BY Robert Ross

Mission Valley Health Center
5333 Mission Center Rd., Ste. 100
San Diego, CA 92108
(619) 637-8354


"Life holds the possibility for the Divine in all of us to shine through. Within this divine space, magic is ordinary and being alive is sacred and miraculous."

If there is a "High Priestess" in the world of Aromatherapy, Francoise, owner of "Arom'alchemy" in San Diego, must surely wear the crown.

Originally from France, Francoise established her business, which includes Aromatherapy, Reiki, Swedish Massage and Perelandra flower essences, in San Diego in 1996.

The foundation for Francoise's work is Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is the therapuetic use of essential oils extracted from the flowers, stems, leaves, roots or fruits of plants or trees. This concept is not new, the use of flowers and plants for their aromatic effects can be traced back five thousand years to the Egyptians.

I arrived for my session in the early afternoon, and was greeted by Franciose, who is petite, has a prominent French accent and exhibits a natural enthusiasm for her work. Today's session was to be an energy balancing treatment using Aromatherapy in combination with Music and Crystal therapy. The session took place on a standard massage table in Franciose's office which is located in the Mission Valley area of San Diego. Before starting, Franciose gave a brief history of essential oils and stressed the importance of customizing the treatments for each client.

Since the beginning of recorded history herbs and plants have been used for their healing effects, but it wasn't until 1651 that Nicholas Culpeper wrote a book entitled The English Physician, which contained detailed information on the medicinal properties of hundreds of herbs. In 1930 Aromatherapy came into its own when a French chemist named Rene M. Gattefosse coined the term "Aromatherapy" which he used as the title for his book on the subject.

Franciose is one of the few practitioners in San Diego that combines massage therapy with the use of essential oils. She's a graduate of Mueller College in San Diego and the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy in San Rafael.

After a brief kinesthetic exercise to determine the appropriate mixture of essential oils for my session, Franciose went about her work, turning on a music tape specifically designed for its meditational frequencies and employing a specific colored light to enhance the relaxing atmosphere. The fragrance of essential oils permeated the air and after a few minutes I fell into a deep relaxation.

According to Mark Kastner, in his book Alternative Healing, essential oils are extremely complex substances which can produce a wide variety of therapeutic benefits. Because of their molecular structure they can readily penetrate the skin. When inhaled, the olfactory lobe triggers a set of events which can influence the release of hormones and neurochemicals to produce a sense of well being.

The session with Franciose lasted about an hour and was followed by a brief discussion of Aromatherapy. Franciose believes that essential oils, when used properly, can have a profound effect on a client not only during the session but in the weeks following.

Franciose gave me two small vials of essential oils (an aromatherapy blend and one flower essence) that she had customized specifically for me and asked that I use them during the coming days. She also asked that I be particularly attentive to insights and unexpected events in the coming days, stating that many of her clients had reported both physical and emotional results after their sessions.

A few days after my session, a series of positive events unfolded in my personal life which ordinarily I would attributed to a string of good luck . . . or was it . . .

I was ready to schedule my second appointment with Francoise! For further information, or to make an appointment, call Francoise at "Arom'alchemy" (619) 637-8354

Copyright 1997 by Robert Ross, all rights reserved

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