The Ancient Egyptians are generally credited as being the pioneers of the use of aromatic plants. Not only did they use fragrant oils in incense, skincare, cosmetics, medicine, and massage, but also in the process of embalming their dead. Later on, around 2800BC, in China, the Yellow Emperor Haung Ti’s book, “Classic of Internal Medicine”, documented the causes and natural treatment of disease, including the healing properties of more than 300 plants. This suggests that, although Chinese use of aromatics is undocumented prior to this, they may well have been using these plants before the Ancient Egyptians. Amazingly, translations of this book are still in print today, and it is one of the oldest books is the world!
The term "aromatherapy" was coined in 1937 by French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, who used lavender essential oil to heal a burn wound, and soon after, French field doctors used essential oils in wound care during World War 2. Fortunately for us, aromatherapy hit the mainstream during the wellness boom in the USA over the last 20 years, and used during therapeutic sports massage, it gives sportsmen and woman a double whammy – the benefits of massage for recovery and prevention of injuries, with the age-old benefits of essential oils.
For our resident Sports Massage Therapist, Daliah Hurwitz, Wintergreen™ Arnica Oil is her go-to for keeping her rugby players and other elite sports men and woman in tip-top condition. She says, “I go through about a litre of Wintergreen™ Arnica Oil a week on my rugby players. If any of them are looking for me, they just follow the smell! And I benefit from inhaling the essential oils just as much as my players do from being massaged with them.”
Wintergreen™ Arnica Oil is the perfect partner for sports massage and treating inflammation, muscle stiffness and spasm, and bruising. Its active ingredients – wintergreen, arnica, lavender, rosemary and calendula oils – improve circulation, boost energy, reduce scarring, and facilitate the removal of lactic acid accumulated in the muscles after strenuous activity. The grapeseed carrier oil allows for very good slip for manual tissue work and massage.
Let’s take a closer look at the winning combination of active essential oils in Wintergreen™ Arnica Oil:
Grapeseed oil is a great base oil/ carrier oil for aromatherapy massage as it has no odour. It’s non-allergenic properties make it safe to use on all ages. It has very good slip for massage, and, being rich in Vit E, antioxidants and omega 6 fatty acids, it helps improve skin tone and hydration, can control acne and baby eczema, and protects the cells from free radical damage which causes cancer, heart disease and chronic illness. It is safe to use on pregnant women and is also an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial oil.
Sunflower oil acts as a moisturizing carrier oil and is high in vitamins A, B, D and E, along with lecithin and unsaturated fatty acids which soften and condition the skin.
The methyl salicylate in Wintergreen oil gives it its anti-inflammatory properties, and provides topical pain-relief for aching muscle and joints. It is antibacterial and aids in alleviating colds, headaches, sore throats, skin conditions and tooth decay.
Arnica oil is anti-inflammatory and stimulates blood supply to the muscles, helping to relieve pain and stiffness, heal micro-fibre tears, and reduce bruising and swelling. It also relieves itching and swelling of insect bites and has antibacterial properties.
Lavender oil is a real multi-tasker and can be used on all ages, and on pregnant women after the first 3 months of pregnancy. It is a cell regenerator and one of the only two essential oils that can be applied straight to the skin with no irritation, making it effective in reducing scarring from acne, burns and cuts, and soothing sunburn. It is a diuretic, helping to prevent fluid retention, and relieves the symptoms of PMS. It relaxes stiff, sore muscles and regulates the heartbeat to aid with relaxation of body and mind – making it a great choice for treating hypertension and insomnia. It has analgesic, anti-convulsive and antidepressant properties.
Calendula oil is a soothing essential oil extracted from the marigold flower, with antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial properties which promote wound healing and treat skin conditions.
Rosemary is a stimulating oil that alleviates physical exhaustion, improves circulation, and aids in the elimination of lactic acid from the system to reduce muscular aches and pains. It also helps to detox the liver and bring equilibrium to the digestive system and gall bladder. It is a very strong oil and is contraindicated for those with high blood pressure, epilepsy and pregnancy.
Peppermint oil is also a stimulating oil for the digestive system, and relieves nausea and bloating. It is uplifting and aids with concentration. It is antibacterial, eases stiff and sore muscles, and can expel intestinal worms from the gut.
Says Daliah, “When I am working with a team on tour, each player will get a 30-45min session once a week, where I can massage away the stiffness or muscle spasms that need releasing, and help prevent muscle tears, sprains, and cramping from the games, as well as the discomfort that can come with travelling. Many of the neck and back spasms I work with are not caused on the field, but by sleeping on an uncomfortably high or low pillow, or too soft mattress in different hotel rooms.”
When players are not needing specific relief for stiffness, pain or injury, they will have a body maintenance session, where Daliah works on lymph drainage for detox, and maintaining overall health utilising the healing properties of these oils to stimulate the immune system, the heart rate and function of the digestive system.
Wintergreen™ Arnica Oil is currently available for sale in the USA and South Africa. You can purchase it online or see the list of stockists here. Discounted prices are available for Professionals.
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