What is Raindrop Therapy?
By Frances Fuller, BS, LMT, CHTP, Reiki Master
Relaxing…..…Nurturing……Rejuvenating….. Raindrop Therapy derives its name from the manner in which pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils are allowed to fall onto the spine from a height of fifteen to twenty centimetres. Like tiny droplets of rain, these powerful gifts from nature begin their amazing healing of the body, mind, and spirit, rapidly absorbing through the skin of the receiver.
The treatment begins with application of essential oils to the feet, utilizing the VitaFlex massage technique which originated in ancient Tibet and was resurrected by Stanley Burroughs of the USA in the 1940’s. As the client sinks into a state of complete relaxation, a specific sequence of essential oils is applied, raindrop style, followed by particular massage techniques which enhance both the therapeutic effect and the stress relief nature of the treatment. After all of the oils have been dispensed, a warm compress assists in directing the oils to an even deeper level.
The origins of Raindrop Therapy addressed spinal misalignments and anything “chronic”. We have certainly become a species beset by chronic ailments, including everything from Epstein Barr to lupus, to migraine headaches, to anxiety attacks. The Lakota Indians had a theory that “chronic” discomforts are a result of viruses or bacteria that lie dormant along the spine. Furthermore, they believed that unless the spine was treated, flare-ups would not only persist, but would become more and more frequent. In the past few years there have been several medical studies completed which confirm this theory.
Although the word, “chronic”, was probably not in the Native American dictionary, the concept certainly was present. For many centuries Lakota Indians have been natural healers, and among their traditions is a procedure taught by Wallace Black Elk to D. Gary Young, a Naturopath and Aroma therapist in the USA, who later expanded the technique, adding pure therapeutic-grade essential oils and giving it the name, “Raindrop Therapy”.
Can emotionally-based problems such as depression and anxiety be lodged in the spine? Although emotional challenges are not technically a result of viruses or bacteria, they can result from energy imbalances and from malfunctioning electrical circuitry in the body, which are just as toxic as measurable microbes. In fact, they can make the system far more vulnerable to bacteria and viruses. The spine is a prime conductor of anything toxic, whether it is viral, energetic, electrical, or all of the above.
The entire electrical balance of the body is addressed with Raindrop Therapy, although there is special focus upon the spine, the musculature of the back, and the feet. It is a powerful tool for restoring balance and harmony in the body on all levels and can easily be modified to address the specific needs of each individual client through the choice of essential oils selected. If the focus is immune system support, the essential oils utilized in the original treatment designed in the 1980’s produce amazing benefits. Other health issues may be addressed as well, such as digestion, circulation, mental acuity, muscle or joint aches and pains……….or simply pure relaxation and relief from mental or emotional stress.
“Raindrop” is a treatment technique combining the benefits of massage, energy work, and aromatherapy. It is currently finding popularity in some of the USA’s highly rated hotels and spas, including The Four Seasons Hotel in New York City, the Tropicana in Las Vegas, and Wyndham’s Golden Door Spa in Arizona. Once clients experience the treatment, they want it again. Client feedback ranges from the “blissfully relaxed” to staunch claims of flu reversal, spine and back relief, symptom release, and emotional balance. One day-spa owner described the experience as “having a massage, pedicure, and facial all at once”.
The use of essential oils “neat”, or undiluted, is consistent which the French Model of Aromatherapy, which is the oldest and most widely practiced application in the world today. It is important to note, however, that the essential oils must be completely pure in order to avoid skin irritation. Any solvents which, unfortunately, are commonly used to increase the volume of the oils while lowering production costs, are highly caustic to the skin as well as toxic when absorbed into the body.
The effectiveness of this treatment also depends greatly upon quality of the essential oils used. In order to derive the full complement of chemical constituents that each plant is capable of delivering, the plants must be carefully grown, organically. They must then be carefully distilled within hours of harvesting at a very low temperature and pressure, which often takes many long hours. When the distillation process is hastened by use of higher than optimum temperatures, the therapeutic value of the fragile oils is diminished. The aroma is retained, but the effect often is not.
For example, D. Gary Young states in his book, Essential Oils Integrative Medical Guide, that cypress requires 24 hours of distillation at 130-degrees Centigrade and only 5 pounds of pressure to extract most of the therapeutically-active constituents. If distillation time is cut by only two hours, eighteen to twenty constituents will be missing from the resulting oil. In addition, synthetic oils are often added to increase the volume at a small fraction of the price for pure therapeutic-grade oils.
For instance, synthetic lavender oil has only 8-10 chemical constituents compared with pure therapeutic-grade lavendula agustifolia which has hundreds of chemical constituents. The effect that an essential oil has depends upon its ability to offer the body whatever it needs to achieve homeostasis – or balance. When the body is offered a complex essential oil with hundreds of chemical constituents, it is like offering it a giant smorgasbord. The body is then able to select the things which it needs to restore balance, and the remaining parts are eliminated from the body within hours. Obviously, a synthetic oil with only a few chemical constituents is quite limited in its effect although the aroma may be similar.