• Louise

Avoiding Alcohol after Aromatherapy

With the rise of spa days and pamper parties many of my first time clients are surprised when I advise them that they must avoid alcohol after their treatment to ensure the best benefits as it is becoming widely accepted to mix treatments and a tipple or two.

To make the most of your treatment a good therapist will always give you comprehensive aftercare advice that will always include not to drink alcohol, avoid big heavy or very spicy meals and to drink plenty of water. If essential oils are used I always recommend not washing the residue oil off for at least 2 hours after treatment to get the maximum benefit.

Why does a therapist like me advise this if spas and salons don’t and actively encourage you to drink by putting together packages including Prosecco or champagne or even having a fully stocked bar onsite? Well I am part of your overall health plan and I will see you regularly every 4 – 6 weeks and not just for a one off so I care that you get the most of your treatment from me and that the benefits of relaxation and reduced muscle tension last as long as possible.

Massage boosts circulation, pushing the body’s lymph fluid which is full of toxins and waste around and both blood and lymph are made up of a lot of water so drinking plenty after a treatment is always advisable whereas alcohol is dehydrating and ideally you should shed lots of fluid after a treatment as it is your body flushing waste out.

Alcohol is actually a toxicant itself too so if I moved out lots of knots and muscle tension and you drink alcohol you are only giving your body more work to do by getting rid of that on top. Massage releases toxins from the muscles into the bloodstream, which can heighten the negative effects of alcohol for this very reason.

Aromatherapy treatments create a state of deep relaxation, lowers your blood pressure, reduces levels of stress hormones like cortisol and increases pleasurable hormones like dopamine and serotonin in the body. This is why sometimes you think it is a good idea to have alcohol because you are in a feel good state. Even though it seems like it gives you that extra boost of energy/feel good factor when you drink, in reality you are slowing down all the functions of the brain, and the body. That's why it is important not to mix treatments with alcohol because the effect can slow down the body's heart beat and breathing to dangerous levels.

Essentially the body sees alcohol as a poison so instead of storing it, the body tries to break it down with enzymes from the liver into a toxic substance known as acetaldehyde. Essential oils are also processed by the liver but used by the body first to do things like calm the central nervous system and decrease stress so it is a positive thing but giving the liver too much to do and overloading it is not good for our health.

As an aromatherapist I recommend my clients not receive a treatment from me less than 12 hours (preferably 24 hours) after consumption of alcohol. If you came to me intoxicated I would not treat you. As for after a treatment my recommendation is at least not the rest of that day and up to 24 hours if possible as the effects of massage can last easily from 12 to 24 hours.

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