Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of essential oils. An essential oil is an aromatic essence distilled from a single botanical source. Essential oils have many different effects on the body, mind, and soul. Some have an analgesic and antispasmodic effect, while most are antibacterial. Essential oils can be sedative or stimulating and can aid in skin care and wound healing. There are many different ways of using essential oils therapeutically – baths and saunas, foot baths, inhalations, compresses, creams or lotions, and perhaps the most common and relaxing way through aromatherapy massage.

How does it help?
Aromatherapy massage therapy is extremely beneficial and is an excellent way of reducing stress. The essential oils affect the autonomous nervous system and calm the ‘flight and fight’ response of the human body that causes a release of harmful stress inducing hormones. Furthermore, the massage in itself stimulates the blood circulation, increasing the supply of nutrients and oxygen to cells; and stimulates lymphatic flow, improving tissue drainage and improving the immune system. Aromatherapy massage is known to be one of the most effective ways to combat stress and stress related illnesses.

In order for aromatherapy to be effective and beneficial, care must be taken when selecting the essential oils that will be used for healing. Some oils will be more appropriate, in terms of effectiveness, to particular people than others. To ascertain which oil is best suited for you, experiment with the oils and determine the right oil that will relieve stress and other stress related illnesses that are peculiar to you. While experimenting with different oils, keep in mind the properties of each essential oil and its effect on the human body, mind, and soul. Some oils have anti-inflammatory properties; some are relaxing and sedative, some invigorating and so on. A blend of 2-3 oils can be made by incorporating different characteristics and properties to suit your personal needs. Dilute and blend your chosen oils in a carrier or base oil, but be careful not to exceed recommended amounts.

Massage Techniques.
A full body massage is not a necessary requirement in order to benefit from the essential oils. Blended essential oils can be rubbed locally into the area that is giving problems, whether it is muscular aches and pains, a stiff neck or a congested chest. A few handy tips when doing a self-massage include, use gentle strokes towards the heart, to encourage the circulation, and when massaging the abdomen, move your hands in clockwise circles, following the flow of the intestines.

Some of the popular massage techniques that can be used in conjunction with aromatherapy are:

    Swedish massage.
    This method of massaging was developed by the Swede Professor Ling. It is beneficial to promote the feeling of well-being and also helps to reduce emotional and physical stress.

    Neuromuscular massage.
    Neuromuscular massage forms the basis of aromatherapy massage and evolved from the work of Stanley Leif. The overall effect of this massage is to restore the balance of the autonomic nervous system.

    Lymphatic massage.
    This massage helps to improve the flow of lymph and can also be incorporated into aromatherapy massage. Lymph drainage massage is particularly useful in detoxifying the body and boosting the immune system.

    Acupressure massage and Shiatsu.
    This method of massage focuses on the meridians of the body and aims to relieve blockages of these meridians by massaging vital pressure points. It can be performed while the person is fully clothed and requires no needles such as in acupuncture.

    In reflexology, the focus is placed on manipulating and massaging certain points on the feet and other parts of the body, that are said to directly affect internal organs. Massaging of these points is said to improve the functions of the corresponding organs in the body.

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