Monday, 31 May 2010

Kew Gardens

If you enjoy working with children, or like working in the fields of education and play, this could be the volunteering opportunity for you. Share your passion and help Kew inspire young people with the power of plants.
Find out more
Joseph Banks

Kew is a reminder of the time when the UK led the world in the analysis and utilisation of essential oils from the higher plants.  In the last ten years much research has been put out in Asia.  An example of the analysis of an essential oil.

Revise - Acupuncture the science

Acupuncture is available on the NHS for lower back pain.  In the hands of a competant practitioner Acupuncture has been found to be highly effective not only in reducing the amount of pain by anticipation of treatment but in reducing those areas of the brain (Dr Theysohn) which deal with pain indicating a chemical messenger may be at work. 

A biological molecule that may help explain the effects of acupuncture has been identified by scientists.
The chemical, adenosine, is a natural compound known for pain-killing and anti-inflammatory properties.
It also influences the heart and plays a role in regulating sleep.
Researchers found that adenosine is very active in tissues affected by acupuncture, the ancient Chinese treatment that involves inserting needles into sensitive points of the body.

The scientists performed acupuncture on mice suffering chronic inflammatory pain in one paw. Each animal received a 30-minute treatment with fine needles inserted into a known acupuncture point near the knee.
Acupuncture reduced discomfort by two-thirds in mice with normal levels of adenosine.
However, it had no effect on "knock out" mice genetically prevented from responding to adenosine, the researchers found.  During and immediately after acupuncture treatment, adenosine levels in the tissues near the needles were boosted 24-fold.
Maiken Nedergaard, from the University of Rochester Medical Centre in New York state, said: "Acupuncture has been a mainstay of medical treatment in certain parts of the world for 4,000 years, but because it has not been understood completely, many people have remained sceptical.
"In this work, we provide information about one physical mechanism through which acupuncture reduces pain in the body."

Find out more

Fully accredited acupuncture course
Haseley Manor, Hatton, Warwick, CV35 7LU T: 01926 484 158

Sunday, 30 May 2010

A grand day out - Baddesley Clinton

Just a few miles from Birmingham is Baddesley Clinton.

I was lucky to be brought up and live in Shakespeares Country, Warwickshire, England which has many hidden treasures like this in the ancient Forest of Arden.  It amazes me that yesterday I and my family were the only ones watching this scene today peaceably sitting by the moatside.

As you can see this year with a lot of spring sunshine the wysteria and clematis are in fine form and well worth the trip to see.

Theres an excellent wooded lake as well which is an easy and enjoyable walk around particularly for kids.

Find out more

There are many famous Shakespeare quotations.  Shakespeare's plays are always on my table.

One of the important strengths of Warwickshire is the quality of the education. I attended school in Leamington Spa before winning a place at the famous Rugby School. Today Leamington is an important retail centre and you can find Shirley Price Aromatherapy oils at t3 which is situated opposite Neals Yard Remedies shop.  t3 is home to 14 practising complementary therapists.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

'Aromahology' - the impact of plant alcohols

Many students taking up a study of aromatherapy experience at least six months enthusiasm.  Its best to get the reading and rereading done in this period and the student will become the master.  Some aromaholics remain hopelessly hooked until retirement as professional aromatherapists, complimentary therapists or educators.

Besides their use in the flavourings and perfumes industry plant alcohols distilled into their essential oils have preservative, antifungal, anti viral and antibacterial effects.  This is a favourite topic for university study.

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The doctrine of vital force

For many years the doctrine of 'vital force' held sway among chemists.  There appeared a clear distinction given the science of the times between inorganic and organic and this doctrine served as a boundary to enquiry.  Then it became clear it was a precis.  In 1828 Frederich Wohler heated an aqueous solution of two inorganic compounds amonium chloride and silver cyanate and obtained urea.  As urea could be obtained from both inorganic and living things the doctine of vital force could not hold  and Frederich Kekule coined the modern definition of organic chemistry as compounds containing carbon. 

With suddenly a new avenue to explore the floodgates opened and research effort poured into organic chemistry just as in modern times research effort has poured into carbon's cousin - silicon to give us the silicon chip.  There was an awakening which led to the development aromatherapy in the sense of the use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes in primary, secondary and tertiary medicine to obtain clinical results.  Alchemists had always held that essential oils obtained from plant matter contained the higher more volatile 'soul' of the plant as compared to the base matter in which it was fixed and used this knowledge to create medicines for prevention, cure and recovery.

The object of all this research and analysis of essential oils and herbal products was and remains synthesis.  The identification and then mass production of the active ingredient for example regenerative allantoin in comfrey. 

Science has gone one step further.  The better understanding allows for the production of entirely synthetic chemicals or drugs which are not found in living things at all but which have an impact on living cells.  Depending on the dose for example some drugs can obtain clinical results but also trigger cancer as these synthetic chemicals are not adapted to the body and have unexpected side effects such as thalidomide.

There therefore remains a place for essential oils and their controlled use by properly trained and motivated professional aromatherapists in particular for the treatment of stress and sleeplessness, many common ailments which are not as such medical conditions and afflictive emotions. 

Essential oils did not yield all their secrets.  We know that synthetic essential oils do not have the therapeutic effects of 'whole' freshly distilled oils.  This is because those effects may depend on constituents which present in tiny quantities and also the interaction of two or many more constituents rather than being a simple function of the oils headline ingredients (Valnet).  Essential oils continue to inspire.  This idea of the 'cocktail' of active ingredients which is used by plants apparently to maintain life has inspired research breakthroughs for example in AIDS treatment.

Returning to Carbon, as Battaglia writes (CGA 2004 p72) "With 107 elements other than carbon to choose from you would expect there to be many more inorganic than organic compounds but in fact the opposite is the case.....  The key to the chemical characteristics of carbon is in its configuration of electrons.  Carbon's electronic configuration makes it unique in the ability of its atoms to catenate (that is to bond and link up) with one another and other atoms particularly hydrogen and oxygen  in seemingly endless arrangements."
The arrangement of the atoms is used amongst other things by living things to store information which can be replicated for example in DNA.

Most of the communication systems in the body are chemical in nature. Cells (such as nerve cells, gland cells or blood cells), communicate with each other mainly by chemical substances produced and released by one particular type of cell and to which others are highly and specifically sensitive. Every cell in the body is continually responding to chemical messengers. This intricate communication system is vital and most drug action either mimic, augment or disrupt this communication system.

Alchemical doctrines such as mixtures of higher and lower still inform much of our interpretation and thinking about our world, those in it and our own selves. 'Vital force' is alive and well and still helping people interpret the world, communicate and live today.  At least until science throws further light on how things work.

Aromatherapy notes and Diploma essays

There are a number of topics suitable for essays and for ease of reference I have listed them in alphabetical order

Aged care
Communication and consultation
Essential oils
Fatty acids
Gattefosse Rene
History of Aromatherapy
Immune system
Internal ingestion
Lymphatic system
Mask treatments
Maury Marguerite
Neroli & Jasmin
Rose Otto
Skin structure
Skin conditions
Skin types
Solvent extraction
Topical applications
Valnet Jean
Vegetable oils
Vibrational medicine

Aged care





Communication and consultation



Essential oils


Fatty acids

Gattefosse Rene


History of Aromatherapy

Immune system


Internal ingestion





Mask treatments



Rose Otto











skin structure

skin conditions

Skin types

Solvent extraction

Topical applications

Valnet Jean

Vegetable oils

Vibrational medicine


Revision time - Essential oils packaging and labelling

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Revision time - Pharmacology - Purported therapeutic properties of essential oils

Match the oils to the purported therapeutic properties (click the link and enter the name in the search box for more information and citation of Sources)

Tea Tree
German Chamomile

Bacterial fungal and viral infections
Headaches, fever, nausea and fatigue
Minor burns, insomnia, pain relief, wound care
Anti inflammatory
Mild antidepressant and tonic
Respiratory infections
Nausea and anti inflammatory
Insect repellant and antiparasitic

Carriers, Herbs
Aloe vera
Evening primrose oil
St Johns Wort

Frankincense (BMJ, not Boswellia Carterii and that from Somalia, still a good read and useful to illustrate literature search and how to interpret clinical trials)

"When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2, 10-11, English Standard Version)"
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Revision time - Understanding the periodic table

Virtually all kids know what this is but are mystified by it.  Lets try and breathe some life into it. 

Assuming a knowledge of elements, protons, neutrons and electrons (carbon has 6 protons so 6 electrons) lets cut to the chase of electronic configuration which shows the number of electrons in each shell surrounding the nucleus.  The outer shell of electrons is the most significant.  Elements combine to achieve a settlement or stability in their outer shell of electrons (most importantly by sharing electrons so each has a full outer shell).  Differant elements with the same number of electrons in their outer shells have similar physical and chemical properties (consider Copper, Silver, Gold in the table, everyone recognises these). 

Now remember this.  Shells are numbered sequentially outwards from the nucleus and for each shell there is a maximum number of electrons it contains.  Shell 1 upto2, Shell2 upto8, Shell3 upto18. Shell 1 has only 1 subshell(s) with 2 electrons.  Shell 2 has 2 subshells 2s(2 electrons) and 2p(6 electrons).  Shell 3 has 3 subshells 3s (2 electrons), 3p (? yes 6 electrons) and 3d (? yes 10 electrons). 

Dont worry if all this information doesnt sink in just now it will and soon you will be able to visualise the shells in their beauty.  Click on the picture at the top of the page above to see a larger image of the table.

Do you see group 11, Cu, Ag, Au?  They all have similar properties right? shiny metals.  Now look at Group 4 and you can see Carbon and Silicon the two key players in life and electronics.

Study Tip! if you are finding it hard to study as an adult why not take a textbook to a coffee shop.  As kids we study in classes, large groups but learn to focus with our friends (and non-friends!) around us.  Try it.  You may be amazed at the focus you achieve.

Now focus.  The horizontal rows are called periods.   Going across a period each atom has one more proton and therefore one more electron.  In the first period there is is one shell of electrons from hydrogen which has one electron to helium which has two electrons (and therefore a full outer shell).

In the second period there are two shells of electrons from lithium upto neon which has 8 electrons in its outer shell Shell 2 (2s with 2 electrons, 2p with 6 electrons).  Neons outer shell is full too.

In the third period there are three shells of electrons from sodium upto argon.  Argons outer shell is full too.

Helium, Neon and Argon are very stable and settled because their outer shells are full.  Much of chemistry is concerned with how elements which dont have full outer shells combine with each other and other elements to achieve full outer shells, settlement and stability.  Sometimes the reaction can be explosive!

Arguably much of history is about how peoples with differant ideologies can combine to achieve a settlement and stability.   Preferably without reaching for the explosive!

"My outer shell is unfilled and there is only one way to resolve this"

(Picture of a terrorist)  You will forgive my caution in not supplying the obvious image.

Find out more


Monday, 24 May 2010

Aromatherapy - 'Just' stress relief?

Stressed teachers 'are time bombs'

A teacher spared jail after beating a 14-year-old pupil with a dumbbell has warned that "lots of teachers are ticking time bombs" because of stress at school.

Peter Harvey, 50, attacked the boy at All Saints' Roman Catholic School in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, after repeatedly being taunted by pupils in his science class.
Last month jurors at Nottingham Crown Court took just an hour to clear him of attempted murder or intending to cause serious injury, and on Tuesday he was given a two-year community order for causing grievous bodily harm without intent.

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What a sad tale.  I have tried to breathe life into the periodic table above.  Most teachers try to breathe life into the tedium of teaching disinterested kids by reacting magnesium with oxygen.  I am guilty too.  We baited our Latin teacher mercilessly once we realised he had a sensitive soul. He wisely gave us our moment of victory so we went back to baiting each other.  If we had listened we could have understood that the chemical symbols take the name of the elements except those in Latin.  Pb = lead (plumbum), Fe = iron (ferrum), Na = sodium (natrium) K=potassium (kalium).  Get your revenge make your own latin names up and ask your chemistry teacher what curium, argentium and aurium are. He may know or guess but dont drive him to assault you.


Chelsea Flowershow

A little bit of provence in Chelsea.

A lady skepchick

er wasnt it critical thinking by skepchicks around the world that said unrestricted allopathic medicine and the pharma industrial complex around the world that is making our children and husbands very very very ill? er incidence of cancer and allopathic medical use?  er incidence of surgery introduced infection?  Ooooo despite being statistics biggest correlation universewide theres not many research dollars for that one I think!!  mere coincidence?  In fact even the humblest of intervention has its potential costs see Lighthouse Foundation. 

Not that natural products are not chemicals.  They are so there must be equal enthusiam for knowledge of contraindications and safe use as for indications of use that can be of benefit.  We need to keep our sceptical head on.

Maybe we are entering a new age in which rationality counts to more that 4% of the population.
Its not so long ago that only 4% of the UK population had the vote because it was thought only 4% could use their vote rationally.  This UK election proves we've come a long way since then but there is an irrationality in human affairs which we cannot ignore.  Lets remember out this strangeness good and novel things may come. 

keep your skepchick head on out there.

Find out more
about MDs who give you the facts and leave the choice to you

Sorry you anti CAM guys cant cite this lady she is rational.  Do better.  Its perfectly rational to talk about mind body and spirit and the limits of present understanding and infinite extent of future understanding to do otherwise is to confuse the young and deny history.  The world 200 years ago was a very differant place and the world 200 years hence will be equally if not not more so. 


Friday, 21 May 2010

A-roar-matherapy - Essential oils for lions

The are some great stories around this month.  This is my favourite of aromatherapy use in zoos which have large primates.

Peppermint princess: Lioness Indu has taken to her scented pillow, carrying it around and sleeping on it
Monkey keeper Andy Fry has also been trialling the aromatherapy. He said: 'We use scent-based enrichments and have had some good results. Monkeys respond to fruit scents like orange and lemon.
'However, we have never had such a wide range, so this is an excellent opportunity. It will be interesting to see what effect lavender and tea tree oil have.' 
There is also a veterinary use for the oils. Ghislaine Sayers - the zoo's head of veterinary services, said: 'You can mix almond oil with water and spray it on pigs and primates with dry skin. If a monkey has a cold, you can nebulise olbas oil with water or put it on a wet towel somewhere where the animal can smell it but not reach it."  
Paignton Zoo Environmental Park has won awards for its environmental enrichment work, which encourages natural behaviours and stimulates mental and physical activity.  
Enrichment can include wind chimes, background music, balls, bubbles and CDs hung up to catch the light.
In the wild, animals walk miles in search of food or migrating with the seasons. In zoos they cannot.
A Paignton Zoo spokesman said: 'Environmental enrichment helps to replace these activities and occupy the time of animals such as primates, elephants and big cats.'

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Aromatherapy for mothers and babies - labour

Women in labour will now be offered relaxation and massage using essential oils to help ease labour pains, sickness, muscle aches and anxiety.   Midwives at North Bristol NHS Trust, who have been trained in aromatherapy, are offering the services.
The therapy has been offered at Southmead Hospital's birth suite, in Bristol, during home births and will be offered at Cossham Birth Centre, the city’s first midwife-led birth centre, when it opens in the autumn of next year. If successful the technique could rolled out to other parts of the country.

Mary Carlisle, manager of the birth suite at Southmead Hospital, said: “Aromatherapy reduces anxiety and fear by helping women feel more relaxed and can help to reduce symptoms such as heartburn or backache,” she said.

Find out more

The group of 24 midwives, who were trained on the chemistry of oils and how to mix them, would use the technique to alleviate stress during birth. They use seven basic oils, bergamot, clary sage, jasmine, lavender, peppermint, frankincense and grapefruit, which are mixed with a base oil. The oils can be applied by infusion through inhalation, in a footbath, through a compress to the skin or a drop on the hand.
Only trained midwives can apply aromatherapy through massage or prescribe and mix the oils.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

CAM Library

Besides a knowledge of essential oil chemistry one of the skills we teach our students is how to do a formal medical literiture search with the appropriate citations. An excellent resource is CAMLIS. The helpful and professional library staff show you how to get the best out of your pass and get access to full text articles from CAM journals.

Essential oils have been around for many centuries (perhaps thousands - actually ever since man figured out that if you heated aromatic plant matter and put a sheeps fleece over the top as an efficient condensor you derived an oil with special properties you could sell for many shekels, at times a lot more than the sheep) but essential oils have been available in convenient wholesale form since the 1930s. Prior to that it was necessary and still is necessary to gather and macerate fresh herbs. There is much literiture available from herbalists and homeopaths which is a valuable resource. Whether chemicals are derived from natural or synthetic sources does not matter for most purposes and there are pros and cons both ways. Synthetic chemicals are cheaper and the results from them more easily reproduced and documented.

Against? Synthetic chemicals are not as well adapted to the body as chemicals derived from nutrition or as essential oils and can cause side effects including depending on the dose cancer. This is why antibiotic use is to be minimised.  Synthetics also lack the scattergun approach of essential oils which can comprise 300 aromatic chemicals from which the body can pick and choose which is helpful for a variety of conditions including infectious disease.
Find out more

Lets not forget that much of CAM preserves the medical tradition of hands on medicine short of surgery and which guides physicians to more accurate diagnosis.


Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Mr Colquhoun - CAM attack

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Hi all

Further down is an email I received.
CAM has its critics but the public have a right to seek out professional advice from those with a true vocation and who are able to get results and attract valid testimonials.  The public deserve and need to be protected against the activities of charlatans and their large scale advertising campaigns which create 'illness' for them to sell their wares.  The ideology of all CAM is the precise opposite to this.  Sincere CAM professionals need a supportive and progressive regulator who understands CAM is part of the solution and minimisation of chemical use. 

It should be recognised that certainly initially CAM does not require two degrees as MDs do.  That is one of the advantages of aromatherapy as a CAM foundation as its training can be quickly acquired by midwives and nurses and is encompassed in a course with the intellectual content of the first year of a university degree.

This book is a great read.  Today hormone replacement therapy for vitality in later life is part of mainstream medical practice.  It wasnt always that way!  Reading it you can see todays hucksters are not to be found in the membership of professional CAM organisations though of course professional standards require policing.  Even MDs periodically are struck off as they are as prone to human change and failing as the rest of us. As for the successful isolation of testosterone - that was funded by the Nazis for wholly differant purposes to that in mind by American researchers.  Make love not war as they say and the GI showed us (eventually, as we Brits and Russkis say) a man can do both.

There is much in this book to give mainstream practitioners food for thought. 

Osteopathy and chiropractors are a favourite target for sceptics but have an evidently high standing among their customers. Like all therapies they have their disasters as well as achievements.
It is not quite cricket to quote HL Menken H.L. Mencken (1924) on chiropractic
“This preposterous quackery flourishes lushly in the back reaches of the Republic, and begins to conquer the less civilized folk of the big cities.”
He and Morris Fishbein of the AMA railed constantly against chiropractics for twenty years with no obvious effect because plenty of people have benefitted from their expertise and dedication. H.L Menken also gave us the excellent quote 'Puritanism...the haunting fear that someone somewhere might be happy'.  The customers of chiropractics seem pretty happy with them.

Find out more about chiropractors

That said CAM has to be careful not to wander off the reservation.  I think most people would be sceptical about claims that manipulation of the spine can heal infant illness and even earache.  At the same time many people know of acquintances who have spinal injuries for example from car crashes and find regular visits to a chiropractor more than helpful.  Sick people should go to their MD.
As I understand it Mr Colquhoun is a CAM sceptic but now hired by CNHC to assist with regulation of the CAM professionals. 

Some CAM therapies have made their reputation in assisting with womens ailments. Common female ailments are not any man's specialist subject ( I agree should read 'naturally a mans not any mans' eg gynecologists have this as a specialist subject ......but surgical gynecology thats not a common ailment? by common ailments I mean acne, anxiety, athletes foot, baby colic, baby coughs and colds, baby fretful, baby nappy rash, baby teething, back pain, blood pressure high, blood pressure low, breast abscess, bronchitis, bursitis, cellulite, chickenpox, common cold, constipation, cramp, cystitis, diarrhoea, eczema, emotional stress, fluid retention, footcare, gastric flatulence, gout, haemorrhoids, headaches, herpes, impetigo, indigestion, leg ulcers, measles, menopause, mumps, osteoarthritis (the condition which prompted Shirley Price to begin her journey with essential oils) , periods - heavy, lack of, painful, pmt, post natal infections, rheumatoid arthritis, ringworm, sex drive problems, sprains, stretch marks, thrus, varicose veins, weight loss, ref R Caddy BSc, ARCS, MISPA Aromatherapy p8,9) to which i'd add burns, wounds, warts, introduced infection and the most vocal sceptics appear to be men.  In fact I dont know of a female sceptic (I do now!).  Most MDs faced with a common ailment will point to the door and invite the patient to pull themselves together.  They are there to treat ill people and given their workload just dont have the time a complementary therapist or nurse or midwife have to assist relieve a common ailment.  You go to a gynecolgist for example if you have the bad luck to have your bowl, vagina and bladder walls stuck together as a result of a tough childbirth and the unavailability of a caesarian and so need surgical reconstruction.  ok scepchicks on burns now here is a classic example of aromatherapy underselling itself.  The standard story of Gattefosse burning himself and plunging his hand into lavender oil and finding pain relief and a rapid recovery without scarring is an elegant precis (its a french word but you dont have to be french to understand it) but that is all it is.  In fact the laboratory explosion set fire to his clothes and I know how distressing that is.  So he went outside and rolled on the ground to extinguish the flames (as you certainly do!).  The burns were the least of his difficulties he describes gas gangrene he contracted from ground contact which he used lavender oil to treat.   The french military have since time immemorial used lavender et al to treat gangrene.  Napoleon went on campaign with 200 tonnes of horsedrawn cologne and it wasnt to impress the opposition.  There was an impressive meeting of two traditions in the Crimea with the British Navy and Army using Chamomile to treat lice in bedding and the French other oils like Lavender to treat wounds. 

As the science of CAM attracts more attention and light is shed on how CAM practicioners obtain their results this attracts more scientific study.  Indeed CAM provides plenty of scope for scientific researchers for example to tell us about the quality of sunlight as it is received on planet earth and energy flows.  I look forward to discussing the science of all this for example the underlying principles of reflexology and acupuncture. No one disputes the effectiveness of professional acupuncture not since chinese surgeons were filmed performing open heart surgery with acupuncture providing the only pain relief. There is nothing less scientific than to dispute the evidence of our own eyes.  Wrong! The video to which you refer showed a patient receiving both acupuncture and anesthetics. Don't believe me?  Errata Sorry the full quote was concious and talking to his surgeons so I figured no anesthetics was involved thanks for this.  See BBC comment below.

As regards disputing the value of spiritual healing that seems a rather futile position if that truely is Mr Colquhouns position. One has only to attend a local spiritual church congregation if other churches are uninspiring to see spiritual healing in real and convincing action. Personally I dont favour spiritualism as it can lead to mental imbalance and perhaps infertility for those who receive spiritual gifts. Celibacy is a routine vow for those on a spiritual path and evidently many think it a price worth paying in personal terms.

I agree an individual who takes a 10 hour indian head massage course and then sets out on a path of spiritual healing for a cash consideration deserves Mr Colquhoun's questioning and the public's. However the public's good sense can be relied upon to spot a phoney without too much official zeal. Spiritual matters tend to require a lifetime of study and are best left to those who have done that from a sense of vocation - incidentially with an accompanying vow of poverty!!

Also I think we need to regard all legislation as 'passing'. The english would not give up their hunting dogs and indeed were prepared to storm parliament in 2004 to show that. Nor will they be prepared to give up their traditional herbal medicine. The public see the value of professional advice in this area and it is their legal right to do so. One must have sympathy with the principles on which the CNHC was founded to ensure a profession which can maintain public confidence thrives and tricksters do not.

The public have every right to maintain their wellness through complimentary medicine and government has a duty to ensure as best there can be there is a self regulating profession to provide it and to listen to that profession. If Mr Colquhoun can contribute to that then that is a good thing. Unprofessional conduct rightly deserves expose by public advertisement, scorn and financial penalty. Any profession needs its regulatory zealots as well as to celebrate its practicioner stars.

Where professionals are committed to professional standards, the client-practicioner relationship of putting the client ahead of self, are willing to submit to a rigourous course of study and independant examination and then join a professional body, obtain and keep the necessary confidence of insurers, and contribute to the art and science of their profession and maintain competance through CPD then that is only to be encouraged!

best wishes


I received this email below today. Thankyou. It is an interesting example of the attacks made on CAM.  So lets look at them.

Colquhoun and the CNHC

(Complementary and Natural Health Care Council)

What is the CNHC …and why does it exist?


Nutritional therapy self-styled ‘nutritionists’ making untrue claims about diet in order to sell you unnecessary supplements.

Reiki: tea and sympathy, accompanied by arm-waving.

Shiatsu uh? It seems the teacher is already committed to placebo medicine.

[All the above quotes – and many more – stated by David Colquhoun, CNHC Panel member]


1: Colquhoun and CNHC

2: More statements from Colquhoun

3: Want some more!!!

4: What to do

1. Colquhoun and CNHC

Colquhoun is a man who has steadfastly attacked, denigrated and taken all steps he can to undermine those involved in natural health. Yet Colquhoun is now (and has been for more than a year) a member of the CNHC’s Conduct and Competence Committee.

The role of CNHC is to regulate the professions of their members. But what is the rational behind allowing an avowed critic of natural medicine onto the Conduct and Competence Committee. Isn’t this like asking racist to be objective about the circumstances of racist crime?

Would you, as a practitioner having to answer to a complaint, be happy to have one of the panel members think your profession is “bollocks” or that everything you practice is fraudulent from the start?

Latest moves from the government now aim at putting all Herbal Practitioners under the authority of CNHC.

Do you want your personal and confidential data, and that of your patient/client in the hands of Colquhoun? What might happen to it?

Certainly every practitioner has to be responsible for their actions and practice but since when has it been standard practice to weigh the scales against you rather than be assessed by a panel of independent peers?

2. More statements by Colquhoun – nonsense, untrue, unnecessary, rectal obsession, mystic barmpot, fraud, theatrical placebo

In his “Patients’ guide to Magic medicine”

Colquhoun summarizes many of the CNHC members’ professional activities (and other professions too) as follows:

* Reflexology: plain old foot massage, overlaid with utter nonsense about non-existent connections between your feet and your thyroid gland.

* Nutritional therapy: self-styled ‘nutritionists’ making untrue claims about diet in order to sell you unnecessary supplements.

* Spiritual healing: tea and sympathy, accompanied by arm-waving.

* Reiki: ditto.

* Angelic Reiki. The same but with added “Angels, Ascended Masters and Galactic Healers”. Excellent for advanced fantasists.

* Colonic irrigation: a rectal obsession that fails to rid you of toxins which you didn’t have in the first place.

* Anthroposophical medicine: followers of the mystic barmpot, Rudolf Steiner, for whom nothing whatsoever seems to strain credulity

* Alternative diagnosis: kinesiology, iridology, vega test etc, various forms of fraud, designed to sell you cures that don’t work for problems you haven’t got.

* Homeopathy: giving patients medicines that contain no medicine whatsoever.

* Herbal medicine: giving patients an unknown dose of an ill-defined drug, of unknown effectiveness and unknown safety.

* Acupuncture: a rather theatrical placebo, with no real therapeutic benefit in most if not all cases.

So what kind of organisation is CNHC and why have they put him on to their Conduct and Competence panel? Being a CNHC member seems to be like inflicting pain on yourself.

CNHC also received funding from the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health (FIH). Yet Colquhoun regularly lambasts the FIH and Prince Charles himself categorizing him as a “champion of endarkenment” and calling the FIH the “Foundation Fellows of the Prince of Wales Foundation for Magic Medicine, an organisation that is at the forefront of spreading medical misinformation.”

Of course, no one expects that because an organisation provides funding it should be exempt from criticism – but surely, if you are working for an organisation whose purpose is to represent standards in a certain field, why would you have someone on your management team who fires out carping criticism at the supporting organisation, its practitioners and its practices – unless perhaps, it is your purpose to spread discord and cut the funding.

No wonder the CNHC has problems. Their business plan (contingent on funding) was initially to have more than 10,000 enrolled members. This has been revised down to 2,000 and by all counts they have not even made this. Not surprising if the practitioners whom you represent don’t have any trust in the organisation that is supposed to represent the standards of your profession.

3. Want some more!!! – fantasists, wrong and dangerous, largely quackery, lies, mumbo-jumbo, made-up fantasies, placebo medicine

On nutritional therapy

It is interesting to compare the high standards of the Nutrition Society with the quite different standards of BANT (the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy). They bill themselves as the “Professional Body for Nutritional Therapists”. Nutritional therapists are those fantasists who believe you can cure any ill by buying some supplement pills.

[On quotes taken from Nutritional Therapy text] That must be about as close as you can get to claiming you can prevent cancer by taking vitamin pills. It is wrong and it is dangerous,

Sigh. What century are we living in?

Everyone is for good nutrition of course, but ‘nutritional medicine’, or ‘nutritional therapy’ pretends to be able to cure all sorts of diseases by changes in diet or by buying expensive nutritional supplement pills. It has no perceptible relationship to the very important subjects of ‘nutrition’ or ‘dietetics’. Nutritional therapy is very firmly part of alternative medicine, in other words it is largely quackery. If you don’t believe that, read on.

On Reflexology

As usual, not many seemed to care very much about the secondary consequences of employing a ‘reflexologist’, namely that some poor kid has to memorise a bunch of lies to get the piece of paper demanded by HR (and the taxpayer has to fund it).

What is the evidence about ’spiritual healing’ ? Very little it seems.

No doubt, mumbo-jumbo can make some people feel better, and to that extent it is justified. But it can and should done be honestly (for example, foot massage is fine, ‘reflexology’ isn’t). Lies to patients should be minimised and universities should not be tempted to hand out certificates in mumbo jumbo.

Michael McIntyre has the first of several long speeches, advocating more research. There was an advertisement for his web site "promotes best practice" (allegedly). He talks quite seriously about "reflexology" and so on, as though it were real subject (it isn’t; its "principles" are made-up fantasies).

Much of what they do at the Christie is straightforward massage, but they also promote the nonsensical principles of “reflexology” and acupuncture.

The hilarious Radio 4 programme, The News Quiz had a good joke. Jeremy Hardy was asked “which patients are hoping for a more robust constitution?”. This referred to the £1m PR exercise mounted by the NHS to launch the NHS constitution. Hardy said that in the week when Barack Obama was inaugurated, and “the word constitution have a whole different sort of gravita in a week like that.”

“I think the constitution should open with the words ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident REFLEXOLOGY IS *********”
On Shiatsu

Shiatsu uh? It seems the teacher is already committed to placebo medicine.

Essentia here..................................
More useful links
The CAM world is pretty straitlaced and montonous.  If like me you are wondering where all the heat on individual chiropractors in the UK has suddenly came from this is a useful link and worth reproducing in full below. 

"Chiropractors have been censured by the advertising watchdog for making claims about conditions ranging from arthritis to learning difficulties.
As the British Chiropractic Association's battle with Simon Singh continues to work its way through the legal system, chiropractors are counting the financial costs of a major backlash resulting from a libel action that has left the Lord Chief Justice "baffled". What was originally a dispute between the BCA and one science writer over free speech has become a brutally effective campaign to reform an entire industry.

A staggering one in four chiropractors in Britain are now under investigation for allegedly making misleading claims in advertisements, according to figures from the General Chiropractic Council.
The council, which is responsible for regulating the profession and has 2,400 chiropractors on its books, informs me that it has had to recruit six new members of staff to deal with a fifteenfold increase in complaints against its members – from 40 a year to 600. While it declined to comment directly on the costs inflicted by the reaction to the BCA's actions, it is clear that a six-figure sum will be involved for the extra staffing costs alone, to which will have to be added the considerable costs of any misconduct hearings.
The complaints all stem from a regulatory quirk exposed by blogger Alan Henness, who noticed that the council's rules demand that chiropractors do not make claims that conflict with past rulings by the Advertising Standards Authority. The advertising watchdog had previously criticised a number of chiropractors for making claims that their procedures can treat a variety of conditions, ranging from learning difficulties to arthritis.
The policy was exploited by numerous campaigners, who collectively worked their way through the BCA's membership list, Googling each member, and cross-referencing any claims on their website against previous rulings by the advertising watchdog. In a matter of weeks, complaints against more than 600 chiropractors had been lodged.
To the likely embarrassment of the BCA, those being investigated include its own officers.
While professional associations are remaining silent on the issue, at least in public, leaked e-mails reveal the scale of the panic the campaign has caused within the industry. Last June, the McTimoney Chiropractic Association issued an extraordinary plea to its 800 members, responding to, "what we consider to be a witch hunt against chiropractors":
"If you have a website, take it down NOW.
"REMOVE all the blue MCA [McTimoney Chiropractic Association] patient information leaflets, or any patient information leaflets of your own that state you treat whiplash, colic or other childhood problems in your clinic or at any other site where they might be displayed with your contact details on them. DO NOT USE them until further notice."
Privately, a number of chiropractors have expressed unhappiness at the way the BCA, General Chiropractic Council and other professional associations have carried themselves over the past year, and lay the blame for the crisis firmly at their doors. In communications with me they have said the organisations' attempts to "medicalise" a form of alternative medicine have backfired. One remarked: "I am sure when the dust settles the BCA will lose a lot of members [...] Suing Simon was worse than any Streisand effect and chiropractors know it and can do nothing about it."
Further criticism has been focused on the BCA's presentation of supporting data, in particular its claim that a "plethora" of evidence backs the effectiveness of chiropractic in treating various childhood illnesses. Last year, facing demands that the BCA engage in scientific debate over its position, the association released its "plethora" to the public.
The statement, supported by just 29 citations, was ripped apart by bloggers within 24 hours of publication, before being subjected to a further shredding in the British Medical Journal. It emerged that 10 of the papers cited had nothing to do with chiropractic treatment, and several weren't even studies. The remainder consisted of a small collection of poor-quality trials.
More seriously, the BCA misled the public with a misrepresentation of one paper, a Cochrane review looking at the effectiveness of various treatments for bed-wetting, claiming that the authors had simply concluded that, "there was weak evidence to support the use of [chiropractic]."
In fact the quote in full reads as follows:
"There was weak evidence to support the use of hypnosis, psychotherapy, acupuncture and chiropractic but it was provided in each case by single small trials, some of dubious methodological rigour."
Now even the General Chiropractic Council has disowned the claims of the BCA – the same claims that lie at the centre of its libel action against Simon Singh.
In a new report, it has attempted to clarify the assertions that chiropractors can and cannot make, backed up by a systematic review of the evidence. Notably, the report concludes that the evidence does not support claims that chiropractic treatment is effective for childhood colic, bed-wetting, ear infections or asthma, the very claims that Singh was sued for describing as "bogus".
Whatever the eventual outcome of the BCA's legal action against Singh – and I would urge you to support science writers like Simon by signing the online petition for libel reform – one thing is clear. In pursuing a popular writer through the courts, it has inflicted a huge financial burden not just on its own coffers, but on those of the entire industry.
It is a lesson that other professional associations would do well to learn from in the future."

Yes point taken! Excuse the levity but the parties should have more backbone and campaigners should lay off now their point has been made and hopefully taken.
I know hard working chiropractors will be appalled.  The best practicioners are doing such good things for example for crash trauma and blast trauma invalids.  Yes one or two individuals may be getting exceptional results but there could be all sorts of reasons for that and anything which cannot be replicated by lesser individuals should not be regarded as 'proven' and advertised as such.  Out of this some thing good will come. 

I for one hope the libel action will be dropped as soon as reason reasserts itself.  There is a difference between ideology and legal evidence which the law mostly brings home in a devastating way to libel litigants who have lost sight of this.  I observe that committees can be naively enthused about litigation and act in a way an individual would not.. (there is a good deal of £400 per hour 'sucess' fee driven law these days - what used to be called 'no foal no fee - which can sucker people into destructive litigation')
Ah thank goodness they already did on 15th April.  No wonder Simon's smiling.


Monday, 17 May 2010

What is MRSA?

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans. It may also be called multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or oxacillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (ORSA).

MRSA is, by definition, any strain of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria that has developed resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics, which include the penicillins (methicillin, dicloxacillin, nafcillin, oxacillin, etc.) and the cephalosporins.

MRSA is especially troublesome in hospitals, where patients with open wounds, invasive devices and weakened immune systems are at greater risk of infection than the general public.

This news item caught my eye

The number of children hospitalized with dangerous drug-resistant staph infections surged 10-fold in recent years, a study found.

Disease incidence increased from 2 cases to 21 cases per 1,000 hospital admissions from 1999 to 2008. Most infections were caught in the community, not in the hospital.

The study involved methicillin-resistant staph infections, called MRSA. These used to occur mostly in hospitals and nursing homes but they are increasingly showing up in other settings in children and adults. Recent evidence suggests hospital-acquired MRSA cases may be declining while community-acquired cases are becoming more common.

The results are "a good example of how something that is not unexpected remains alarming," said Dr. Buddy Creech, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University. He was not involved in the study.

The study involved 25 children's hospitals; the 10-fold increase in hospitalizations likely occurred nationwide, said Dr. Jason Newland, the lead author and an infectious disease physician at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Almost 30,000 children were hospitalized with MRSA infections at the hospitals studied during the 10-year period. Most had skin or muscle infections, and 374 youngsters with MRSA died. While Newland said it isn't clear if MRSA caused those deaths, it can be deadly and is blamed for more than 18,000 deaths in children and adults nationwide each year.

The study didn't examine whether deaths or the severity of infections increased.

The results were published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

MRSA often begins as a pimple or boil on the skin. It can also spread to other parts of the body, including the bones or lungs, where it can cause pneumonia.

The study also found a coinciding increase in use of clindamycin, an antibiotic that comes in easy-to-use pills and liquid, and smaller increases for two other antibiotics. Another drug effective against MRSA, vancomycin, is only available intravenously and its use decreased during the study.

Newland said the increasing use of clindamycin is concerning because in some regions MRSA is already becoming resistant to the drug. Doctors need to use the antibiotic judiciously, he said.

Dr. Kenneth Alexander, the University of Chicago's pediatric infectious disease chief, said he agrees.

"Staph are incredibly cagey, and will ultimately find their way around any antibiotic in use," he said.

Research is needed to find other drugs that will work against MRSA, he said.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Natural perfumes in Jojoba oil

I find knowledge of perfume oils an excellent way of teaching aromatherapy chemistry as the students mind is so focussed on the end product how to get there becomes interesting and memorable!

Find out more

here is a useful resourceThe Perfumers Workbook free download
go to your C: drive and create a new folder C:workbook, the download then proceeds smoothly

An excellent start is to buy the precious oils as 5% or 25% ready mixed blends of 10ml size in Jojoba oil.


The following sample mixtures to guide your first steps into natural perfume making are all based on 0.33 fl oz or 10ml of jojoba. The amounts given are in drops.

15 cedarwood5 sandalwood5 rosewood or equivalent2 lemongrass

4 neroli4 rose4 rosewood or equivalent4 cedarwood

SWEET, slightly aphrodisiac
4 jasmine4 ylang8 rosewood or equivalent1 vanilla4 neroli

REFRESHING, not aphrodisiac
10 bergamot5 melissa10 pettigrain5 verbena

HEAVY, exotic, aphrodisiac
10 patchouli8 frankincense6 ylang4 jasmine

STRONG manly, aphrodisiac15 sandalwood5 carrot seed3 ylang1 clove

10 carrot seed10 patchouli5 ylang5 cypress

Ref: Keller Aromatherapy Handbook pages 172-173


Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Revision Time - Politics and regulations

Now lets revise the politics and regulations that affect aromatherapy.

What is politics about?  Here is the Sp staff's only political post of 2010. Aromatherapy fearlessly enters the area of sex and religion but politics only rarely!!  I am concious though that our blog is read in 40 countries around the world so here are a few simple words of wisdom on todays news that the UK has a new Conservative prime minister and some 'safe' words about politics of the last century.

In a Conservative and Liberal Coalition the views of the majority of the UK electorate are represented. The Liberals may only have 51 MPs but 6.5million votes were cast for that party nationally. In our Leicestershire and Northamptonshire constituencies the Coalition commands much of the vote.

I was lucky to have the opportunity to serve as a local Conservative Party boss for 4 years as a constituency area chairman.  Our party had 16 seats out of 34 on the local Council and when my term ended four years later we had 30. In 2002/3 the local papers were good enough to publish fourteen letters from me opposing the case put for the second Gulf War. In 2004 I was on the front line and received a policemans baton over the head though I wore a neutral 'stewards' tabard keeping the two sides apart in a violent political demonstration before Parliament. You can be Liberal and a Conservative too and a bit of an activist.

The Conservative Party which is overwhelmingly English has in fact been in constant coalition only losing power when it forgot that simple fact and lost representation in Scotland and Wales, a position the new Coalition corrects. The Conservatives most successful leader in the democratic era was in fact a Unionist MP called Stanley Baldwin who was four times prime minister and retired in Churchill's words loaded with honours and with the praise of a grateful nation ringing in his ears.  The anger at defeat in France and terrible aerial bombing caused Baldwin to be a scapegoat for many so he is not much talked about today.  As Churchill knew the RAF did not spring fully armed from nothing and much was owed to his predecessors programmes, foresight and character in attracting capable individuals to positions of responsibility.

A politician needs to be able to see both sides of a question but still choose to do the right thing.  Asked to act as a reference for a Conservative candidate, my son's school headmaster, I readily agreed and lent him a book of Baldwin's speeches which continue to define both Englishness and the world view which prevails among much of the world and certainly prevailed in the testing time of the 1940s. It is a view that owes much to ancient Greece.  The Greeks doubted whether truthful communication and therefore democracy was possible in an assembly of more than 4000 voters. Now much of the world meets in democratic debate in which a contrary view is tolerated and autocracy is rare.

What are your political views for example on recycling and are you prepared to have those views questioned and obey the rules?  In England they say you are free to do as you like as long as you do as you told!

All the best for the new era.

Now to the regulations you need to know.
Can I call my oil Organic?  An email

Hi ***

SP sont membres de l'Association des sols et sous réserve de sa vérification afin que nos étiquettes peuvent légitimement décrire nos huiles biologiques. Je suis d'accord la plupart des entreprises décrivent leurs huiles organiques, quand ils ne sont pas. Ils ne peuvent décrire leurs huiles biologiques s'ils sont membres de la Soil Association. En fait, nous sont si transparentes que nous disons à nos clients le lieu de beaucoup de nos huiles proviennent de la Biolandes et les coopératives Golgemma en France. Nous n'utilisons pas le label bio de facturer un prix élevé. Notre politique de prix est fixé par rapport à nos coûts afin de nombreuses huiles organiques notre prix est inférieur à ce responsable d'autres sociétés pour les huiles conventionnelles.

Sp are members of the Soil Association and subject to its audit so our labels may legitimately describe our oils as organic.  I agree most companies decribe their oils as organic when they are not.  They can only describe their oils as organic if they are members of the Soil Association.  In fact we are so transparent we tell our customers the place many of our bulk oils come from the Biolandes and Golgemma cooperatives in France.  Nor do we use the organic label to charge a high price.  Our pricing policy is set in relation to our costs so for many organic oils our price is below what other companies charge for conventional oils.

hahahahaha and I found an English site that does the ET organic cons by the question I ask myself is "is that we should not put our own label by adding the name of the supplier in which case
we can mark "organic" label Live "????

hahahahaha et j'ai trouvé un site anglais qui ne fait que les he bio par contre la question que je me pose c'est "est ce que l'on ne devrait pas mettre notre propre etiquette en ajoutant le nom du fournisseur dans quel cas on pourra marquer"bio" direct sur l'étiquette"????

Hi, thankyou for your enquiry
no problem its ok to write in french
the site is, the password is***
assuring you of the best of our attention at all times


Saturday, 8 May 2010

Audiovisual aids

Essential oils, with our underutilised sense of touch and smell are important ways of reconnecting with nature. There are many excellent resources for the audio visual senses. This is probably the closest fit I have seen to our message at Sp. Great cities have sprung up across the globe. Urban living with all its advantages can cut us off from the messages of nature. We experience stress to a greater or lesser degree.
Here is an hourlong film for those who feel cut off from the messages of nature and stressed.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Revision Time - The essential oils

Match the plant family with the oils

Lamiaceae or Rutaceae?

Clary Sage

Bitter orange
Sweet orange

Now harder

Tea Tree
Black pepper
Ylang Ylang

Graminae (Poaceae)

recount the latin names of the essential oils listed

Essential oil chemistry


Physical, chemical and therapeutic properties


Physical, chemical and therapeutic properties

Physical, chemical and therapeutic properties
Oxygenated compounds - hydrocarbon or terpene with functional group alcohol, ketone or aldehyde
eg Monoterpenol, sesquiterpenol, diterpenol
monoterpenol therapeutic properties
phenolic ether
aldehydes therapeutic properties
esters therapeutic properties
lactones, coumarins, furocoumarins

Blending and using essential oils - Rosemary Caddy

The Caddy Website

Free software demonstration download

The various study aids illustrated can be purchased through the Caddy website.

Aromatherapy massage

Anatomy & Physiology - Body systems

Clinical aromatherapy


Aromatherapy for pregnancy and childbirth, baby massage

Aromatherapy and massage for people with learning difficulties

Aromatherapy in Hospices

How to succeed as a therapist

Promoting your expertise

Once qualified there are many ways you can promote yourself inexpensively.  For example

Building your own simple website

An example

- your local pharmacy may well be happy to host a visiting aromatherapist

Find out more

- your local salon may offer aromatherapy massage, aromatherapy massage is becoming increasingly popular in salons compared to other massage therapies as it is more likely to be specified by women.

Find out more

- networking with other CAM practicioners and sharing experience

Find out more