Aromatherapy course to be first in series of natural health care classes to be offered by Community Ed over course of 2002 year.
Residents of Storm Lake will soon be learning how to apply various exotic oils to their skin and inhale vapors from worldwide fragrances as part of a new aromatherapy course to be offered by the Storm Lake Community Education program next month.
The course, which will cost $7 for people to enroll in, will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 16 from 6:30 to 7:30 at the Storm Lake Middle School media center.
The class is scheduled to be the first in a series of natural health courses this year, and Community Education representative Pat Fisher said the organization is looking forward to the aromatherapy class.
"We've offered an aromatherapy class before, but we've never included it in such a series like this, so we're hoping it can get a good turnout," Fisher said. "We think this will be a good first class that could help people learn about these natural health courses and learn what they can do for them healthwise."
While Community Education sponsors many activities such as basketball, volleyball and soccer, Fisher said one reason the group decided to offer the class was in response to a number of people wishing to learn about and participate in healthy activities other than just athletics.
"We offer a variety of adult enrichment classes, and we've heard from several people who are interested in this subject," Fisher said. "We're also going to offer classes such as reflexology later in the year, but we thought aromatherapy might be a little more well-known than some of the other subjects, so that is why we started with this one."
Aromatherapy, which has been used as an alternative health care technique for centuries, is the art and science of using oils extracted from aromatic plants to enhance the health of those undergoing the alternative therapy.
By using a variety of different herbs, supplements, oils, cosmetics and perfumes, aromatherapy is designed to help stimulate positive memories and help the mind relax.
There are several different ways for aromatherapy to be applied, but one of the most common is to use essential oils, which are extracted from flowers, herbs, spices and fibers, with a massage.
The essential oils need to be diluted with an odorless carrier oil such as grapeseed, sweet almond or peach kernel before applying to the skin.
Another common technique is using oils in baths, which some aromatherapists say may be one of the best ways to experience the therapeutic effects of the different oils and fragrances.
Participants experiencing this aromatherapy should add six to 10 drops of essential oils to the top of a tub full of water, and then inhale the vapors which come from the combination of oil and water.
A third common practice is inhalation. Drops of oils can be placed into a bowl of steaming water, and the person can then inhale the vapors from the oils in the steaming water.
Experts recommend taking precautions before beginning any aromatherapy, and those who are pregnant, epileptic or have high blood pressure should consult a physician beforehand.
People wishing to register or to offer ideas for the natural health care series are encouraged to call Priscilla Robinson at the Community Education office at 732-5711.