Thursday, 25 June 2020

Review: Aromatherapy Associates 1-2-1 Consultation

After a long hiatus (where theoretically I should have had more time for blogging thanks to lockdown...), Bianca's Beauty Blog is BACK, and it's all thanks to Aromatherapy Associates.

The salon I normally go to for manicures and pedicures uses their oils for massage and other therapies. As a result, my husband bought me one of the full-size bath oils for Christmas. It's so incredibly aromatic, moisturising and a joy to use, but I still wasn't sure if I was using it properly or to its fullest (I am quite new to aromatherapy, having only really become interested in it when preparing for the birth of my son in 2018).

So now that salons and spas are closed thanks to lockdowns around the world, wellness and self-care brands like Aromatherapy Associates have drawn upon the valuable resource of their education staff - who would normally do workshops in spas - to carry out group and one-to-one consultations online. Amazingly, these are all free and easy to book online via their website. 

In preparation for mine, I purchased the kit pictured above - the Discovery Bath and Shower Oil Collection*. It contains 10 dinky bottles covering the brand's mainstays, including the Revive oil whose full-size version I'm currently using in the bath. At £28 - already reduced from £40 - it's a really good value set, and if you can get your mitts on a discount code, so much the better (10% and 15% off coupons are readily available online). You don't have to buy any Aromatherapy Associates products in advance of your consultation, but I found it was helpful to have the oils alongside me so I could smell them as we were talking about them.

My consultant, Amy, was right on time for our Zoom call and was patient, professional and friendly throughout. She was telling me that thanks to the coronavirus lockdowns, people are doing a lot more self-care at home, but if they're beginners, don't necessarily know how to use the products to their best advantage and to help them with their individual needs. This explains why there's been a great uptick in demand not just for these types of wellness products but also for the consultations - which will definitely continue throughout the summer now that (sadly) spas and salons are not permitted to reopen on July 4th as they had hoped.

Those signing up for these consultations - whether beginners or old hands - will not be disappointed. I had emailed in my concerns beforehand (mainly about my migraines and insomnia - both chronic problems which come and go) so we were able to get straight to these for a focused discussion. Amy was able to recommend specific products for each concern, whether in the classic oil form or in rollerball format. The recommendations also bore in mind the type of treatment needed (though she takes care to emphasise that this is indeed not a medical consultation and should only ever be regarded as complementary therapy). Got a migraine and want to take a bath? The classic bottles of oil are for you - especially their Lavender and Peppermint Support blend. Wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep? The rollerball of their De-stress Mind or Deep Relax is best for immediate application.

Amy was able to advise me about the best way to use the bath oil to really enhance my experience. In short, rubbing it onto the chest and stomach before getting into the bath allows for longer-lasting effects than just inhalation; a little can also be sprinkled over the surface of the bath water once you have run the bath for optimal therapeutic effects (pouring it into the running water just dilutes it, apparently, making it less effective).

We were also able to discuss how the Support Breathe oil can be put into a bowl of hot water in a bedroom at night to open up the airways if you have a cold; this can even be done for babies, which is great news for me next time my son has a cold (remember that you should not apply essential oils directly to babies' skin).

Furthermore, we didn't just discuss the different types of insomnia I experience, and the types of oil that might be best for them (if thoughts are racing, De-Stress Mind will be the most effective blend, whereas if your mind is just empty apart from "I'M AWAKE", Deep Relax might be more helpful), but also the possible causes of my insomnia and migraines, and their potential links to other conditions (such as the hormonal condition polycystic ovary syndrome, and hyperhydrosis). In addition, we briefly talked about the problems that she, I and others have been experiencing during the pandemic and how this has fuelled the use of self-care products generally, with people hoping to alleviate their anxieties in this way.

All of this took place in a mere half an hour - an amazingly effective and enlightening use of time. Furthermore, it was swiftly followed up by an email from Amy with all of her recommendations in writing. These came with instructions for each ritual (e.g. "apply directly to temples/area of migraine") as well as benefits (such as "to ease migraines and cool down the body"). The email also came with a 15% discount code - a nice little bonus, I think we'll all agree!

Overall, the pandemic has made many people reassess their priorities, whether it's going back to an old hobby or trying something new, going for a complete career change, or just deciding that now's the time to take even better care of yourself. These online consultations will help so many people (including the shielding vulnerable who may not feel comfortable enough to go out even when restrictions are eased) and Aromatherapy Associates should be so proud of their innovation in this regard. My next stop in my shower? De-Stress Muscle, after my (socially-distanced) swim tomorrow. Aaaaaand relaaaaaaax.

* contains 3ml of each of the following essential oil blends: Deep Relax, Light Relax, Inner Strength, Revive Morning, Revive Evening, Support Breathe, Support Equilibrium, Support Lavender & Peppermint, De-Stress Muscle, De-Stress Mind