Aromatherapy is a technique used to help improve your overall physical and mental well-being through the use of aromatic fragrances, whether it be essential oils, lotions, herbs and more. For centuries people have used aromatherapy techniques for healing purposes and in this blog we are going to discuss the benefits of incorporating essential oils into your massage practice as well as the unique benefits of different scents. First, let’s start with the benefits of the oils.
When we inhale different scents, the scent molecules will travel from the olfactory nerves directly into the brain, where it impacts the amygdala… also known as the emotional center of the brain. Inhaling certain scents can have a psychological effect on the brain and invoke feelings of calmness, serenity and peace; whereas other scents could trigger feelings of anxiety or bring up bad memories. Its important you choose the right oil for yourself because not every person has the same memories and feelings attached to certain scents. One person may find a scent calming, while another may find it to be anxiety-inducing.
In addition to using oils for aromatherapy, they can also be used directly on our skin during a massage when mixed properly with a carrier oil. Not only does the oil still activate our amygdala when we smell it being used, but our body also absorbs the oil directly into the bloodstream, reaping the benefits depending on the oil used. Some oils are better for topical use to relieve muscles aches/pains whereas some are better for aromatherapy use to relieve tension, stress and worry from the mind. So let’s get into some of the most common essential oils used based on what kind of treatment you’re looking for!
Calming: If you are looking for a more calming, relaxing, peaceful and rejuvenating massage that can help promote good sleep and reduce feelings of anxiety and stress, your go-to oils are going to be chamomile, lavender, and geranium oil. These are
1) Lavender: One of the most popular and common scents, lavender is the go-to oil for feelings of relaxation, calming the mind and body, and promoting good sleep. Great for aromatherapy use or to use around the neck and shoulders to relieve tension
Other oils great for relaxation: Sandalwood, Chamomile, frankincense and geranium
2) Peppermint: One of the most popular oils used to combat muscle and joint soreness. This is also a great oil to help with decongestion and can also help with headaches too! When using peppermint oil, be mindful of several things: (1) it is POTENT! Only use a drop or two and (2) Never use without a carrier oil, as it can be very irritating to the skin without.
Other oils great for muscle relief: Eucalyptus and chamomile
3) Mandarin: This is a great oil for its fresh, citrus scent to bring a more energizing and uplifting feeling! Citrus scents have also been shown to help boost overall moods and bring a feeling of fresh energy.
Other oils great for energizing/uplifting: Lemongrass, Rosemary, Ylang Ylang, Clary sage
Before using any essential oils in your massage practice, be sure to check with your doctor first. Some essential oils could have interactions with particular medications and some may cause an allergic skin reaction, so it’s always best to be on the safe side. Once you know you’re safe to use them, have fun and experiment with what you like! Not everyone enjoys the same scents, and not everyone is getting a massage for the same benefit, so keep in mind what you want to get out of your massage before choosing your oils! We promise once you incorporate them once, you’ll never want to go without them again.