It is no secret that the stress of modern life can cause many aches and pains. Thus, making time to relax is essential. But it’s never easy. Massage has long been known to have several health benefits and is considered one of the best techniques to reduce stress.
While the exact mechanism remains unknown, there is growing evidence that massage improves blood circulation, relaxes muscle tissue, reduces stress hormone levels, relieves pain, and improves immune system functions. One of the most relaxing types of massage available is aromatherapy massage.
So, if you need help kicking back and relaxing, why not try aromatherapy massage? The benefits of aromatherapy were discovered over 4000 years ago in India and China. Since then, it has become more popular, especially in the western world.
An aromatherapy massage is becoming very popular with health professionals and among many people keen on natural remedies for stress reduction, pain relief, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Let’s find out more about it.
But What Is Aromatherapy Massage?
An aromatherapy massage combines essential oils with basic massage techniques to bring about more profound relaxation. The oils chosen for aromatherapy massage are selected based on the client’s needs. For example, if you were looking for a relaxing experience, an essential oil with calming properties might be chosen.
As the name suggests, the working premise is that essential oils are diluted into a carrier oil and massaged into the skin to stimulate particular nerves inside the body. These oils come from specific plants, so they are absorbed into the bloodstream when introduced to the skin.
Aromatherapy massage works to support your body’s natural ability to heal itself. It also improves blood flow by working on releasing muscle tension. The massage technique is designed to balance and enhance your physical, mental, and emotional well-being and support your body’s natural abilities to heal itself.
Essential Oils for Aromatherapy Massage
|Essential Oils||Parts of The Plant|
|Bergamot, lemon, lime, sweet orange, tangerine, mandarin||Fruit peel|
|Citronella, lemongrass, petitgrain, palmarosa, patchouli||Leaves|
|Geranium, lavender, rosemary, spike lavender||Entire plant|
|Jasmine, neroli (orange blossom), rose, ylang-ylang||Flowers|
Benefits of Essential Oils Used in Aromatherapy
🌿 Clary sage: In aromatherapy, clary sage essential oil has many benefits. It has been used for centuries because of its intriguing scent and medicinal properties to treat health problems. Clary sage is women’s best friend because it improves the menstrual cycle flow, regulates hormones, strengthens muscles, and reduces acne problems.
🌿 Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus essential oils are antiseptic. That is why it is being used for fighting microbial infections, which are different types of viral, fungal, and bacterial infections. Research on the oil shows that it has analgesic properties. The essential oils also fight depression, anxiety, insomnia, and stress.
🌿 Geranium: Geranium oil is the undisputed star on the list of essential oils. It is cost-effective, with all its uses and benefits, making it a must-have essential oil. This is on account of the outstanding health benefits that this oil provides. It can be used for skin problems, namely dry skin, acne, and skin allergies, and as an antiseptic agent to soothe rashes. Oil can treat insomnia, chest inflammation, menstrual problems, uterine diseases, and blood disorders like diabetes.
🌿 Lavender: Lavender oil is used in aromatherapy for its relaxing effect, which is believed to help the body relieve stress. Research proves that lavender oil can be highly effective in improving sleep quality. Due to its fragrance, it is beneficial for anxiety relief. It is also known to improve mood and relieve mild depression.
🌿 Lemon: Some of the main advantages of lemon essential oil include its ability to boost immunity and improve white corpuscle production. It combats tissue inflammation, stimulates appetite, detoxifies the body, and controls nausea.
🌿 Peppermint: The antispasmodic agents in peppermint oil give the herb its pain-relieving properties. This is especially true when it comes to headache relief. It has a powerful, sweet, penetrating fragrance with a soothing, cooling effect on the skin. It is used to stimulate circulation and reduce sinus and lung congestion.
🌿 Roman chamomile: If you’re going through a rough time and need something to help you relax, Roman Chamomile is an excellent choice. This essential oil can relieve stress and bring a sense of calmness to your day. Roman chamomile is often used in aromatherapy treatments for depression, anxiety, insomnia, and menstrual cramps.
🌿 Rosemary: Rosemary has been suggested as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. It has been taken to enhance the activities of dementia patients and also as a possible preventive measure before clinical manifestations of dementia occur. When treating hypertension (high blood pressure), rosemary is traditionally used. This herb has been found to stimulate specific systems in the body like the digestive system, respiratory, nervous system, and circulatory systems. It has also been beneficial in many other disorders like insomnia, headaches, sweating, rheumatic pain, morning sickness, and hysteria.
🌿 Tea tree: Tea tree oil is excellent for aromatherapy for many different reasons. It has antiseptic, anti-fungal, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic properties, making it a versatile oil.
🌿 Ylang-ylang: Ylang Ylang essential oil is antiseptic with valerianic components. It has excellent diuretic properties. Ylang Ylang balances PMS symptoms and hormonal imbalances in women. Their roles include regulating menstrual flow, increasing irritability, reducing the stress response, decreasing insomnia, calm anxiety and headaches.
How Does Aromatherapy Massage Work?
An aromatherapy massage is based on scientific studies that confirm aromas affect our mood, how we feel about ourselves, and how we interact with others. Aromas can alleviate stress and anxiety, help you relax, create a focused & energetic state of mind, soothe headaches and improve your mental state.
It uses aroma-infused massage oil to deliver scents directly to the bloodstream through the skin. These antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory oils come with immune boosters. Said that essential oils are generally complex and consist of chemical properties.
When inhaled, a biological signal of the receptor cells in the nose is transmitted to the limbic and hypothalamus of the brain through olfactory receptors (bulb). As a result, the brain releases neuro messengers such as serotonin and endorphin to relieve.
Benefits of Aromatherapy Massage
An aromatherapy massage is usually an hour-long session. You should feel relaxed and calm before, during, and after the session. If you’re on the fence about trying out aromatherapy massage, here are some of the top benefits that make it worth investing your time and money:
- Improved mood
- An enhanced ability to cope with stress
- Reduced anxiety
- More restful sleep
- Pain relief
- Reduced symptoms of depression
Risks Associated With Aromatherapy Massage
There are a lot of potential benefits from aromatherapy massage, but there are also several risks. If you’ve never tried this type of massage before, it’s essential to understand those risks before scheduling an appointment.
An aromatherapy massage applies manual techniques to the body to promote health and well-being. Essential oils are therapeutic extracts derived from various parts of a plant. They are potent, and care must be taken.
If the person receiving the massage has a medical condition on their skin, these essential oils can exacerbate it. The aromatherapy massage can cause allergic reactions in some people. The highly potent oils can cause swelling, rash, redness, itchiness, and severe burns to the skin.
Some massage oils are common allergens (such as tea tree) even when used without a carrier oil. Let your masseuse know if you notice redness or irritation after your session. The best way is to discuss all the existing allergies and skin problems with your therapist before taking the massage.
Is Aromatherapy Massage Safe During Pregnancy?
Today, one of the most confusing topics in Western medicine is essential oil use during pregnancy. There are a mix of research reports and anecdotal evidence from both sides. During pregnancy, the body undergoes many changes, including increased permeability.
The term ‘permeability’ refers to how easily substances can be passed through the membranes of cells or across membranes, such as the membranes of organs and bodily fluids. There is a concern about essential oils during pregnancy because of their possible toxicity.
Tisserand and Balacs state that compounds “crossing” the placenta may not necessarily affect the fetus, depending on their toxicity and the concentration in the mother’s blood. According to the two, the following essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding:
- Basil ct. Estragole
- Parsley leaf or seed
The following essential oils are considered safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding:
- Black pepper
- Clary sage
- Tea tree
Essential oils should not be used during pregnancy unless you have consulted with a doctor. Therefore, it is best to consult your doctor before taking the massage.
Tips to Make the Most Out of Aromatherapy Massage
One of the essential considerations you’ll need to make when enjoying aromatherapy massage is finding a reputable, experienced practitioner. It would be wise to do some homework before scheduling an appointment, as the last thing you want is to waste your time or money. Follow the below tips to get the most out of your massage:
🔶 Many essential oils are there to choose from, such as bergamot, lemon, and peppermint. Find one with a scent that you enjoy and is suitable for your needs.
🔶 The massage oil that you choose can make or break your massage experience. It shouldn’t be too sweet or strong but also have an enticing aroma to heighten the soothing effects.
🔶 While relaxing on the massage table, if you haven’t eaten in quite a while before your appointment, it could cause stomach upset while receiving your massage. So, eat something before taking the massage.
🔶 Refrain from drinking alcohol 2-3 hours before your massage, as some alcohol can be absorbed through the skin and cause a “tipsy” feeling.
🔶 When you get a massage, it is common for the masseuse to use oils. These oils are great at helping your muscles feel silky smooth but can make your skin oily afterward. Stripping these oils off with warm water after the massage will give you a feeling of cleanliness and refreshment.
Aromatherapy massages can be a great addition to a wellness program designed to improve your emotional and physical well-being. If you’re going to try an aromatherapy massage, talk with a licensed massage therapist before your first session. You can discuss the best oils for your unique issues, which will have the most positive effects.
- Aromatherapy with essential oils (PDQ®)–patient version. National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2022, from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/aromatherapy-pdq
- Ali, B., Al-Wabel, N. A., Shams, S., Ahamad, A., Khan, S. A., & Anwar, F. (2015). Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 5(8), 601–611. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apjtb.2015.05.007