The Women’s Activity Centre in Halifax offers a programme of aromatherapy, massage and sauna sessions to older South East Asian women with mental health issues.
Aromatherapy is a natural treatment where oils are absorbed through the skin, enabling the body to relax, re-energise and rebalance. The heat of a sauna improves circulation and stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemical. The project creates opportunities for women to try out these activities and use them as a tool to help alleviate stress and anxiety. Women are also encouraged to use aromatherapy at home as a regular self-help treatment to support their own health and wellbeing.
The project aims to:
• Provide a safe and relaxing space where older Asian women can enjoy and benefit from aromatherapy and saunas. This will contribute to reducing social isolation by encouraging a warm and non-judgemental atmosphere where attendees can unwind and feel accepted
• Encourage attendees to share their experiences and support each other within the group. The Women’s Activity Centre recognises that mental health issues are a taboo subject within the BME community and creative activities such as aromatherapy can be a positive method to break down barriers and increase discussion and awareness
• Develop culturally appropriate methods for delivering aromatherapy and saunas e.g focusing on hands/head/foot massage, using a female aromatherapist
• Educate and develop attendees knowledge of the use of aromatherapy and saunas as creative activities which can help them reduce stress and will have a positive impact on their mental wellbeing
• Empower and build confidence in attendees through building up their skills in using aromatherapy and in self-managing their mental health