Aromatherapy massage is an ancient practice that has been used for centuries to heal the body, mind and spirit. It’s no wonder why it remains so popular today!
Whether you are looking for a therapeutic treatment or something more relaxing, aromatherapy can offer many benefits. In this guide, we’ll be discussing everything about this relaxing form of massage; from its origins, benefits, techniques, and best aromas or oils.
A Brief Origin of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy traces its origins back to 2000 BC. There are stories in the Bible that point to the practice of using the aromatic oils in order to treat illnesses and in some cases, for religious purposes.
The first ever civilization we see that utilizes these oils in wide-spread practices is Egypt. They would use the oils from various plants as part of their cosmetics such as perfumes.
This practice would evolve and in later years, the Greeks would carry vials of these oils into battle. If their soldiers would get wounded in battle, they would use these oils to treat any injuries.
Fast forward to Britain in the 1950s. This is the time when the term “aromatherapy” and the practice of aromatherapy massage would be created, introduced, and implemented.
What is an Aromatherapy Massage?
Aromatherapy is the use of natural oils and extracts from plants for medicinal or health purposes. Aromatherapy massage then uses these various essential oils to stimulate circulation, reduce stress and muscle tension, and improve emotional well-being.
Aromatherapy oils can also bring temporary relief from certain symptoms of illness such as asthma or arthritis among other things.
Aromatherapy oil massages are a little different from traditional body massages because they require some knowledge about aromatherapy essential oils as well as techniques that will enhance their therapeutic effect on clients.
A dropper may be used to administer drops of pure oil directly onto the client’s skin before beginning the massage so the therapist knows how strong a scent each client prefers. A variety of scents can be diffused into a steam room or whirled around an enclosed space during a massage session for even stronger effect.
Aromatherapy oil massages are best done on a clean, smooth surface since friction between the sheets will damage delicate essential oils.
A few drops of aromatherapy oil is all that is needed during an entire session so it is helpful for beginners who want to learn how much they should use at one time.
A single bottle of aromatherapy oil can last a long time since only a few drops are needed for each massage session.
Aromatherapy oils can be purchased from local stores or even online aromatherapy suppliers like Aroma-Zone Aromatherapy oils come in many different fragrances and each one has its own unique healing properties, which makes this type of massage relaxing while also improving your health and well-being.
Benefits of Aromatherapy Massage
Improves Overall Circulation
This type of massage helps improve overall circulation to the skin and muscles leading to younger looking skin and healthier cells. This is because the increased blood flow helps alleviate congestion and reduce puffiness around the face, hands or any other areas that may need rejuvenation.
A study published in The Aesthetic Surgery Journal explained that aromatherapy oil massages may help reduce the appearance of cellulite. Aromatherapy oils can be absorbed by your skin and used as an anti-inflammatory agent to relieve swelling or pain caused by toxins that are trapped in pockets around your thighs, hips, and buttocks.
Blood Pressure, Anxiety, and Sleep
A study published in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine concluded that aromatherapy massages may lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety levels and improve quality of sleep.
Aromatherapy oils can also help you relax at the end of a hard day while easing stress and helping to eliminate mental fatigue.
Battles Flu, Colds, and Diseases
A holistic nutritionist named Sonya Angelone also said that essential oils contain healing properties that have been proven beneficial for people suffering from colds, flu, arthritis, allergies or respiratory diseases.
According to this expert, aromatherapy can help treat these conditions by opening up your airways, boosting your immune system, and elevating your mood.
Aromatherapy Massage Techniques
Usually, the therapist will first make the oil warm by holding the bottle between their hands or slightly heating it with friction from rubbing hands together before pouring a small amount into their palms to begin the massage.
The therapist begins massaging standard pressure into several points on the body until the entire area has been covered. Aromatherapy oil massages usually last for about one hour and can be repeated as needed.
These massages work best with light, circular strokes that move toward the heart to promote better circulation within the muscles. A deep tissue massage would only disrupt the essential oil’s ability to work as an anti-inflammatory agent so it’s recommended to stick to a lighter touch for aromatherapy sessions.
More pressure can be applied if you know what you’re doing but beginners should always consult with their therapist first before going too hard on someone who is new at getting massages. A punchy, hard style of working on muscles would hamper any positive effects that aromatherapy oils can bring to your body while a softer touch will help the oil penetrate more easily.
There are several different techniques that can be used during an aromatherapy session.
Top to Bottom
Top to Bottom refers to using long strokes beginning from the neck or head area down towards the feet. A little more pressure will be applied as you move downwards, which helps to counteract gravity’s effect on circulation as well as improve your mood since this movement stimulates feelings of relaxation and calmness.
A kneading technique, sometimes called a “Swedish Massage”, is done by placing both hands flat on a muscle and pressing down firmly before pulling the hands towards you with a scooping motion while applying a little bit of pressure. A good way to remember this motion is by moving your hands in a backwards “C” shape.
A cupping technique stimulates the areas being massaged with circular motions that are deeper than those used during a kneading massage. This type of motion can also be done using just one hand to create larger circles for even more effect. A cupping technique like this promotes relaxation, increases circulation and relieves muscular tension.
A punch technique or trigger point technique is made by using both thumbs simultaneously instead of one finger to knead away knots within the muscles. A punch technique takes experience but it works well for beginners who are trying to learn how they should hold their hands during a session.
Oils for Aromatherapy Massages
There are many different kinds of oils that can be used. Picking the best one for your needs is often a matter of trial and error. Aromatherapy master Aftyn Lynch recommends choosing one that’s based on your personal tastes rather than what someone else says is good or bad since it’s all up to you in the end.
If you’re new to Aromatherapy, start by determining which scents are most appealing to you before trying them out on others. You can do this by visiting a store or website specializing in Aromatherapy products and smelling each oil directly from the bottle.
If they smell pleasant, try them out during an aromatherapy session with yourself or someone you know and see how they make either person feel. Aromatherapy can be a very powerful tool to improve both physical and mental health so take your time finding the right scent for yourself.
Several popular oils used for these types of massages include:
- Tea Tree
Experience a New Way to Relax with Aromatherapy Massages
If you are looking for a new form of relaxation, but don’t know where to begin with aromatherapy massage, this blog is the perfect place to start.
We have compiled everything that you need to know about how it works and what benefits it can provide so you can make an informed decision on whether or not this is right for your needs.
With all of the information we’ve provided here, there’s no reason why anyone should ever feel lost when they’re faced with deciding which type of massage therapy would be best suited for them.
Experience a new way to relax by getting an aromatherapy massage today.
You might also wanna check Top Benefits of Thai Massages.