Aromatherapy Massage is a popular form of natural healing work that involves using aromatic essential oils to promote health and well being. The essential oils are usually combined with the massage oil and applied to the skin during the massage. Also a therapist might add the oils to a oil diffuser, that allows the natural fragrance to dissipate throughout the room. Using both techniques, the client gets the double effect of breathing the fragrance as well as absorbing the oils through the skin.
Other ways to receive the benefits of aromatherapy would be adding some drops of oil to a warm bath. A small bowl of hot water could also be used as a steam for inhaling. A few drops could be added to a tissue and held close to your nose and breathed in. Essential oils can also be used in hot or cold compresses and soaks to treat muscle aches and pains (e.g., lavender and ginger) Because of their potency, essential oils are diluted in a carrier oil or lotion before being applied to the skin. Any vegetable oil or olive oil can be used. A popular oil for massage therapists is almond oil, because of its pleasant texture and scent. Standard dilutions of essential oils in carrier oils range from 2 to 10%
In aromatherapy massage, essential oils are individually selected for their medicinal properties.These properties can be both physical and psychological. Some essential oils have a relaxing effect, other a more uplifting and energizing effect.Some are anti- inflammatory, while others increase the circulation. Following is a list of the more common essential oils used in aromatherapy and their health benefits.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita). Relaxes and soothes the stomach muscles and gastrointestinal tract. Peppermint’s actions as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antimicrobial also make it an effective skin treatment, and useful in fighting cold and flu symptoms.
Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobilis). An anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Useful in treating otitis media (earache), skin conditions, menstrual pains, and depression.
Lavender (Lavandula officinalis). A popular aromatherapy oil which mixes well with most essential oils, lavender has a wide range of medicinal and cosmetic applications, including treatment of insect bites, burns, respiratory infections, intestinal discomfort, nausea, migraine, insomnia, depression, and stress.
Clary sage (Salvia sclarea). This natural astringent is not only used to treat oily hair and skin, but is also said to be useful in regulating the menstrual cycle, improving mood, and controlling high blood pressure. Clary sage should not be used by pregnant women.
Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). Has bactericidal, virucidal, fungicidal, and anti-inflammatory properties that make it a good choice for fighting infection. Recommended for treating sore throat and respiratory infections, vaginal and bladder infections, wounds, and a variety of skin conditions.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Stimulating essential oil used to treat muscular and rheumatic complaints, as well as low blood pressure, gastrointestinal problems, and headaches.
Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata). A sedative essential oil sometimes used to treat hypertension and tachycardia. It is also valuable in stressful situations in helping to deal with irritation, impatience or anxiety. It has a calming and nurturing effect on the heart. A sedative essential oil sometimes used to treat hypertension and tachycardia.
These are just a few of the many popular essential oils used in aromatherapy and massage. Combined with massage, aromatherapy provides still another dimension of emotional and physical healing to the treatment. A simple and subtle, yet profound addition to any massage therapy session.