Giving families space to relax with aromatherapy

1024 1024 Sarah Cann

Our in-person aromatherapy sessions are back!

Our aromatherapist, Priya Ganatra, has already visited children in Northwick Park Hospital, University College Hospital, and Great Ormond Street Hospital in recent weeks, to give both children and parents some well-deserved relaxation and head space.

For the children, Priya fully engages them in the session by asking them to guess the plant, fruit, or tree that the essential oil comes from, and showing them how to make their own aroma sticks.

For parents and carers, they are treated to a bespoke session with specially chosen oils and relaxation techniques. Parents often tell us that caring for their sick child in hospital has a huge impact, and they find they often cannot speak openly about it because they want to remain strong for the family. Having this time to focus on themselves in a safe space allows them to talk about anything they choose and receive a therapeutic session just for them.

Priya, our aromatherapist, said: ‘By offering families a safe space to engage in therapeutic activities and conversations that are of a non-medical nature, I have seen the profound impact aromatherapy within a hospital environment has. Parents utilise this time to receive gentle massage with essential oils, combined with breathing techniques, I have seen how their body language changes as they begin to relax.  They have often reported that the blend of oils and the impact of touch, has made a real difference to their emotional well-being, and this is important when looking after their critically ill child. Introducing children and young people to aromatherapy has been engaging, fun and given them a break from what they are going through. Whether we are making aroma sticks or receiving massages, their room is left filled with uplifting aromas that continue to spread smiles!”      

We first started working with Priya in February 2020, when we did our first parent pamper day at Great Ormond Street Hospital. While the pandemic halted these events, we were able to start doing virtual aromatherapy sessions, with pre-delivered materials at University College Hospital. Even over Zoom, parents found that being able to take part in mindfulness and breathing exercises was a welcome respite.

Now that we’re able to be back in hospitals Priya is doing parent aromatherapy days twice a month, alongside continuing to do virtual sessions, and bespoke sessions for individual families.

If you’re interested in getting involved in Priya’s sessions, you can email the Spread a Smile team at to book an aromatherapy session for you or your child in hospital.