You might have visited the spa for an aromatherapy massage several times before and come out feeling refreshed each time. But have you ever wondered and tried to find out why? Why is this popular relaxation treatment the go-to for many men and women looking to de-stress after a long day? In this blog, we talk about the many benefits of aromatherapy massage.
What Does an Aromatherapy Massage Involve?
Aromatherapy massage is a combination of two therapeutic methods that bring positive outcomes for the body and mind. It is an ancient, holistic healing technique that banks on one’s sense of smell (through essential oils) to bring about a change in mood and healing. Meanwhile, massage is a general term to refer to the rubbing, pressing, and manipulation of the muscles, tendons, skin, and ligaments.
Merging the two into one hour-long (or longer) session brings about many physical, emotional, and mental benefits.
During an aromatherapy massage, you not only inhale the essential oils but also absorb them through the skin. The essential oils, or highly concentrated plant oils, are diluted into a carrier oil or massage lotion before applying them to the skin.
The most common carrier oils massage therapists use include coconut, jojoba, and olive oil. Be careful not to apply essential oils at full strength directly on the skin, as this might cause irritation. A drop or two of your oil of choice is enough for about 50ml of carrier oil — and it will still smell as heavenly.
The procedure involves alternately using gentle and hard kneading pressures and strokes using the hands, much like a Swedish massage, to address aches and pains, provide stress relief, and to promote healing and relaxation.
Essential Oils Popularly Used for Aromatherapy Massage
Essentials oils still have a long way to go in terms of being the subject of scientific research to prove their healing properties, although several studies conducted by Hopkins Medicine found that using aromatherapy oils as part of certain therapies can help ease symptoms from conditions such as insomnia, nausea, anxiety, depression, and poor appetite.
Some of the more popular oils are used for the following purposes:
- Uplifting: clary sage, rose, ylang-ylang
- Calming: lavender, geranium, chamomile
- Energizing: rosemary, lemon
- Decongesting: pine, eucalyptus, tea tree
- Aches and pains: black pepper, basil
There are dozens of other essential oil types that would be fit to use for aromatherapy massage. Talk to your massage therapist prior to the session so he or she can recommend the best essential oil or oil blend to use for your particular goal.
Aromatherapy Massage Therapy Benefits
Combining aromatherapy with massage might just be one of the best non-invasive approaches to boost the immune system and to address a wide range of health conditions and discomforts.
Because this method does not use synthetic fragrances, there are generally few risks. This means that you can have an aromatherapy massage as often as you want, with no restrictions.
Here are some of the aromatherapy massage benefits you need to know.
Having a nice massage is relaxing in itself, more so when you combine aromatherapy into the process. By introducing the calming properties of essential oils into the procedure, the effect is enhanced all the more.
There is really something about the power of touch that brings about wellness and healing. An aromatherapy massage can bring the grounded and stable feeling that you’ve been seeking after a long and stressful day.
As a massage involves the gentle manipulation of different body parts, the pressure can help boost blood flow into your muscles and vital organs. Many essential oils are also believed to aid in improving circulation, such as grapefruit, frankincense, sandalwood, and cypress.
Relief from headache
Aromatherapy massage is a popular choice among those who want to relieve headaches or migraine symptoms. It is often the go-to treatment by people who prefer not to take over-the-counter medications and go the natural, traditional route.
There are many studies that support adding essential oils to massage to address headaches, including lavender oil, peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, chamomile oil, and rosemary oil.
Reduced inflammation and pain
Therapeutic massages using aromatherapy massage oils also work well to reduce pain in the muscles and joints, along with any minor inflammation that can exacerbate the discomfort.
Some oils that help ease pain symptoms and muscle spasms include ginger, bergamot, peppermint, citrus, and lavender essential oil.
Because pain is something that a licensed practitioner should address, it is important that you have your massage performed only by a certified massage therapist. People with rheumatoid arthritis, for example, might get temporary relief from aromatherapy, although long-term healing is still brought about by a change in diet and lifestyle.
During the consultation process before your massage, your therapist should assess your medical history and specific concern. This enables them to determine if a massage is the right way to go.
If the pain and inflammation are moderate to severe, particularly with rheumatoid arthritis or other chronic inflammatory disease, you might need to see a physician instead.
Enhanced mental health
Combining aromatherapy with touch therapy can lead to emotional and mental health benefits. When the olfactory nerves (responsible for our sense of smell) in our brains are stimulated by the aromas, this encourages the production of serotonin, which leads to increased mental alertness and a more positive mood. This is why you feel happier and calmer right after a massage, even if you had an especially rough day.
While anxiety is attributed to many factors, some find that getting an aromatherapy massage helps them relax better and faster. Apart from the natural benefits that massages and essential oils provide, being still during the entire session helps a lot with grounding and blocking out thoughts that might trigger one’s anxiety.
Why Having an Experienced Massage Therapist Matters
Prior to an aromatherapy massage session, you should discuss what your needs are with your therapist, who might recommend a single type of essential oil or a blend of oils to address your concern.
A licensed massage therapist should take your health history into account when preparing for your treatment to prevent any allergic reaction or serious side effects.
As aromatherapy is a holistic approach, it aims to treat you as a whole, so your procedure will be unique to your physical and mental requirements.
If you’re interested in knowing more about how this approach can help you with your concern, our certified aromatherapy massage specialists at Lovoir Skin Body and Beauty are ready to provide all the information you need. Book a session with our aromatherapy massage experts today.