Melissa Coffey, a licensed massage therapist, wishes she understood the healing potential of essential oils earlier in life.
Coffey, the daughter of two pharmacists, had an understanding of health, prevention and treatment that was largely rooted in Western medicine.
Her passion for massage however began after a car accident left her suffering from migraines. While Coffey had tried more traditional treatment to deal with her pain, massage therapy is what helped ease her migraine symptoms and led her to career as a massage therapist
“Western medicine not working for me put me on this path,” said Coffey.
As part of her massage therapy education and practice, Coffey was introduced to essential oils.
Coffey will be conducting a workshop at Abrams Claghorn Gallery this Friday, February 23rd to talk about the benefits of essential oils and how they can be integrated into a self-care regimen.
Essential oils are a highly concentrated form of the natural oil found in plants. As she explains it, “the oils protect plants from decay and disease and protects their immune systems.”
The practice of using essential oils goes back centuries, and today oils are used in holistic approaches to wellness to improve both physical and psychological health.
The most common therapeutic applications for this healing method are aromatherapy, where the oil is inhaled either from a bottled source or through an air diffuser. Through this method, the oils are thought to have an uplifting effect on the mind.
“Our seat of trauma is in the amygdala, the lizard brain,” said Coffey, who moved to the Bay Area two years ago from New York. “And our olfactory sense of smell is in the brain, so when you inhale the oils they get right in there.”
One of the key benefits of oils, says Coffey, is its rapid ability to calm individuals.
“We are constantly calibrating ourselves to what’s around us,” she said, “If we close our eyes, essential oils can calm us and when we’re in this state, we can process what’s around us. We can respond with thought and action, and not react.”
In addition to aromatherapy, oils can be applied topically and used as an antiseptic to possibly reduce infection or inflammation. In her workshop, Coffey will help workshop participants create their own roller balls for topical application.
Coffey believes the natural properties of essential oils are in part what make them an effective healing tool. She has witnessed how they work on her clients, especially in her massage practice.
“I’ve been using them and learning about them for over 20 years,” she said explaining that she has seen her fair share of products, “I worked in a lot of high-end spas in Manhattan so I was introduced to lots of products.”
“What I’ve found is that our bodies respond more to natural than synthetics,” Coffey concluded.
Coffey talks the talk and walks the walk.
Many mornings, upon waking up, she’ll take in the scent of an essential oil and pour it into a diffuser. On one particular morning she used wild orange, which is the oil of “prosperity and abundance”.
“I used it, and then that day got lots of calls for massage appointments,” she said.
The healing practitioner is eager to share her knowledge with others, as she believes self-care in this period of time could not be more important.
“In my workshop I’ll talk about how I came to use essential oils, and what I use them for,” she said, adding, “I’ll also talk about strategies for self-care. We’ll look at what individuals are doing which is important because self-care is very active. And we’ll talk about how we can make self-care easier and sustainable.”
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product referenced in this story is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Melissa Coffey will be facilitating an Essential Oils Workshop at the gallery on Friday, February 23rd from 5 – 6:30 pm
Interested individuals are encouraged to register at: www.A-Cgallery.com