instate complementary therapy into the equation. I, as a therapist, do not set broken bones or operate on tumors. But I massage, see and listen to the person behind the disease, I help their souls to heal – or sometimes die – if that is the case. Medical doctors usually don’t have this knowledge, and instead of (in some cases) scoffing it, they should seek to work with it. I have worked with medical doctors who are amazed at the healing powers a person has when they are treated complementary as well. We are both aware of the fact that our “medicines” are entirely different – and that is a good thing.

At last; If it was only about repairing the body; why are people so ill? Why are the surgeries and chemo and radiation and transplants not enough? Why do some people heal and others not? Complementary therapy is not subsidized, making it un-available for many people which is unfair. In UK complementary therapies are offered at hospitals and hospices as part of the program, maybe it is time for other countries to follow suite.

If alternative/complementary therapies got acceptance from society, there would be stricter rules about education and training, making it easy for people to find a true therapist, because Yes, there are a lot of “fakes” around – giving the profession a bad rep.

And people, you are paying for your medical care through taxes, you have a say in what you need: If you want it, demand it.

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KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION about essential oils

lemon_pepper_oilOne thing I keep coming across is the ignorance about aromatherapy and essential oils.  On top of this, essential oils are very easy to find and actually not too expensive. Everybody has heard of aromatherapy and essential oils, many are using them in a vague fashion to scent their homes or help with minor problems, which is okay if you know what you are doing, but if you don’t know, you might be creating all kinds of problems.

To start at the top:

  • Essential oils are mainly used by the food- cosmetics- and perfume industry. Therefore they are easily found on the market. There are no limitations or regulations on producing and selling essential oils, since they are so widely used, except for some oils that are obviously hazardous to health and prohibited for all use.
  • Essential oils are also used by the pharmaceutical industry since they are pharmaceutically active agents. (Vicks vaporub & other cold-remedies)

Here starts the first problem: Since essential oils are pharmaceutically active, they should be marked as medicine, and regulated as such (as is the case with all other pharmaceutically active substances), making them unavailable for any other use. This would mean that the food- and perfume-industry (and toiletries and…) could not use essential oils in any way. Since this would lead to political and economical upheaval, it is putting the essential oils in a kind of “nowhere-land” where it is best not to create too much discussion.

So anybody can buy essential oils everywhere. The manufacturers and distributors of essential oils can claim anything they want and give advice on how to use essential oils. (Sometimes the advice is on a clinical level and the essential oil should not be used in this way without extensive knowledge.)

Essential oil components

do you understand above list?

Next problem is this: In England, America, Scandinavia and Australia you can train exclusively to become an aromatherapist. This education is a state-approved professional training. In these countries there is much more information pertaining essential oils and how to use them, since there are professional therapists that can advice you. As a professional therapist you study basic medicine, biology, chemistry and botany to understand essential oils and what they can do (or not do.).

In Germany, Belgium, France, Luxembourg and other countries in Europe you need to be a Heilpraktiker or a doctor before you are allowed to work with essential oils in a pharmaceutical way. If you are a Heilpraktiker, that means adding  a year of aromatherapy and essential oil studies to your existing diploma.  Since very few people want to do this, only doctors are really allowed to use essential oils for medical (healing) purposes. There are some doctors who do this in France. For the rest, aromatherapy is used for beauty or Spa-treatments, and the therapist has no right to claim any healing attributes to the oils.

essential-oil

This means that the overall knowledge about essential oils in much lower in most of mainland Europe creating all kinds of problems. Essential oils and aromatherapy is widely talked about and people use more essential oils here than in informed countries. There are hardly any warnings or advice. For example: Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) became all the rave a few years ago because it was said to be good against acne. People started using it indiscriminately, causing all kinds of skin-problems. In Germany and France the oil was banned for a couple of years. All because of ignorance.

tea-tree

Since I started working with aromatherapy I have worked on spreading information and trying to get past all the red tape around what is allowed to be said or not. Sometimes lack of information is the very source of the problem. At the end of the day the essential oils will continue to be accessible to everybody and the information about these substances need to be up-to-date as with any other available substance.

Essential oils can heal and provide well-being. But they can also cause harm when used wrongly.

As I said before; quality is what differentiates essential oils used for aromatherapy as opposed to industrial uses. Quality is also about re-planting, fair trade and cooperation.

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