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> Aromatherapy Massage
Aromatherapy massage is a beautiful way to express
caring and help relieve the stress of a loved one. The benefits
of aromatherapy massage can also be enjoyed through self massage.
its own, the benefits of massage are many...
- Massage helps improve circulation to the massaged area, and
it helps to stimulate muscles.
- In turn, this can help improve flexibility and mobility.
- Massage can dramatically reduce stress and ease tension.
- Massage can help reduce headaches/migraines, cramps and spasms.
- Massage is also said to improve the immune system by stimulating
the limbic system and the release of toxins.
But when combined with aromatherapy,
massage takes on a remarkable synergy that dramatically enhances
the massage session...
- Essential oils are comprised
of the naturally occurring chemical constituents found in the
botanical that they are distilled from. The classification of
esters, for example, found in Lavender
Chamomile essential oils are both naturally sedating/relaxing
and anti-inflammatory. Sidenote: Essential oils are not oily feeling,
are highly aromatic and are much different than vegetable (carrier)
oils. If you are not familiar with essential oils, read these
articles: What Are Essential Oils?
and What are Carrier Oils?
- Combining well chosen essential oils (such as the example of
Lavender or Roman Chamomile given above) with a carrier oil can
promote relaxation, reduce stress and/or help to improve circulation
and reduce swelling and pain.
- Some essential oils act as aphrodisiacs
and can help set the mood for more intimate massage sessions.
- Some massage oils contain synthetic mineral oil that can potentially
impair the skin's ability to breath. Instead, select a natural
vegetable oil as the massage oil base and as the "carrier
oil" for essential oils. Natural vegetable oils can help
to lubricate, moisturize and nourish the skin with EFAs and other
important fatty acids, anti-oxidants and other important nutritives
(while fatty acids must be limited in the diet, they are important
and nourishing for the skin).
Aromatherapy Massage Oil Recipe
This basic aromatherapy massage oil recipe acts
as a wonderful lubricant for massage while also diluting the concentrated
essential oils for safe application to the skin. The carrier oil
also helps to nourish and moisturize the skin.
- 1 ounce carrier oil
such as Jojoba
- 10-12 drops essential oils. Select oils that will complement
the intention of your massage and that are not contraindicated
or unsafe to use by the giver or recipient of the massage.
Directions: Mix the oils well and store
in an airtight, dark glass container.
To Use: Apply only a small amount (1/2-1
teaspoon) for each massage.
For more information on massage, explore
the book The
Complete Illustrated Guide to Massage by Stewart Mitchell.
Qualified massage therapists generally
receive hundreds of hours of training before working on the public.
Naturally it goes beyond this brief article to provide even a true
glimpse at the scope of professional massage therapy and proper
massage technique. There is so much to know!
But we all can share in gentle massage
between loved ones by following the below guidelines:
- Do not ever use hard or painful pressure. Hard pressure can
feel good, but gentle movements are the safest and most effective
in the long term.
- Don’t ever directly massage on bones, and never massage areas
that have been fractured.
- Don’t massage the abdominal area of anyone with stomach problems
or who is pregnant.
- Don’t massage areas that are infected or injured.
- Do not ever try to “crack” anyone’s back. Leave this to a qualified
- Do not massage anyone that has or who may have blood clots.
- Be very careful when massaging anyone with special medical or
health issues. Those with special medical issues should receive
massage from a qualified massage therapist.
- Never massage undiluted essential oils, absolutes or CO2s into
the skin. Instead, make a diluted blend following the information
outlined in AromaWeb's Guide
to Diluting Essential Oils article. The recipe shown below
can also be used as as a basis.
A Word of Caution About Massage Therapists And Aromatherapy
A large percentage of massage therapists still
have minimal, if any, training or understanding about holistic aromatherapy.
When a massage therapist claims to have aromatherapy knowledge or
to use "aromatherapy oils" or "aromatherapy products,"
ask some serious questions to ensure the massage therapist isn't
just all talk.
Quality massage oils and related lubricating products
used during massage should be based on a quality blend of nutritive
cold pressed vegetable oils and fragranced only with essential
oils. Some pleasant smelling "relaxing" or "stress
relieving" massage oils include fragrance oils and do not offer
the full range of therapeutic benefits that massage oils made with
pure essential oils offer. Essential oils like lavender not only
can relax the mind, but lavender essential oil can also sooth the
skin. German Chamomile and Helichrysum are both strongly anti-inflammatory.
Ginger and other spice oils, when used cautiously in blends can
help increase circulation and are good for muscle stiffness. Fragrance
oils, on the other hand, are synthetic. Although they have a pleasant
aroma, they offer no therapeutic benefit and can go as far as to
irritate the skin and cause headaches in some individuals.
Tips on What to Ask a Therapist to Determine His/Her Aromatherapy
Knowledge and Quality of His/Her Products:
- Ask the therapist to define aromatherapy and to explain to you
what cold pressed vegetable oils and essential oils are.
- Another way to tell a therapist's knowledge is to ask the therapist
for his/her thoughts on the use of candles during sessions and
what constitutes a candle suitable for use in aromatherapy. Read
AromaWeb's Aromatherapy Candles
article for enlightening information.
- Ask for details about the massage oil product(s) the therapist
uses and ask to read the ingredient label. Even if a therapist
is not interested in promoting aromatherapy as a part of his/her
practice, a good therapist should understand the distinction of
the different vegetable oils and other lipids used in massage.
- When you stay at a hotel/resort and want a massage, your choices
in therapists might be limited. If avoiding synthetic fragrance
oils is important to you but you do not have much choice in the
therapist working on you, you can try to request an unscented,
cold pressed vegetable oil as the oil used during your session.
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