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Aromatherapy added to massage has a healing and relaxing nature. The uniqueness of this type of therapy lies in the extraordinary properties of essential oils. It’s one of the most popular spa treatments due to its calming atmosphere and pleasant aromas. As we can read in Patrick Süskind’s famous novel Perfume, “He who ruled scent ruled the hearts of men”.

Aromatherapy massage therapies positively affect your mental and physical health. It happens through various relaxation techniques. It’s additionally beneficial due to the valuable components of essential oils. They have long been used during relaxing treatments at home and in professional spa centers. What kind of oils are they, and how can you benefit the most from aromatherapy and massage, two in one?

WHAT IS AROMATHERAPY MASSAGE?

The history of aromatherapy massage dates back to Ancient Egypt, Asia, and the Mediterranean area. Aromatherapy uses natural plant extracts, such as essential oils, in a variety of ways to heal both the body and mind. To practice aromatherapy a trained specialist requires in-depth knowledge of the plants and oils. During the treatment, you can enjoy essential oils. It’s possible both through aromatherapy massage techniques and by inhalation.

BENEFITS OF AROMATHERAPY MASSAGE

There are several therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy massage, both physical and psychological. The treatment increases blood flow and restores normal heart rhythm. It improves proper circulation and blood pressure. The massage benefits the work of the cardiovascular system, optimizing the supply of oxygen and nutrients. It eases tense muscles and brings pain relief.

Aromatherapy effects are calming and relaxing, they end both mental and physical fatigue. This type of therapy may help you restore your inner harmony. You can also easier regenerate your body after physical effort. Massage with aromatherapy boosts your energy levels and enhances skin vitality. It also improves the immune, muscular, and nervous systems.

WHAT ARE THE COMMON OILS USED IN AROMATHERAPY?

With such a variety of essential oils that you can choose from, it may be difficult to pick the one that would be best for you. One of the most important things is the selection of aromatherapy massage oils. It all depends on your needs. You may of course enjoy some smells more than others. Keep in mind though that each of the oils has its own specific properties.

Essential oils commonly used in an aromatherapy massage are:

  • Lavender
  • Tea tree
  • Eucalyptus
  • Rosemary
  • Chamomile
  • Bergamot
  • Rose
  • Geranium
  • Ginger
  • Ylang-ylang

These oils are diluted in neutral carrier oils like coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, or sweet almond oil.

WHICH ESSENTIAL OIL IS THE BEST FOR YOUR NEEDS?

Essential oils are helpful in the treatment of various ailments. Professional therapists should inform you about the oils’ specific properties. Many of them have a positive effect on the condition of your skin. They increase its elasticity and strength or reduce the visibility of cellulite. Apart from that, they also have many healing properties and health benefits of their own:

Essential oils Benefits
Sweet almond

Avocado

Coconut oil

Popular oils that are rich in vitamin E and fatty acids and work great as carrier oils
Rose

Patchouli

Geranium

Chamomile

Bergamot

Rosemary

Lavender oil

Soothe and relieve stress
Mint

Eucalyptus

Ginger

Basil oil

Add energy, strengthen, and improve immunity, and affect the vitality of the whole body
Jojoba

Olive oil

Tea tree oil

Work as a great base oil for aromatherapy scalp massage, against dandruff and skin irritation
Peppermint

Pine

Eucalyptus oil

Have a positive effect on the sinuses and upper respiratory tract and improve breathing
Clove oil

Ylang-ylang oil

Affect libido

Regardless of their qualities and nature, essential oils act in the body in two ways during the treatment. First of all, through the skin, and second, through your respiratory system. You may have allergic reactions to some kind of essential oils, but it rarely happens. Put a small amount of diluted essential oil to your inner elbow, cover it with a band-aid, and leave for 48 hours. If there’s no reaction, like itching or redness, you aren’t allergic to the oil.

SPECIAL TECHNIQUES FOR AROMATHERAPY SESSIONS

Aromatherapy oil massage techniques are primarily relaxing and calming. They include stroking, rubbing, and kneading. Unlike in the case of a deep tissue massage, these methods are really gentle and won’t cause you any pain or discomfort.

The stroking technique prepares the tissues for further movements. It’s a great, relaxing introduction. It calms the central nervous system and has a stress-relief effect.

The rubbing technique penetrates deeper into the muscle tissue. It increases blood supply and oxygenation and relaxes the muscles.

Kneading leads to the elimination of muscle tension and stimulates blood circulation even better. Their intensity and pressure are adjusted individually for every patient.

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING AN AROMATHERAPY MASSAGE?

You do not need to specially prepare for this kind of treatment. It’s good to take care of your own comfort: refresh the body, or remove contact lenses in the case of a facial procedure. Then you just need to undress to the underwear, lie on the massage bed and relax.

Typically, such treatment lasts 30, 60, or 120 minutes, preferably covering the whole body. Firstly, an oil or a mixture of carrier oils with an intense fragrance is spread on your body. The oils may be heated to enhance their healing effect and keep you warm. Your skin absorbs essential oils, but you also breathe them in during your session.

Aromatherapy body massage is usually accompanied by relaxing music and dim lights. All this can allow you to calm down easily and take full advantage of this amazing treatment.

HOW TO UNDERSTAND IF YOUR MASSEUR IS QUALIFIED ENOUGH?

A properly performed massage allows you to relax and helps with many problems. Errors during the procedure can cause not only discomfort or pain but also become harmful to health. We advise you to choose a professional massage therapist. So, it’s important they are properly trained, qualified, and insured.

A professional aromatherapist should ask about your lifestyle, medical history, and health condition. All this will help them in deciding which essential oils are most appropriate for you specifically.

Working with an aromatherapist is like working with any other massage specialist. In the case of a relaxing treatment such as an aromatherapy massage, the therapist should have a certificate. They need to complete a special course and have valid experience working in a recognized aromatherapy massage spa center.

References:

International Federation of Aromatherapists, History of Aromatherapy

Pehlivan S, Karadakovan A. Effects of aromatherapy massage on pain, functional state, and quality of life in an elderly individual with knee osteoarthritis. Jpn J Nurs Sci. 2019 Oct;16(4):450-458. doi: 10.1111/jjns.12254. Epub 2019 May 30. PMID: 31144450.

Mehrabian S, Tirgari B, Forouzi MA, Tajadini H, Jahani Y. Effect of Aromatherapy Massage on Depression and Anxiety of Elderly Adults: a Randomized Controlled Trial. Int J Ther Massage Bodywork. 2022 Mar 2;15(1):37-45. doi: 10.3822/ijtmb.v15i1.645. PMID: 35280245; PMCID: PMC8887855.