Essential Guide to Aromatherapy Massage
Table of Contents
What is Aromatherapy and Aromatherapy Massage?
The aromatherapy definition is the use of aromatic plant extracts and essential oils in massage or baths.
Aromatherapy massage is therapy using massage oil or lotion that contains essential oils, such as lavender or lemongrass.
During an aroma massage, you inhale these essential oil molecules or absorb them through your body. Depending on which essential oil is used, they can help target different health properties such as concentration or relaxation.
What are the Most Popular Essential Oils used in Massage Therapy?
There are more than 90 types of essential oils, each with its own unique smell and potential health benefits. The oils can also be mixed and matched to create a custom blend for maximum benefits.
Here are the most popular groupings of essential oil aroma families:
- Citrus – Fruity scents described as tangy or tart, fresh, clean, vibrant, invigorating, exciting, energizing, and uplifting. Examples are lemongrass and grapefruit.
- Floral – Sweet-smelling scents described as feminine, classic, timeless, powdery, subtle, modest, and romantic. Examples are chamomile and rose.
- Herbaceous – Spring-like scents described as smelling green or grassy, and reminiscent of fresh leaves, moss, mown grass, herbs, and trees. Examples are eucalyptus and tea tree.
- Camphoraceous – Strong scents known to be beneficial for clearing the respiratory system due to their clarifying, penetrating, energizing, purifying, and almost medicinal aromas. Examples are camphor and laurel leaf.
- Minty – Strong-scented and are distinctly known to be clearing, cooling, and fresh. Examples are peppermint and wintergreen.
- Spicy – Exotic, warm, intense aromas that are often reminiscent of baking and other warm memories. Examples are cinnamon and ginger.
- Resinous/Musky – Deep, rich scents that are smoky, woody, earthy, sweet, leather-like, warm, and alluring. Examples are frankincense and myrrh.
- Woody/Earthy – Deep, warm, lingering scents reminiscent of a forest floor or damp soil and described as soft, masculine, musky, sensual, seductive, and hypnotic. Examples are pine and cedarwood.
Here are the 10 most popular essential oils and associated health functions:
- Peppermint: used to boost energy and aid digestion
- Lavender: used to relieve stress
- Sandalwood: used to calm nerves and help with focus
- Bergamot: used to reduce stress and improve skin conditions like eczema
- Rose: used to improve mood and reduce anxiety
- Chamomile: used to improve mood and relaxation
- Ylang-Ylang: used to treat headaches, nausea, and skin conditions
- Tea Tree: used to fight infections and boost immunity
- Jasmine: used to help with depression, childbirth, and libido
- Lemon: used to aid digestion, mood, headaches, and more
When choosing an essential oil, please also keep in mind the following:
- Purity: Find an oil that contains only aromatic plant compounds, without additives or synthetic oils. Pure oils list the plant’s botanical name (such as Lavandula officinalis) rather than terms like “essential oil of lavender.”
- Quality: True essential oils are the ones that have been changed the least by the extraction process. Choose a chemical-free essential oil that has been extracted through distillation or mechanical cold pressing.
What Should I Expect During an Aromatherapy Massage?
Although you can find aromatherapy massage at almost every massage clinic or spa, the style of treatment, degree of customization, and the quality of essential oils varies widely.
Many massage therapists have one or more premixed blends and will select the scent based on your health concerns. A full body massage for relieving stress and relaxing would likely include lavender essential oil, while an energizing massage may include lemongrass essential oil. Your therapist may involve you in the selection process by asking you to smell various scents.
Some massage therapists may add essential oils to massage oil immediately before each full body massage based on your requested healing benefits or individual health conditions.
After the full body massage, the therapist may help recommend the essential oils used for home in between massage therapy.
What are the Benefits of Aromatherapy Massage?
Along with the many benefits of a regular body massage, an aromatherapeutic body massage with therapeutic essential oils can provide additional pain relief, emotional healing, and relaxation.
Aromatherapy massage that use essential oils help ease pain from:
- Chronic lower back pain
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Insomnia relief
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Polymyalgia rheumatica
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
The psychological benefits of using essential oil include:
- Reduce stress
- Relieve anxiety
- Increase calmness and relaxation
- Decrease muscle tension
- Pain relief
- A reduction of symptoms of depression
Any Precautions for an Aromatherapeutic Massage?
Aromatherapy massage with essential oils and lotions may help to ease stress and anxiety. If you’re considering trying aromatherapy massage, it’s a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider first to discuss whether it’s appropriate for you.
Special care should be taken for the following individuals:
- Sensitive to scents – Essential oils are highly potent and it’s important to avoid excessive use of aromatherapy oils and to only use oils that have been properly diluted by a carrier oil.
- If you are pregnant or have any specific health conditions – check with your doctor to see if an aromatherapy massage is safe for your condition.
How do I Book an Aromatherapy Massage Near Me?
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