Aromatherapy Massage

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The Basics

Aromatherapy massage is massage therapy with essential oils (highly concentrated plant oils) added to the massage oil or lotion.

Inhaling essential oils through the nose promotes beneficial changes in the mind and body by affecting the limbic system (a region of the brain known to influence the nervous system). Essential oils are also absorbed through the skin.

Why Aromatherapy Massage?

Since aromatherapy massage is a bit like Swedish massage but with scent added, people often get it for muscle- and joint-related conditions or for physical or mental stress.

Other conditions include:

Digestive disorders
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Back pain

Each essential oil used in aromatherapy offers different properties. For example, some calm while others energize. Here are some widely used essential oils and their properties:

Calming – chamomile, lavender, geranium
Uplifting – ylang-ylang, clary sage, rose, neroli
Energizing – rosemary
Decongesting – eucalyptus, pine, tea tree

The Benefits

Aromatherapy massage appears to reduce the pain and discomfort of menstrual cramps, a 2015 study from the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology suggests. Participants did a self-massage with rose essential oil, an unscented almond oil, or no oil on the first day of menstruation for two menstrual cycles. By the second cycle, aromatherapy massage reduced the severity of pain compared to massage therapy with almond oil or no oil.

Massage with aromatherapy may also ease menopausal symptoms. In a study published in Menopause, researchers compared 30-minute aromatherapy massage (twice a week for four weeks) to massage with plain oil or no treatment and found that both massage and aromatherapy massage were effective in reducing menopausal symptoms (with aromatherapy massage being more effective than massage only).

What to Expect

After the consultation, essential oils may be selected for you and mixed into the massage oil or lotion. Many massage therapists use pre-blended massage oil or lotion.

The subtle aroma of the essential oils fills the air around you during the massage.

After the massage, the massage therapist may suggest a blend that you can use at home in between massage treatments.