What is Aromatherapy Massage?
Aromatherapy, also know as Aroma is the practice of using essential oils therapeutically. Plant oils have been used as therapy and cosmetics for thousands of years with records going back to ancient Egypt, China and India.
The essential oils that aromatherapists use to treat conditions, are complex substances containing many chemical components. The oils aren’t concentrated from whole plant parts unlike most herbal medicines but are extracted from flowers, leaves, roots, peel, resin or bark.
Essential oils can be applied in a number of ways.
- Oils can be blended in a carrier oil and massaged into your skin.
- You can add a few drops of oil to warm bath water.
- You can inhale some oils or add them to an aromatherapy oil burner or diffuser. The steam containing the oil spreads through the air in the room (however people who have asthma shouldn’t do this).
- Oils can be blended into creams or lotions.
- When you inhale essential oils, this stimulates your olfactory system the part of your brain that is connected to smell. A signal is transferred to your brain’s limbic system that controls emotions and stores and retrieves learned memories.
- This triggers chemicals to be released. These are thought to have different effects, causing you to feel relaxed or stimulated. In addition, the gentle massage often used to apply oils to your skin is likely to have a relaxing effect.
Aromatherapy is used for many conditions including:
anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, pain relief, headaches, digestive problems, menstrual or menopausal problems
What can I expect at a aromatherapy treatment?
If you decide to visit an aromatherapist, you will first have a detailed consultation. Your aromatherapist will ask you questions about your medical history, diet, lifestyle and health problems. You can also ask any questions you might have. Your aromatherapist cannot make a medical diagnosis as he or she isn’t trained to do so. However, he or she can advise you on a course of aromatherapy treatment.
Aromatherapists claim to treat you holistically. This means your treatment will take into account your mind, body and spirit. Your aromatherapist may recommend a single oil or a blend of two or three.
Your aromatherapist is likely to give you a massage using essential oils that have been diluted in a carrier oil. These light oils, mainly obtained from nuts or seeds such as almond or grapeseed, ‘carry’ the essential oils and provide lubrication for massage. It’s important to tell your therapist if you have a nut or other allergy. He or she will advise you on other methods if massage isn’t suitable for you.
What are the benefits of aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy treatments have both physiological and psychological effects. The combination of massage and the medicinal and therapeutic qualities of the essential oils, (molecules both inhaled [aroma] and absorbed through the skin) can soothe, revitalise, uplift the spirit, encourage positive thinking and boost the immune system enabling the body to heal itself.
Psychological Benefits of Aromatherapy massage can:
promote a general state of well-being
calm and soothe the mind
help to reduce nervous tension
help to lift the mood and reduce feelings of depression
How many aromatherapy treatments will I need?
One aromatherapy massage treatment will definitely be beneficial, bringing to you a sense of calm and producing some physical benefits where required. Best results come through having between 4 – 6 treatments at weekly or fortnightly intervals allowing the effects of treatment to build up cumulatively, producing long-term benefits.