Massage therapy trends come and go, but aromatherapy stays popular. Today nearly every beauty product claims to contain essential oils and you can buy “aromatherapy” products from body lotions to toilet cleaner, so what is aromatherapy, really? And what are the health benefits of an aromatherapy massage?
What is Aromatherapy Massage?
There are few massage treatments that relieve stress as effectively as aromatherapy massage. There are also differences between aromatherapy massages. A professional aromatherapist has studied essential oils, their properties and their effects on the body and the mind, and will know how to use dozens of oils to improve health, boost immunity, relieve stress and reduce aches and pains.
You know you are about to receive a professional aromatherapy treatment when it starts with a thorough consultation. The therapist will ask questions about your health, medical history, current or past health problems, injuries and certain lifestyle issues. A true aromatherapy treatment is designed individually for each client and the therapist chooses the oils for each individual’s needs.
This is the main difference between a traditional aromatherapy massage and a generic spa massage in which the therapist uses pre-blended aromatherapy oils. Both might be great massages, but to truly benefit from aromatherapy you need to skip the pre-blended aromatherapy oils and choose oils that are best for you.
The Benefits of Aromatherapy Massage
Based on the consultation the aromatherapist will choose 3-4 oils and blend them in carrier oil (base oil). A typical aromatherapy massage covers the whole body: the face and the head, the back and the neck, shoulders and arms, legs, feet and the abdomen. Traditional aromatherapy techniques were created to induce relaxation, to relieve muscular tension, to boost circulation and to improve lymph flow, and to bring the body and mind into a state of balance.
Aromatherapy massage can
- prevent and relieve stress
- relieve anxiety
- improve sleep
- release muscle tension
- improve circulation
- boost lymph flow
- stimulate the immune system
- balance emotions
- bring about a state of relaxed well-being
- nourish the skin and naturally heal certain skin problems
- lift your mood
- improve energy levels
The therapist may also give you a blend of oils to use at home or recommend essential oils for daily use. If you have any serious medical conditions, you may want to ask your doctor before getting an aromatherapy treatment. Some essential oils are contraindicated in certain medical conditions.
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Photo: Thomas Wanhoff