Ask Chuck: Aromatic herbs help in healing

By Charles Colson
Sept. 6, 2012 at 4:06 a.m.
Updated Sept. 10, 2012 at 4:10 a.m.

I understand that your massage therapy training included education in aromatic herbs and their purposes for healing, etc. Is this true and do they actually aid us in our bodies needs?

Most definitely. This course of education was quite knowledgeable and phenomenal. During my massage training in Austin, we took time out for field trips to visit the Texas Wild Flower Seed and Herb Farm in Fredericksburg. Little did we know of the full impact the aromatic herbs had on people's emotional and circulatory stability. It was one of the most fascinating courses to attain. We saw hands-on proof of their benefits and educational reasoning of purposes. If you ever have the time, I think a trip to this farm in Texas would astonish people of most any age.

With the assistance of a connoisseur of herbs and a dear friend, Kathy Holbert, I would like to share 12 most favorite aromatic herbs, which are 100 percent totally natural. Many massage therapists use these today in their practices.

The following herbs can be used in singular forms or mixed to your content: Cinnamon - used as an antispasmatic; chamamile, relaxant; lavender, relieves headaches; lemongrass, relieves pain; peppermint, also relieves pain; rosemary, relieves headaches; spearmint, relaxant; saw palmetto berry, rejuvenator; valerian root, antispasmatic; white willow, reduces aches and pains; yarrow, promotes healing; yellow dock root, aids in circulation. Wow, is this interesting, exciting or boring? At any rate, they do actually work and create many reasons for use. As a quick thought, since these herbs are not for internal use, I think it is amazing how spearmint and peppermint gum seems to relax and soothe the gums around our teeth. Someone became quite wise many years ago, don't you agree? Several of these herbs and more can be found online, which definitely will improve your education where you, too, can become a connoisseur.

I have heard that massage therapists are trained in acupressure techniques. Is this for everyone?

Yes, depending on the circumstance and the type of pain. For example, a recent study in the journal Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found acupressure can reduce chronic neck pain for many people. Neck pain is a common problem for millions of Americans each year. According to the National Osteopathic Association, close to 65 percent of Americans ages 18-34 have experienced chronic neck pain during the past year. I know what you are thinking, I am over 34 and how can I get registered so I can complain too. Please, do me and yourself a favor and make sure that your therapist is professional and well-trained in these techniques. I have personally witnessed a lady who had acupressure performed with an unprofessional, so-called therapist, and to this day I don't know if she ever recovered from a serious illness it left her with. Always be cautious and ask a lot of questions.

Since you all study the entire human body, is it really true that food flavors can effect our mood stability?

Would you believe, extremely probable? Ask yourself, could there be any scientific truth to the theory of "comfort food" and how it makes us feel better? A study presented recently at the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society found that new evidence shows a possibility that some food flavors can have mood-enhancing effects on people. I guess this definitely puts grandma back into the picture. Perhaps this is why we all begin feeling better during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

That puts us all in a good mood, until we eat too much, right?

Charles Colson is a local hair stylist and registered massage therapist. You may email hair or massage questions to or call 361-575-5331.



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