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On this episode of The Truth about Massage Therapy Podcast, Krzys interview Sarah Bryan

BHP011 – What is a Aromatherapy?

Sarah is a practitioner member of both the Massage Training Institute (MTI) and the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists (IFPA). She is also the local Devon champion for the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Prior to starting her massage and aromatherapy career, she studied speech and language sciences at Sheffield University, graduating with a Ph.D in 2012. She now hopes to use the research experience which she gained in academia to contribute to the development of massage and aromatherapy, as a member of both the IFPA and MTI research groups. Sarah first trained in holistic massage therapy with Vicky Gaughan at the Sheffield Centre for Massage Training, graduating with a diploma in Holistic Therapeutic Massage in 2012. Keen to gain a better understanding of the roll of massage in relation to injuries and medical conditions, she went on to train in holistic sports and remedial massage at the same school, with visiting tutor, Julie Linton, principal of the JL Meridian School of Massage and Bodywork. In 2014, she completed a diploma in Clinical Aromatherapy, with the Penny Price Academy of Aromatherapy. She is currently studying Integrated Myofascial Therapy, with Ruth Duncan and Linda Currey of Myofascial Release UK. She seeks to develop her practice, through the integration of aromatherapy with therapeutic, sports and remedial massage techniques. She firmly believes that clients can greatly benefit from this holistic approach and is keen to share it with other therapists. She has recently worked with Penny Price to develop a range of aromatherapy products specifically designed for remedial massage and bodywork, SB Holistic Magic. She currently teaches introductory aromatherapy courses at both the Exeter School of Bodywork and the Sheffield Centre for Massage Training. In 2017, she undertook the City and Guilds Award in Education and Training at Exeter College, which is equipping her with the skills to expand on her teaching.


Favourite Quote:

“I am always doing things that I can’t do, that’s how I learn to do them.”

Tag a Guest Game:

Julie Linton from the Meridian School of Massage

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KRZYS:                                 So I’m just recording so let’s start it! Welcome Sarah and thank you for joining me here at Busy Hive Podcast.

SARAH:                       Thank you. Great to be here, good morning.

KRZYS:                                 So here at the Busy Hive we like to start every show with our guest’s favorite quote. It’s just kind of our way to get everybody just motivated, excited for the rest of the show. So can you tell us what’s your favourite quote and why?

SARAH:                                 Well probably Pablo Picasso! “I am always doing things that I can’t do, that’s how I learn to do them.” Or something like that. I can’t remember the exact wording but it’s something like right I’m always doing that which I cannot do in order to 38 to do it. I think I live by that.

KRZYS:                        So how do you apply in your everyday life and mentality?

SARAH:                                 I think, everything is a challenge, isn’t it? I think, there’s a song that says, “I hope you dance and not sleep it out. It’s about giving things a go even when it seems challenging, even you know if you’re not quite sure if you can or how you’re going to achieve it. If you just sort of say actually no, I’m not going to do this, you miss opportunities so I try to take the opportunities that come to me and if it seems a little bit daunting or very daunting.

KRZYS:                                Oh thank you. Thank you for sharing that. So here at Busy Hive we really focus at the beginning of everyone’s journey. So can you tell us how did you start and how did you get to the point where you are today?

SARAH:                                 It probably goes back as far as when I was ten years old and I was at this sort of activity day as a child. And there was a woman giving Aromatherapy Hand Massages and I never had any kind of massage before. And I quite liked it and I was away at boarding school, a Special School for the Blind it was, and then one of the housemothers went to the body shop and bought a bottle of Aromatherapy Oil and she thought us how to massage each other’s hands. And I started doing back as well and the Course Massagist at the school used a Braille Machine that puts a tremendous strain on the wrists. People started to come to me for massage not just because it felt nice but because their wrists were hurting them and I probably would have gone in that kind of field when I left school but my family was a bunch of mainstream medics and I think they worried that it wouldn’t be cerebral enough for me, that I needed to do something more academic and I probably I would have been a doctor or nurse or something but it’s difficult when your vocation is medical but yet you have no use for vision. Now I’ve been completely blind since birth I have them no sight, so the job that would be obvious to me is the one I actually can’t do, really can’t do. So it’s been, it’s always been how can I do something medical and therapeutic without sight and I trained as a Speech Therapist for a couple of years but when it came to maurading kids in the clinic I couldn’t manage that situation either and not without crying. So I got my PhD in Speech Sciences and I thought I was going to be a Speech Science Researcher and I became very lonely and found the academic pressure horrible and I needed a Support Worker around me more than I could actually get one. Couldn’t read some of the papers, got lonely, got fed up, hated sitting at the computer all day. So I need to get back into some hands on work that I can do and massage was obvious because in a way it’s not so regulated yet that people are saying well you must be able to do the client’s hands, you do have certain criteria but not being able to see wasn’t a problem, it was challenge but it wasn’t a problem. Whereas with other things that I’ve tried like Herbal Medicine and Speech Therapy it come off as a problem but they have specific criteria. You must be able to do such and such a thing like see an X-ray or diagnose a skin rash or manage small children in the clinical setting. So again it was always what can I do within the medical field and here I am.

KRZYS:                                 And so where did you train?

SARAH:                                 So yeah, I actually started training while I was doing my PhD. I think that was crazy but I knew I wanted to come out of academia and make a clean break and start earning some money. I did a basic Aromatherapy Course online which is initially just a basic course but then discovered quite quickly that I didn’t really have the massage skills and I was doing my PhD up in Sheffield and now Mary’s School was the Sheffield Centre for Massage Training, which is an MTI school. And so I contacted the tutor and she gave me a bit of coaching session with my existing massage skills but it became very clear to me that I needed to do the full diploma in MTI Monastic Massage. So that’s where it all began in two thousand and eleven, (2011).

KRZYS:                                 So how did you progress from there?

SARAH:                                 Well I loved it and I wanted to do more and because of my existing medical background through, my mum basically trained me up in some medical stuff since I was a kid. I used to do the rounds with her and so I then wanted to be able to treat people with more complex medical conditions and injuries and then it just so happened that Julie Linton from Meridian was coming up to Sheffield to teach a Sports and Remedial Course and I was trying to set up as a Holistic Massage Practitioner and I just got the constant, I go into a salon or a clinic and say, have you got a space for me to work here?” And they go, “do you do Sports Massage?” And I’d go, “no” and they’d go “mhmm,” and you can just hear the deflation. And I thought, I’ve got to do Sports Massage if I wanted serious career in massage which I knew I did. And people were telling me you can’t do it as a full time job and thought; I want to do this as a full time job. (Yes) I need to be a Sports Massage Therapist here. It’s what people want, even if they don’t really know what it is, it’s what they want. Julie happens to be doing this course, it’s a very Holistic Sports Massage Course that she does and so I jumped on that. And then Darien Pritchard also rocked up at Sheffield and taught his Intensive Hands Free and he is very experienced in teaching blind massage therapy so I thought I could do with his expertise on the body use side of things so I jumped on that and then I thought I wanted to get my Aromatherapy skills up to the same level, so I did the Penny Price Clinical Aromatherapy Diploma for a year which is7:04 and accredited in the CNHC.

KRZYS:                                 Yes, yeah.

SARAH:                                 And I did that and that was in 2014 and in 2015 I started on the Integrated Myofascial Therapy with Ruth Duncan which I’m in the middle of now so I’ve done my Level One to Three and I’m doing another long stint with her in November in London. So I’m training with Ruth at the moment to do the Myofascial work and I love that.

KRZYS:                                 So 7:30 and really, really good following you up with the way you want to work. So in your mind when you start you clinic okay, Well when you start working as a Massage Therapist itself, so in your mind can you share one of the challenges as a new Therapist and how did you overcome it?

SARAH:                                 When I wish training or when I started working?

KRZYS:                                 When you started working.

SARAH:                                 So the first thing I had to do was find somewhere to work and I tried a few places and ran into problems with quite a lot of them. So I started out at a, it was a Foot, Knee and Back Clinic in, here in Hillsborough, Sheffield and that was a lovely location, it had central heating and everything and a lovely cupboard for me to put things and it was a nice venue but nobody would come to it. So the venue was good but the location wasn’t very good in terms of me getting people in and they were the, you know, I couldn’t get that level of promotion Nice clinic, just the location was all wrong. Then I worked at, I shouldn’t name them. I worked at a local charity for the blind and working conditions weren’t great. The room had multiple uses not at least that it was the access route to the freezer. So I’ll be giving someone a treatment, massaging their buttocks or their abdomen and somebody would be knocking on the door saying, excuse me I need a bag of frozen peas.

KRZYS:                                 Oh no! (laughter)

SARAH:                                 It was awful! I mean we laugh about it but it was horrendous and the client will be saying, “oh don’t worry love, I don’t mind,” and I’m thinking, well I do and this isn’t safe, it’s not private, it’s not dignified, it’s not relaxing, it’s not comfortable, it’s just all wrong. I think carrying on working there and I had to kick off a bit of a fuss about… they expected me to work with a couch in one corner of the room behind the curtain and well I had to explain to the guys about needing to access all corners of the couch, about a good body use for me that I wasn’t prepared to just stand on one side and lean over the couch.

KRZYS:                                 Yes.

SARAH:                                 And work like that cause that’s not on. And I think they just thought I was a bit of a diva really, although all I wanted was safety and comfort and privacy for my client and me as well. And, but, yeah that was difficult and then I also started work in the City Centre at location but that was, that was an holistic place but the management and the professionalism were very poor, it was extremely cold and that was a very good location but a very poor venue. So I’ve been around in terms of working in different places. One of the best ones I got was a gig in a big law firm in Sheffield two days a month, where you know, a stark contrast from the charity where I felt treated like the lowest of the low. In a law firm that brings me tea, trollies and sandwiches and coffee and fruit juice and all manner of lovely things. (Laughter) That was a very (Inaudible 10:46 – 10:57) when I was training and just doing Aromatherapy, I worked from home from my dining room at home. I think the biggest challenge was working out, what is it, where is it you actually want to work. What, do you want to work in a clinic, do you want to work in a salon, and you want to work from home? You need to work out what your business model is.

KRZYS:                                 And that’s good, that’s really, really quite important because, well exactly to find out what you know, where you want to work and actually don’t be afraid to go and try different places and the most important is do not be afraid to actually change it when it’s not comfortable for you, not comfortable for your body and that’s you know, it doesn’t just work with the way you are or you work, you know you have to be, you have to be comfortable to make sure you know to you know get the clients for them to be comfortable in the first place. Where some things you just doesn’t work or does not agree with you, you know that’s going to reflect the sessions as well.

SARAH:                                 You’re so right and actually I was afraid to change things because I didn’t want to lose what I had and I’ve put up with things being not very good for a long time and there was one of those places, the atmosphere became incredibly unpleasant and I was deeply unhappy there and I did, at one point I actually felt unsafe being there. And I think it was at one point when a client texted me and she said “I’m sorry Sarah, I’m going to come back. I think you were an excellent Therapist but that place where you’re working is just awful.” And it took her to say that but I think I need to get out of there and hats off to her and then once I had moved, I moved into a Chiropractic Clinic and that was a very positive experience. That was in 2015, that was going really well and then all my clients were saying, “oh yes that place was a little bit ramshackled,” and I’m thinking, why didn’t you say before you were unhappy? But yeah I’ve put up with things being not right for far too long.

KRZYS:                                 So it’s quite actually, you know there’s really no, good thing actually to ask feedback of your clients you know; not only on the style massage on the treatments but actually. So how, you know how are you finding my place, how you finding the room, are you finding it comfortable or is there anything, is there any room for improvement?

SARAH:                                 Yeah, I mean sometimes you can’t do anything about it except to get out. Depends on the staff, if they’re not willing to promote you or they’re not, yeah it depends how well you can work with those people or whether you’ll just have to sort of rent the space and lump it which sometimes it just feels like that’s what you’re having to do.

KRZYS:                                 Amazing but can you just briefly, so one of the challenges as a student.

SARAH:                                 As a student I was completely blind and my tutor at Sheffield hadn’t taught a blind student before and so the challenge was how they were going to convey things to me so that I would understand. And I think two of the hugest challenges: one was body use because obviously I couldn’t see the Therapists using their body and only a certain amount could be conveyed to me by my experiencing the massage; so that took a lot of work. And I think it was only really when I did that intensive course with Darien that my body use became a lot better. (Inaudible 14:30) it was never bad but it was with how to get that flow and that sort of moving around the table while you’re still massaging kind of thing, which now I teach to other people which is interesting. So that was one thing, the other thing was Towel Technique; you know some of these towel techniques that you can’t see. It’s quite a lot of practice like one towel on and one towel off and is getting things to work in a way that works for you but is also acceptable for your clients and so yeah, it was and then I guess describing some of the anatomy or describing some of the strokes. Or rather, one of the tutors used to give me these wonderful descriptions that they didn’t rely on visual knowledge and that then didn’t work, so the challenge was for me to learn and for the teachers to enable me to learn as well.

KRZYS:                                 So is like, you know, teaching together both ways I think yes it’s quite, quite important to fight, well to expl… with the teaching teams is actually quite, you know I had this kind of you know because of my different probably because of my you know, language, English is my second language and kind of to work with the tutors and explain them in the way they can explain it to me.

SARAH:                                 Yeah.

KRZYS:                                 So just always just you know, coordination and just working both ways to (yeah) actually finding out what you can and what they can and how they can teach you.

SARAH:                                 Yes, absolutely.

KRZYS:                                 You know, thank you for sharing this, you know, all of this that you already said. So now we can, now we have reached my favourite part when we just enter the topic and we choose from the conversation which always relate to our guests and we just you know, us you’re one of the biggest topics is Aromatherapy. So could you explain, what is it? What is Aromatherapy?

SARAH:                                 Okay, so a sort of textbook definition of Aromatherapy would be the use of whole natural essential oils from plants to achieve harmony of the whole person, mind, body and spirit. That is the textbook definition; so you’re using very concentrated essences that are extracted from plants either by mechanical expression, by squeezing the plant material all by just spinning and in massage, because there are many applications but if you’re going to massage, it involves adding a few drops of essential oil to your massage medium which would be one or more vegetable oils. so I’m not just doing the massage then but I’m using essential oils from plants in the massage for their therapeutic benefits for the clients and each client, each oil has   many, many different chemical compounds, many complex effects on the physiology, the pharmacology and the psychology of the person. So there’s a CL factory pathway in release of neurotransmitters that’s how smell impacts on mood but there is also the physical effect that oils can compounds that are anti-inflammatory or analgesic pain relieving or calling, or warming, or vasodilative or vasoconstrive. So as an Aroma Therapist and particular one that’s very interested in the remedial side of massage, I tend to use oils that have the right physical properties but also the psychological properties to the client then I would blend whatever oil seem to be suitable for any given client to tick as many of the boxes. So if the clients have muscle tension and headaches and hay fever for example, I’ll fine tune oils that fit all those boxes. We’ve been looking at anti-inflammatories but you’ve also been looking at antihistaminic, antiallergenic and analgesics to have some sort of circulatory stimulants. So you’ll be looking at the whole client and what their need is.

KRZYS:                                 Wow, there are lots of different uses for it! So what’s Aromatherapy good for?

SARAH:                                 Everything. It’s great for muscle aches, physical and psychological tension, it’s great for digestion, for circulation, it’s great for women who are menstrual and menopausal problems, for heavy periods, painful periods, it’s great to boost your immune system, some coughs, some colds, I’ve been using it on clients with a hay fever at the moment and I seem to have come down with hay fever this year for the first time. So it’s good for some allergies, eczema skin problems, acne, anything you can think of.

KRZYS:                                 Asthma?

SARAH:                                 Asthma yes because you can use bronchodilators, you can use anti-inflammatories, anti-allergenics and something that emotionally calming as well. So that’s how I’ve been looking at treating the asthma.

KRZYS:                                 So what, you know, in a, can you just explain a roughly. How the sessions run, so what to expect from the Aromatherapy sessions?

SARAH:                                 Well it’s not done like the M.T.I. massage session really. So I get my clients to do a consultation form online first. I’ve got on online form that asks about all the health issues and medication. I do this because I can’t easily scribble when they turn up I’m talking to them but it also means that when they come out just for an hour, we don’t have to spend half an hour interviewing them about the help I can get and then assess, ask any further questions I need to. So what will happen is they will submit their form hopefully sufficiently in advance of their appointment; it doesn’t always work. I will start thinking about the conditions they are presenting with and we’ll start checking up on oils that I think will be useful, I also use my cross reference charts in case of something I didn’t think of and sort of get a profile in my mind of that person and the oils that are doing to suit them. And I’ll write down a few possibilities but I don’t decide or blend anything until they come through the door. I meet them, sit down, have a chat with them, ask what they’re wanting to get out of today, how they’re feeling, assess the posture, assess their range of motion and then while they are getting undressed and on the couch, I will then mix their oil blends and then we’ll do the massage as per but it will be where Bespoke Aromatherapy blend as well as a need to measure massage.

KRZYS:                                 Oh well, so you’re actually blending the oils especially for them right there in this place or?

SARAH:                                 Yes.

KRZYS:                                 Do you, can you prepare oils beforehand or?

SARAH:                                 Well, not really if you’re going Bespoke Aromatherapy, I mean if somebody just turns up muscle tensions and there’s nothing else really going on then I think that they need something warming, I’ll just get out my magic, Muscle Magic, that’s my own commercially available oil. So you know but if there’s something more specific that needs treating, then yes I blend them at the time for that person. And even if I prepare them in advance, I know Aromatherapists that do. I’ve walked into Aromatherapists sessions where they’ve already made the oils and they just want to put in one more that I like. To me that is not aromatherapy, to me that is massage with essential oils. I don’t think you can make any assumptions, even in the consultations forms I will get an idea bust still I need that person. I have made no decisions about which oils I’m going to use, just an idea cause that’s not, if you blend them in advance, that’s more generic and not really a holistic aromatherapy treatment.

KRZYS:                                 Okay! So for someone interested in use of essential oils, what are the good resources for you know, beginning, for beginners?

SARAH:                                 Are you talking of people that want to train as Aromatherapists or people that don’t want to train but still want to use them?

KRZYS:                                 Oh wow! For both! Well let’s start probably for the Massage Therapists who just want to expand their skills.

SARAH:                                 Okay! Massage Therapist who are not trained Aromatherapists cannot blend their own oils. What they can do is use commercially available blends of oils that are available already   blended. They can use those. Now I have just actually launched my own branded range called SB Holistic Magic and I’ve devised five products specifically for holistic and sports and remedial massage therapy. So you can use something like that and that’s very much based on the physical remedial tissue healing model. And if you want something more psychological, I mean minerals food oils, Penny Price Aromatherapy, do oils, I wouldn’t go so booths or the body shop the show or not these high street brands, Holland and Barrett, their essential oils and not the highest blended for quality. If you want to find a good company, my advice would be to look on the register for the Aromatherapy Trade Council, the ATC. They have a list of companies including my own company who meet certain standards of quality and safety and ethical sourcing of essential oils. And a lot of these companies will sell their own and massage blends as well, Penny Price in particular do a lovely a range called Nurture. I think there’s a Nurture Breathing, a Nurture Circulation, a Nurture Mobility, a Nurture Rest, a Nurture Sleep, a Nurture Peace, Nurture Joy and many, many more. But then there is my own range that is a more specific massage based range which is the magic, SB Holistic Magic range. So that’s what you would do as a non Aromatherapists, you use pre-blended oils. The Nurture range does come in blends of pure essential oils and it tells you how many drops to add to your base. You can use those but you can’t just start adding lavender or rosemary to a base oil, you can’t do that!

KRZYS:                                 Okay! So what are the safety rules one must observe when working with essential oils?

SARAH:                                 So when, when you’re working with a pre-blended oil, one that’s already been diluted in a base oil like mine and like Penny Price’s, you follow the instructions on the bottle and you obviously avoid contact with the eyes, you can apply them to the skin because they’re diluted. Pure essential oils generally you don’t think blends you can and you don’t take them internally and you keep them away from children. Those are the four Golden Rules really and my range has been specifically designed to be safe for pregnant clients and those with high blood pressure and those with asthma oil check triggers but basically anyone over the age of six years can use my products and if it’s safe to massage them, it’s safe to use my products because people get very concerned about pregnancy, about epilepsy and the reality is that the vast majority of the essential oils or the ones that one uses in the clinics used safely in aromatherapy dilutions are not going to cause any harm and people get very scared about pregnancy but then you have to think, is this safe, strong, healthy, happy pregnancy or is this a woman whose threaten to have a miscarriage three or four times because obviously you treat those two people very differently.

KRZYS:                                 So what are there any risks for using Aromatherapy?

SARAH:                                 Well anyone can get adverse skin reaction. So you’re talking about assuming that the dilutions are correct, that you’re using blended oil here, anything can potentially irritate the skin in which case you need to wash it off with soap and water. Anything can cause a skin sensitization which means that you use something in your skin for aging that you can find and suddenly your skin throws a marvy and just say no, I’m not having this and has a reaction to it. So there’s that risk with washing powder, there’s that risk with soap, there’s that risk with things you use around the home. Any chemical that comes into contact with the skin; there is the risk of a reaction, there is a risk of allergies to the base oils that could come up in a rash but you know if someone has a lot of allergies you could get them to patch test the oil on their inside elbow, see if they have a reaction within twenty four hours. If they don’t, they are good to go. If people have nut allergies, you are better off avoiding the nut base oil in fact they are all avoiding the nut based oils on the skin or where the risks are minimal but ask the individual client what they are happy with. People generally know what they’re allergic to or react badly to. I’m thinking I’ve been in clinical practice now for over or five years and I have had one potentially adverse skin reaction in all that time.

KRZYS:                                 So can you just explain to us, how did you deal with?

SARAH:                                 What happened after the event, I gave her something to use at home and she said it made her feel quite hot and I wasn’t convinced it was actually a skin reaction. I thought it could have been something that she was feeling on a deeper level within the tissues. But what you would do, if someone comes up in a rash or something while you’re in clinic, is you would wash the oil off in soapy water and you could just apply a bit of base oil to the skin that you know they’re okay with. A bit of sunflower for example or if they are calm and okay with that, but if they have a bad reaction to some essential oils but you know they’re okay with that a base the oil then you wash it off and put some of that base oil on. And you know tell them to monitor it. Obviously if it didn’t clear up within a couple of days then you seek medical attention but I have never had that.

KRZYS:                                 Thank you for this advice. So what are the best oils for preventing and relieving stress, depression or you know anxiety?

SARAH:                                 There are so many and again I don’t treat conditions, I treat people and there are many, many, many oils that are good on an emotional level. Some are more calming, some are more uplifting but the three that research has shown is best for depression in question in general are basil, lemon balm which is Melissa and frankincense. And there is a lovely quotation from Nicholas Culpeper about basil and we now recognize it as an antidepressant but even in oh, four or five hundred years ago he said “basil is good about heart, it’s smell just takes away sorrowfulness and maketh a man merry and glad.” And I love that and it does.

KRZYS:                                 So what are your favorite essential oils?

SARAH:                                 Oh goodness! Do you mean in terms of what I use in the clinic or my personal favorites?

KRZYS:                                 No, your personal favourites; let’s find out.

SARAH:                                 I have expensive taste. (Laughter)

KRZYS:                                 Okay!

SARAH:                                 I like Neroli, which is orange blossom and it’s very suited to me because it’s very good for anxiety, it is a sedative but it won’t knock you to sleep and it good for abdominal and digestive spasms. And then it’s funny because if I get anxious I really feel that in my gut so Neroli kind of have my name on it on a physical level but I just love it!

KRZYS:                                 So how, how, what do you do? Like you have this essential oil, you burn, you know drop, and how do you use it?

SARAH:                                 For me if I want to use Neroli?

KRZYS:                                 Yes!

SARAH:                                 Often I just take the lid off and have a couple of deep breaths. (Laughter) I don’t want to use a single drop, it’s so expensive but now if I was going to , if I was going to use it, I might I don’t have a diffuser personally, lots of people do. I haven’t got one, I think you could blend some out in a little bit of rum oil and just put it around your neck, around the temple area and if you need a quick fix you can put a few drops of Neal’s Essential Oils and just inhale from the tissue. The respiratory system is the quickest way to get essential oils into the body and so particularly for coughs and colds and hay fever but also for sort of anxiety where it’s good to take a deep breath as well. To inhale the oils from a tissue can be very effective.

KRZYS:                                 Okay! So what, apart from putting, mixing the massage oils, do you use it in the clinic in a different way exactly like, what they call, I’m not really good with the names. You put there and it just evaporates into clouds.

SARAH:                                 Oh the vapour rises. No I don’t use any, I do use theme myself if someone has a cough or cold. If someone has respiratory problems I might make them up a pure undiluted blends to get them to take home and get them to use that with a bowl of steamy water or on a tissue. I’ll make creams up for people of, so I use base creams and bubble baths and I’ll make up toners out of hydro mats which is the water based component of the distillation. So I’ll make facial products for people you know who’ve got skin issues, or if they just want to use something natural, I make hand creams for people with eczema that get very dry skin, you’ve got builders and people with very dry skin on their hands, or the manual labour and so yes I would make things if a woman has menstrual problems and I give her an oil or a lotion to rub on her belly and her lower back at home. So yeah, I’m very much for people using the Aromatherapy at home not just in the massage sessions because you only get long term benefits when you keep introducing the oil into the bloodstream. A one hour massage session may feel nice in the short term but the long term benefit of that alone in terms of aromatherapy is going to be…

KRZYS:                                 So, so you can use as well in your after care?

SARAH:                                 Yeah, absolutely!

KRYZS:                                 Okay! So let’s talk now about the cost? How much you know, costs are to be Aromatherapists, to buy those stuff? And how does that reflect on the price of the session, are you charging, are you charging more for those sessions or…?

SARAH:                                 Yeah, it’s interesting that it’s not cheap. If you want to train as Aromatherapist, you’re looking at probably about two thousand pounds. It’s about same as training to be a Massage Therapist, it’s a Diploma, it’s a year, and you’re taking exams. The Penny Price Diploma is really good because if you do the Correspondence diploma, which if you already got Massage and Anatomy and Physiology and First Aid, then you can do the Correspondence Course. You get all the textbooks and essential and base oils all in with the price of the course which is awesome. And, but yes so I got lucky and I got all the wonderful oils that obviously don’t last forever and they don’t give you huge bottles of things, but they give you something of everything that you’re going to train with. It is expensive! I prob… I spent hundreds of pounds every year on the oils; five six hundred pounds a year probably just keeping my Dispensary topped up. So yes it is expensive and can you charge more? A little bit but not a lot and in Sheffield when I started working, the going rate was about thirty five pounds and hour for a new Therapist and about forty five pounds an hour for a, for an experience Therapist. I went to fifty pounds an hour and the oils; I think the oils for a session costs me about two pound eighty, just the, just the massage blend which could be about ten or fifteen mills for it cost me in the region of two to three quid. So I then charge fifty for that and that include the essential oil. If people want bottles of preparations to use at home, they pay me for those separately.

KRZYS:                                 Okay so what would you recommend as base to use to mix?

SARAH:                                 I use a variety of bases it depends what but a good all-rounder is sunflower oil. You don’t have the nut allergy problem; it’s got a good range of vitamins and minerals. It’s got some vitamin E in it so it keeps well, it’s got some Omega nine and Omega six fatty acids in it and it’s a good all-rounder but if you’ve got dry skin you need to add a the little bit of something like Apricot or Avocado to it. And then I use I quite specialist carriers like arnica and comfrey and hypericum and kalonji and they’re for specific purposes. In Sports and Remedial, the arnica and the comfrey and the hypericum as well, actually I’ll rec. Yeah, (Inaudible36:26)

KRYZS:                                 Those bases do they have to be like purchased in a special shop or has the value is enough?

SARAH:                                 Sorry, do they have to be?

KRZYS:                                 Bought in the special shops, Aromatherapy shops or like you can go just to Asta and buy, you know, sunflower?

SARAH:                                 You can’t buy any of this is Asta and even if say you can, I wouldn’t want to. No, I mean I buy my supplies from a few   A different sources. Penny Price Aromatherapy, they do some excellent oils in a wide range but they’re not the cheapest but they are ethically sourced. The farmers get a fair wage, you know because it comes from all countries all over the world and it make sure other people get paid fairly. So they are fair traded oils and there’s another company called Essential Oils online that I think is very good. I don’t like everything that they do for reasons but they tend to be cheaper, so if it’s there’s something that I am happy to buy from them, I will because I’ll save some money. The best sunflower oil I’ve ever came across was in Avis Ana. But that is a special herbal medina supplier so you now have to be a registered Psychotherapist to purchase that one but there is no reason why you couldn’t buy bases or oil blends from Penny Price or from Essential Oils online. There are many, many, many companies that do good oils or meet the ATC list standards that I mentioned; those are my two favourites.

KRZYS:                                 So what are the best essentials to have when, you know when you’re starting up your natural medicine cabinet?

SARAH:                                 Just without proviso again that’s you mean personal use at home?

KRZYS:                                 Yes!

SARAH:                                 It is of course, a Massage Therapist can’t use pure essential oils on clients unless they are trained as an Aromatherapist.

KRZYS:                                 Okay, for personal use of course.

SARAH:                                 For personal use, it depends what you want them for. I mean my favourite oils tend to be what I think of as a Sports and Remedial oils but for sort of a general domestic cabinet, the how many am I allowed? Tell me how many!

KRZYS:                                 Five.

SARAH:                                 Five, okay! So lavender, a high altitude lavender, French lavender is a must have because it’s very relaxing, it helps you to sleep but you can also put a drop of undiluted unto a burn once you’ve done your cold water first aid. It’s good for headaches, it’s good for colds, it boosts your immune system, it’s good for insect bites, you can throw it on those as well. so that I mean, lavender definitely.

KRZYS:                                 Okay, number two.

SARAH:                                 Number two; I’ll probably have some Tea Tree Oil. it’s a great for athlete’s foot and fungal infections, it’s quiet stimulating and uplifting, again it boosts the immune system, you can put it on cats and probably in dilution or it might stink quite a lot but yeah, good antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, very cleansing oil.

KRZYS:                                 Number three.

SARAH:                                 Ravensara Aromatica most people haven’t heard of this. It’s similar to eucalyptus but it’s milder, it’s gentler, it’s great for coughs and colds and snot.

KRZYS:                                 It’s like Olbas Oil?

SARAH:                                 Olbas oil is just synthetic derivatives of essential oils. Olbas oil eat your heart out. Give me Ravensara any time. It’s great, it’s antifungal and antiviral and antiseptic and yeah it knocks coughs and colds on the head if you get them quick enough.

KRZYS:                                 Okay! Number four.

SARAH:                                 Number four. Probably Peppermint…

KRZYS:                                 Yes, my favourite, I was wondering when you were going to say it!

SARAH:                                 It’s great for digestive gripes but it’s also good if you’ve got a headache, clears you head, you can blend it with all the other ones that I’ve mentioned. It’s good keep if on your journey and you’re feeling a bit sort of jaded; it’s good, fresh, refreshing oil. You can use it in a refreshing footbath with tea tree, yeah peppermint is very good.

KRZYS:                                 Okay then, number five.

SARAH:                                 Number five, so many, there are so many. I’ll probably have to say Rosemary. It’s good for concentration and mental efforts, it boosts blood circulation to the head, it’s good if you’ve got to focus or to think about things, it’s also good b for coughs and colds and I mean to be honest, all the times that I’ve mentioned you can blend and get a lot out of them but that’s quite as stimulating and refreshing and the lavender and rosemary together in a massage blend would be great for generally muscle tension as well because they’re both sort of vasodilative and circulatory.

KRZYS:                                 Okay, amazing thank you! Really, really thank you for this amazing insight and advice into the world of Aromatherapy. So the next question, I have it for you because just because a lot of our listeners are either just starting up, own their business, or they been in a while and they’re struggling to work and to building their own business. So next question is, if you woke up tomorrow morning and you still possess all the experience and knowledge you currently have but your business completely have disappeared forcing you to start from the scratch, what would you do?

SARAH:                                 You know that’s what happened to me, don’t you?

KRZYS:                                 I know!

SARAH:                                 That’s exactly what did happen. It’s not what would I do, it’s what did I do? It’s heart breaking, I’m not going to pretend it’s not an absolutely horrible situation to be in. I, I was working up in Sheffield and doing very well indeed and then my husband’s contract ran out, he needed to get another job. So I got hit with the news, “sorry darling, we’re moving down to Exeter, which is completely the other end of the country.  What did I do? I won’t pretend they weren’t tears on both sides,   I had to I had to hand over my clients to a colleague, they were really sad that I was going, I was really sad that I was going. It was horrible and one of the horrible things I’ve been through and it’s because you care, it’s because you put so much energy and love and time and money into what you’re doing and that’s why it’s horrible. But what do you do? The only thing you can do is start back again, but what I did do was, look on the internet, find good complimentary therapy. Look to the Massage Therapists that they have in Exeter, most of which are a lot of luck and the last thing that they have been that is that most of which are A P and T registered. It’s a bit of an AP&T hub down here, yet we have a school for A P and T training and I looked to the various clinics, I phoned them all up, I asked what space they had. I knew from Sheffield that I wanted to work in the City Centre cause you get all those busy professionals and I fell on my feet right away with a really lovely professionally run, well established clinic bang in the City Centre. It was a nice big room and it’s not falling apart, it doesn’t have central heating but we can get it quite warm with heater. So what I did do was to find a good clinic, I talked to you all about all those horrendous experiences of working in less than professional places or places that weren’t quite in the right location. I got that right the second time, hadn’t got it right the first time coming down here. And,   what else did I do? I did a lot of me sleeping in hotels but that didn’t work. If I was starting out a third time, which it looks like I’m going to have to, I would get some pictures at a local public events, I would give some free taster massages and I would give 60 % discount vouchers for one of my treatments which is only valid for a couple of weeks. Is there something you’d like us to do with you? Shall we book you in? It’s quite, it’s not an aggressive sales technique but it is a bit of a push, you’ve got this amazing offer that is only available now. Do they want it? It gets people through the door, they’re not paying as much initially but if they pay more than you do on Groupon and   they might come back. And it probably will and I have an event at the Uni a few weeks ago and my diary had started to get seriously busy with clients and I just wish I got two events like that sooner. And I’m doing a pitch in the shopping center on Saturday, doing exactly the same seated neck and shoulder massages. Would you like one of these discount vouchers? Block looking schemes with courses, you know buy six treatment for the price of five. Pay for it now, it’s non-refundable. You get the clients that want to take long-term responsibility for their health rather than just a one off chill out if that’s what you want to do. It’s certainly what I want to do. And I probably wouldn’t waste my ten weeks looking at everywhere I would also phone and did also phone big commercial companies to ask if they have a massage therapy service for their employees. If not would they like one, would they like me to come in and do a free taster session and the first time I go into a company I don’t charge for the first day and if they won’t make a comeback they’ll have to pay. So those are the things that I find have worked. There’s also a great thing called where people search for trades’ people that they want. I’ve got a listing on and I get emails from them all the time saying that they are for a massage in Exeter or Jane is and looking for a massage in wherever, London; and I got clients like that as well and having a good website with a good SEO would help as well. Having a good web developer that could turn the website around from a Sheffield to an Exeter website. (Yes) Yeah. Those are a little bit of work

KRZYS:                                 That’s some really; really good points. Thank you for sharing that. Relocation is a big step especially and exactly to. Sometimes you have to, you know, yeah, just head up and just do it! Good, good! Start with a really good research find out what’s, you know what’s there and what you can bring and what’s different you can bring there (yeah) so you kind of stand out. Exactly, change the SEO on your website and actually just try and even with really hard sales, sometimes really big discounts just to get notice. And from there exactly you know people will try you and just you know, the words of the mouth will follow as you said, started to get booked up really quickly.

SARAH:                                 Yeah and get people to review you as well, on Facebook, on free index, less on the MTI website to an extent although not a lot of people know about that. So in terms of members of the public, if you can, for the more reviews you get the more up the ranks you go and the quicker Mr. Google will find you for people. So it’s about keeping Mr. Google   happy. Having an FBO service every month, look after your website, treat it like a garden, prune it, weed it, re-seed it. It’s never, website is never ever complete, it always need work; it’s a constant thing.

KRZYS:                                 Well we changing, internet changing and our website should change all the time as well just to keep an eye on it yes. Completely agree. So Sarah, next part is a are next part is all about you. We will give you moment of to get promotion of you; either your courses, books, practice or anything you would like to share, we will give you a little bit little bit of the free style time.

SARAH:                                 Okay great. So has I have been discussing already I have recently launched my Magic Range of massage products. It is five specifically designed Aromatherapy products to help you make your massages more effective with no additional training or insurance required. And very briefly we have a Scar Magic for Scar tissue, a Muscle Magic for muscles, a Nerve Magic for trapped nerves, a Rescue Magic for inflammation and Myofascial Magic for Myofascial release. They are available to buy at oh, can’t say it,   If you go any questions use the contact forms, do get in touch. If you want me to come to your school, your massage school, and teach a bit of Aromatherapy, I have a three hour shop on base oils that I think are the carriers; things like sunflower, almond which anyone can use in their practice. I don’t have a three hour specific course on the core on the Magic Range and how to use it effectively. So not only do I have these products to help with your massage to make it safe, effective and pleasant but I can also offer you a day’s teaching that at your locations and that’s aromatherapy that is safe to be used within your current massage qualifications and your insurance.

KYRZS:                                 Oh brilliant, thank you for sharing, for sharing that. And we are going to put up all of the links in our show notes so we can real easily find Sarah’s websites and the shop so you can check it out and buy some.

So next part is we call it tag a guest game, when we’re going to ask you, “Who do you admire and why? And can you help us get recommendations for the upcoming interview with me here at Busy Hive Podcast.

SARAH:                                 Okay, gosh, there are so many, so many amazing practitioners out there I could recommend at least six but if I could only recommend one it would have to be Julie Linton from the Meridian School of Massage. I find her attitude, her holistic attitude to sports and remedial massage very, very appealing. I’ve trained with her and got the whole concept that you don’t have to hurt yourself or your client to give a sports massage and she’s just got a very lovely down to earth, gentle way of teaching and working with the people. She’s truly inspirational is Julie. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of my tutors and but I feel that the sports and remedial course was particularly good in getting me where I am today and Julie has really inspired me never to lose sight that you’re working on a sensitive human body and we are not in the business of butchering our the clients, we are in the business of working with them and Julie really instilled that in me; so huge thanks to her for that.

KRZYS:                                 So, yeah, thank you. Thank you for sharing that and thank you for joining me here at our Podcast. You really gave us really great advice and lots and lots of inspiration.

So let’s finish the show with a last bit of advice for Busy Hive listener and then were going to say goodbye. If you just do one thing for our listeners to take out of this episode, what would it be?

SARAH:                                 Don’t be afraid to make mistake and stay humble. If you’re going to massage as a business, you’ll get it wrong. We all get it wrong! I’m still getting it wrong. It’s okay to make mistakes as long as we learn from them and sometimes the mistakes are how we learn. So you know, do work hard but also do work with what you have and don’t beat yourself up when it goes wrong, try to learn from it.

KRZYS:                                 So how can we connect with you the online?

SARAH:                                 You can e-mail me, which is and that’s Sarah with an h. On Facebook my page is SB Holistic Massage. On Twitter @sbholistic and I’m on LinkedIn as well but I have to remind, I don’t use it as much but I have LinkedIn and that is and I’m on the MTI and pages as well, the MTI Lender Group and on the Southwest Group and I’m likely being added to the West Country Group as well.

KRZYS:                                Oh, thank you Sarah. Thank you for joining me here at our Podcast and if any listener is interested in learning a bit more about what the courses and the product see you sell and you run, we are going to place all the information in our show notes at


It’s a pleasure to have you on the show and thank you, thank you for our inspirational chats today and I wish you, you know to spreading lots of love and caring in the new place where you are. And hopefully we are going to chat soon.

SARAH:                                 Thanks, thanks so much Krzys.

KRZYS:                                 Bye for now.

SARAH:                                 Take care.

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