What can you do as a certified aromatherapist?
Massage has been used for decades for its health, healing, and relaxation benefits, not only on the body but the mind too. Massage is regarded as one of the oldest health care services known to humans. Today, there are over 80 different types of massage treatments with an emphasis on different body parts and types of treatment.
Then some 6000 years ago, the Egyptians were the first to include plant and herb extracts into their massage in the form of aromatherapy massage.
Let’s explore aromatherapy massage by looking at:
What is aromatherapy massage?
Aromatherapy massage includes the use of essential oils with traditional massage movements to enhance the effects of the massage. These oils should be applied in a carrier oil, to dilute the essential oil, as they are powerful concentrated versions of plants, flowers or herbs, and could cause skin sensitivities.
Essential oils can be added to any massage type for the benefits of the selected oils included in the massage. These oils are used to improve physical, psychological, and emotional health. Each essential oil has its unique benefits that have therapeutic effects on the body and the mind.
Does aromatherapy work
It’s amazing how a small bottle of oil, which is obtained from sometimes tones of petals, kilograms of bark, or even the rinds of citrus peels can have such a profound impact on the body and can treat an assortment of conditions.
Like anything in life, some people believe in the power of plants, and some people don’t. I, for one, am someone who believes in incorporating the benefits of plants, herbs, and flowers into daily living in the form of essential oils. Not only can these oils be used for massage purposes, but they can also be used in other ways.
How does aromatherapy work
Essential oils are powerful extracts that can evoke physiological, mental, and emotional responses. They are, by nature, highly aromatic and are rapidly absorbed by the body. The process of conveying aromas to the brain is called olfaction, or as we know it, simply smelling.
The amygdala, which is the centre for emotions in the body, links our sense of smell with our emotions. This is the area where the aromatic information is connected to the emotions of a specific situation. The capacity to pair the two, the information and the emotion, is connected to our survival ability, which makes essential oils a powerful partner in creating and maintaining emotional health.
Aromatherapy impacts all the systems of the body, right down to every cell. The oils used in aromatherapy can have vast differences in therapeutic benefits, from stimulating to calming, and healing.
Ways in which aromatherapy can be used
Essential oils in their pure form, are fat or oil soluble. That means when they are applied to the skin or body, they are easily absorbed into the bloodstream. They can reach every cell of the body within minutes. Using an essential oil with a carrier oil allows the slowdown of the absorption of essential oils, which ultimately slows the onset of the therapeutic benefits. Massage increases blood flow throughout the body, therefore increasing the therapeutic benefits of the properties of the oil.
The easiest way to use an essential oil is to simply open and inhale the bottle of essential oil. This triggers that olfactory system and brings a flood of emotion associated with that smell along with it.
Essential oils can be placed onto the hands, rubbed together, cupped around the nose, and deeply inhaled, although make sure not to touch the face when doing this.
Essential oils can also be placed on a tissue or material and placed under the nose and breathed in deeply.
Diffusers disperse essential oils into the room with water vapour, which is then inhaled, and the positive effects are felt throughout the body. Aromatherapy diffusers are ideal for cleansing and purifying the air. They help to uplift the mood, kill bacteria, and act as a natural freshener to a room.
A compress can be applied post-massage to induce relaxation in the body and continue the therapeutic benefits of the treatment. A compress is a clean, damp, folded cloth that has been infused with essential oils and is then applied to an area. A compress can be either cold or warm, depending on the purpose. A warmer compress allows for better penetration of the essential oils, and the warmth will also bring increased blood supply to an area, allowing the therapeutic benefits of the oil to be experienced a lot faster.
How aromatherapy helps in releasing stress
Massage in its own right has been found to induce relaxation and relieve stress in the body, this coupled with the aroma-therapeutic benefits of essential oils is a recipe for success when combatting stress and anxiety.
The effects of stress can have long-term negative effects on the body.
Recent studies have found that Aromatherapy can reduce the perception of stress, increase contentment, and decrease levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Because of its minimal side effects, the variety of uses, and the ability to combine essential oils with other forms of relaxation, it is widely used for its stress-reducing properties.
Aromatherapy is a very commonly used method to treat stress and anxiety. If you are trying to link stress and the use of essential oil – which is the first oil that springs to mind? Lavender of course – a deep inhale, massage, or diffusion of lavender helps to calm the body, bring about relaxation, and induce sleep – something that a stressed individual is seriously lacking!
Top oils to use for stress relief
- Lavender: has a calming, regenerating, and healing effect on the body.
- Bergamot: reduces stress and promotes relaxation, creases an uplifting and assuring feeling in the body.
- Neroli: eases anxiety, stress and the symptoms of depression.
- Lemon: relieves stress, improves the mood, promotes sleep and eases symptoms of depression.
- Ylang Ylang: decreases blood pressure and cortisol hormone. Has a calming and soothing effect on the body.
While there will always be research and scientific study into the use, effectiveness, and benefits of essential oils, there is no doubt that these powerful extracts from everyday flowers, herbs and plants, can have profound impacts on the body and mind.
Incorporating essential oils into massage greatly increases the health benefits, the relaxation benefits, and the effects on the body and the mind. The advantages are endless!
Stay well informed on these studies, the uses, benefits, and precautions that should be followed when incorporating essential oils into your massage, or daily living.
Learn more about aromatherapy in our Alternative Therapies Course.