An aromatherapy massage is a combination of two treatments of aromatherapy and massage therapy. Any benefit that each of these therapies singly has can be attributed to their combination as aromatherapy massage. Therefore, we can start with aromatherapy itself so that we can grasp a more comprehensive idea of what benefits aromatherapy massage can also offer.
What is Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy, which is also called “essential oil therapy”, is an ancient healing treatment (dated back to at least a thousand years ago) using aromatic essential oils which are highly concentrated extracts from natural plants, flowers, tree parts, herbs, petals, etc. in order to enhance overall health and well-being of both body and mind. In aromatherapy, aromatic oils produced by aromatic diffusers or inhalers, body oils, and lotions, bathing salts, clay masks, etc. are either absorbed through your skin or inhaled through your nose.
The less the essential oil is blended with fragrances or chemical, the more therapeutic and effective the oil is. Obviously, synthetic essential oils cannot have therapeutic effects similar to those of natural essential oils. Natural essential oils that are commonly used in aromatherapy include clary sage, cypress, neroli, patchouli, ylang-ylang, peppermint, Roman chamomile, mandarin, rose, rosemary, cedarwood, eucalyptus, bergamot, fennel, lemongrass, tea tree, vetiver, geranium, ginger, helichrysum, lavender, and lemon. These essential oils are mostly mixed with carrier oils such as jojoba, grapeseed, and sweet almond to help them carry into the skin.
What Are the Benefits of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy experts believe that there are specific smell receptors which are activated once aromatic essential oils are smelled through your nose. Then, these smell receptors, which are parts of your nervous system, start to send messages to your brain, where they can stimulate certain areas such as hypothalamus that is responsible for producing health-improving serotonin and also and limbic system which influences the nervous system. Moreover, in the topical application of essential oils, the oils can be absorbed through the skin and can healingly influence certain parts such as joints and muscles.
Aromatherapy is believed to be effective in treating a wide variety of health conditions. Aromatherapy can help to:
- Manage and reduce pain
- Treat various headaches such as migraines
- Decrease anxiety, depression, and stress
- Ease muscle soreness and spasm
- Decrease side effects of chemotherapy
- Improve digestion and digestive system functions
- Enhance the immune system
- Decrease chemotherapy symptoms such as nausea or pain
- Improve sleeping quality
- Fight and remove evasive and harmful microorganisms and materials (specifically effective when topically applied on the skin such as what is done during the aromatherapy massage)
Aromatherapy can also help to treat health conditions such as fatigue, inflammation, erectile dysfunction, asthma, depression, insomnia, PMS and menstrual issues, peripheral neuropathy, dementia, cancer, erectile dysfunction, alopecia, arthritis, menopause, and certain types of pain such as knee pain, or pain from osteoarthritis or kidney stone.
What is Aromatherapy Massage
An aromatherapy massage is a combination of two effective healing treatments: Swedish massage therapy using massage oil or lotion made of aromatic essential oils. During an aromatherapy massage session, you both absorb essential oils through your skin and also inhale them through your nose. This type of relaxing massage technique involves no hard pressure and can be great for the back, neck, legs, feet, tummy, shoulders, lower back, and arms.
What Are the Benefits of Aromatherapy Massage
Both of these ancient healing techniques promote physical and emotional health. As mentioned previously, all positive effects of aromatherapy can be attributed to aromatherapy massage as well. In fact, the mere massage itself can relax the body and remove any imposed tension or stress. The combination of aromatherapy and massage therapy will definitely highlight the influences of both. Benefits of aromatherapy massage include reduction of pain, anxiety, stress, sleep disorders, menopause symptoms, PMS and menstrual pain, skin problems such as acne and eczema, headache, etc. as well as improvement of the digestive system, blood flow, immune system, etc. Aromatherapy massage can also help to slow down the process of aging by removing toxic materials that are built up in skin cells.
Each essential oil is believed to have specific properties and therefore special influence when applied on the body with light pressure of a masseuse’s hands. For example, chamomile, lavender, and geranium oil are good for calming the body and the mind; lavender, bergamot, peppermint, vetiver, ylang-ylang, and sandalwood are good for stress and anxiety; rosemary oil is good for energizing; lavender and peppermint are good for depression and melancholy; lavender, chamomile, neroli, sandalwood, and ylang-ylang are good for insomnia and sleeping disorders; eucalyptus, peppermint, pine, and tea tree are good for decongesting.
What Can You Expect During Aromatherapy Massage
At the beginning of the aromatherapy massage, your therapist will probably ask your idea about various smells he/she is going to apply on your skin. Once you have selected the essential oil, you will be given some privacy to disrobe and lie on the massage table under a massage sheet or towel with your face down. The session usually starts with asking you to deeply breathe the aromatic essential oil. It is a quick way to introduce essential oil to your body. Moreover, deep breathing can help your body to completely relax. Sometimes, the therapist starts from gently massaging your head so that you can inhale more of the massage essential oil.
Communicate with your therapist during the aromatherapy massage session. Before the whole session starts, let them know if you are allergic to any type of essential oil. Moreover, tell him/her if there are any annoying or uncomfortable feelings you are experiencing. Most therapists usually suggest using the applied massage essential oils through essential oil diffusers at home in order to continue benefiting from the aromatherapy treatment between the massage sessions. Most essential oils are removed from the body through excretion or urination; however, their positive effects stay much longer in your body.