Aromatherapy as Alternative Medicine and Natural Therapy

Institutional Affiliation Aromatherapy

The use of complementary and alternative medicine is fast gaining recognition all over the globe. Interventions, which were not considered just a few decades ago, are now recommended for the use by physicians and other healthcare professionals. It has given rise to the term integrative medicine where complementary and alternative medicine is combined with mainstream interventions in an integrative care approach (Holmes, 2015). For this assignment, I chose to experience and document a complementary and alternative medicine intervention known as aromatherapy.

Place Visited

For my complementary and alternative medicine intervention, I visited Lapis Spa set along Millionaire’s Row in Miami Beach. Its exact address is 4441 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140. I chose to visit this spa because it is one of the iconic city landmarks in Miami. It was established in 1954 and, with time, it has grown to become one of the best massage parlors and spas in Florida (Lapis Spa, n.d.).

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Furthermore, it has progressively built a reputation as one of the centers that offer quality aromatherapy, complementary and alternative medicine that I chose to experience. Therefore, I found it apt. It also offers a wide range of massage parlor services, including ionic detox, foot bath, oriental body massage, and Tui Na, among others (Lapis Spa, n.d.). From the online reviews I had read, it also appeared that Lapis Spa is keen to offer its services at affordable prices, a core determining factor in my decision-making. However, later on, I discovered that my zeal to take advantage of lower prices was thoroughly misinformed.

As mentioned earlier, my primary choice of complementary and alternative medicine intervention was aromatherapy. For the past one year, I have experienced constant headaches, almost bordering on a migraine. I have also experienced back pain, muscle pain, the stiffness of the neck, and eczema-induced itching. I discovered that aromatherapy is the most appropriate complementary and alternative medicine intervention to address the adverse effects of these symptoms.

Aromatherapy is the therapeutic appropriation of essential oils from plants to improve the emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of an individual. It has been in use for centuries, especially in the Far East regions and Egypt. As time goes by, aromatherapy has progressively been considered as an effective complementary medical intervention, especially when combined with other therapeutic complementary treatments such as body massages and acupuncture (Hwang & Shin, 2015). Aromatherapy encompasses the controlled use of aromatic essential oils derived from different parts of the plants, including the bark, stem, roots, and leaves (Ehrlich, 2011).

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The essential oils are volatile liquids extracted from the plants through distillation or mechanical expression. As they may be itchy to the skin if applied directly, they are usually mixed with carrier liquids such as coconut oil applied during massages or even dissolved in tea and other beverages (Chen, Fang, & Fang, 2015). As such, aromatherapy as a complementary intervention can take multiple forms, including the application of the essential oils on the skin combined with massage, the smelling of the therapeutic aroma, and even ingest of the oils through edible food products (Chen et al., 2015). In my instance, it involved a combination of ingested substances and a massage therapy.

The effectiveness of aromatherapy is inconclusive. Some research studies conclude that it is effective in enhancing the quality of life experienced by the client (Hernandez-Reif et al., 2015). These studies postulate that aromatherapy has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects. It also shows favorable results in mitigating stress and anxiety while augmenting the immune system. However, others have had a more pessimistic outlook, concluding that there is no concrete scientific evidence to ascertain the positive effects of aromatherapy.

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The Initial Impression

My initial impression of Lapis Spa was that it was a luxurious establishment. The front desk oozed class. The marble elevated reception area, coupled with its simplistic design, enhanced the perceived serenity of the establishment. After the initial interaction with the receptionist, I had the impression that the practitioners at Lapis Spa were excellent professionals. The receptionist was friendly and welcoming, which contributed to reassuring me that I would be satisfied with the services I would receive. She inquired how I was doing and let me know that she was there to help me. When I explained that I had reserved an aromatherapy session, she quickly verified my payment and appointment details and promptly paired me with a subordinate employee who gave me a quick tour of the establishment and issued a locker. The staff was also accommodating. Despite arriving thirty minutes late, they were willing to reschedule and even rebook without any penalties or extra charges for the inconvenience caused.

Later on, I also established that the practitioners upheld customer satisfaction as their core objective. They were keen to ensure that I had the best experience that would optimize my benefit finding after the intervention was done. After receiving the aromatherapy treatment, I inferred that the practitioners were competent professionals. It was evident that they knew what they were doing and had the necessary knowledge and skills required for the tasks. Upon inquiry, I established that Lapis Spa is licensed by the state of Florida. However, I did not manage to acquire their license number.

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Credentials of the Practitioner

The aromatherapy treatment was administered by a woman known as Amanda Fraser. Ms. Fraser is a qualified massage therapist who has specialized in aromatherapy with time. Ms. Fraser, just like most reputable massage therapists, graduated from the Clinical Massage Therapy School in Charlotte, North Carolina. While at the institution, she studied anatomy and physiology and undertook extensive hours of supervised in-class massage training. Ms. Fraser has been licensed to practice in the state of Florida and multiple other states, indicating that she has necessary qualifications, including skills, abilities, and knowledge required to offer massage therapy. She has also undertaken multiple courses to enhance her competencies in aromatherapy. In addition to the state license, she is also certified to practice by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and is registered with the American Massage Therapy Association.

Ailments

During the session with Ms. Fraser, I shared various ailments I was experiencing. As mentioned earlier, for the past one year, I have suffered chronic headaches, which have been greatly discomforting. I have also experienced sporadic back pains, which I attribute to long hours of working while standing. In addition to the two conditions, occasionally, I also experience muscle pains, the stiffness of the neck, high levels of stress, insomnia, and, at times, eczema-induced itching.

Practitioner’s Recommendations

The practitioner recommended an aromatherapy regimen that included a combination of massage therapy and a session of aromatic breathing in an enclosure. She recommended that I attend massage therapy sessions on a fortnight or monthly basis to address the stiffness of the neck and muscle pain. She also advised me to purchase an assorted range of essential oils, including lavender and peppermint ointments, natural juice, and green tea scrub stocked on the premises. At the moment, I am keen to honor the recommendations because the conditions I am experiencing are taking a toll on me and diminishing the quality of life I am experiencing.

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Compliance with Recommendations

I intend to comply with every recommendation made by Ms. Fraser. Constant headaches, muscle pains, back pains, insomnia, and itching I am currently experiencing have caused a drastic deterioration in my quality of life. Therefore, I am keen to follow the practitioner’s instructions, hoping that they will help to address the issues and enhance my benefit finding. Consequently, I have already purchased all of the products that Ms. Fraser recommended. I intend to use them as prescribed by the practitioner. I was also keen to source them from the Lapis Spa store to ensure increased effectiveness.

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Results

My general assessment of aromatherapy as a complementary and alternative intervention is that it is effective. After the aromatherapy session, I experienced a significant decline in the analgesic levels of a headache I was experiencing. I felt relaxed, and all the airways were clear. At the moment, I do not experience the eczema-induced itching that I feel from time to time. The accompanying massage therapy has also had favorable effects. The back pains have subsided considerably. I also do not experience any neck stiffness. Later on, while going to bed, I did not struggle to have some sleep, and I managed to sleep peacefully throughout the night. I reckon the aromatherapy intervention worked, in both the short and long run.

Conclusion

It is evident from the results I have witnessed that aromatherapy is an effective therapeutic intervention. It has been helpful in reducing chronic headaches, persistent back pains, muscle pains, as well as addressing insomnia and eczema-induced itching. Thus, aromatherapy can be appropriated to address a wide range of health-related issues and should be considered as one of the complementary and alternative medical interventions. Healthcare stakeholders and other policy makers should promote the adoption of such complementary and alternative medical interventions to complement mainstream medications and optimize health promotion in the community.