Aromatherapy Massage refers to the therapeutic practice of manipulating the soft tissues of the body, such as muscles and tendons, to ease tension and alleviate pain.
There are various types of massage, including Swedish massage, aromatherapy treatment, hot stone massage, and others.
What is aromatherapy massage?
An aromatherapy is a massage therapy done using essential oils.
These essential oils are either inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Commonly used essentials in aromatherapy include:
- Tea tree
What are the benefits of aromatherapy massage?
The essential oils used in aromatherapy have different properties. For instance, lemon, orange, and tangerine have been found to boost mood, and chamomile has been proven to relieve anxiety.
The techniques used in aromatherapy are similar to those used in Swedish massage. Therefore, people also get aromatherapy rub-down to treat sore muscles and ease stress.
Moreover, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), aromatherapy has shown to relieve:
- Menstrual pain
What happens during an aromatherapy session?
The first step is choosing the oils to blend based on your needs. A massage for relaxation IS likely to include lavender, while a massage to raise your spirits will likely involve rosemary.
Essential oils are more effective when combined than when used individually. The International Federation of Aromatherapists states, “a blend of Lavender and Ylang Ylang can be more effective in normalizing blood pressure than either of the oils used on their own.”
Once the selected oils are blended, the therapist will excuse themselves to allow you to undress and lie on the massage table in privacy.
The massage begins with the legs and back before you’re asked to roll over to the face-up position for the remainder of the massage.
The oil is applied in long, smooth effleurage strokes to warm the tissue.
The masseur or masseuse continues with more intense, deeper massage to work specific muscles or tight areas through petrissage (kneading), compression, friction, and or percussion.
The feet are usually massaged last to avoid spreading bacteria to other parts of the body.
Difference between aromatherapy and Swedish massage
Swedish massage is the most popular type of massage in the US. It involves various massage movements such as effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (percussion), and frottage (friction).
As you can tell, these are the same techniques used in aromatherapy kneading or massage. However, aromatherapy focuses on more relaxing strokes, while Swedish massage applies deeper pressure.
Moreover, aromatherapy uses essential oils, purposely chosen for their therapeutic effect. It is, therefore, the more relaxing and soothing massage of the two.
Tips for aromatherapy massage
- Don’t show up for the massage on a full stomach. It could lead to stomach upset during and after the session.
- Take a warm shower after the massage to wash off any oils left on your skin.
Aromatherapy massage risks
There are a few risks associated with aromatherapy. This depends on your health history, and the essential oils are being used.
There are certain oils that react with pregnant women, children or people medical conditions such as Asthma and respiratory problems.
Even though most massage therapists use room diffuser and massage lotion before applying it to the skin, if wrong oils are used in a wrong concentration you may experience some reactions to your skin.
Below are some of the risks that might be experienced during or after aromatherapy rub-down;
Most Massage Therapy oils are considered cosmetic and are not regulated by food and drug administration.
Ensure you visit an experienced massage therapist who understands proper safety techniques for topical application and ingestion especially to small children for safety purposes.
Ingesting wrong oils in wrong concentration may lead to allergic reactions to your body.
- Aromatherapy Massage (2017) https://www.newdirectionsaromatics.com/blog/articles/aromatherapy-massage.html
- What Is Aromatherapy Massage? (2019) https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-aromatherapy-massage
- Aromatherapy Massage Benefits and Precautions(2019) https://www.verywellmind.com/aromatherapy-massage-89736
- Massage and aromatherapy(n.d) https://essentialoils.co.za/massage.htm
- Swedish Massage Techniques(2019) https://albanymassage.com/swedish-massage-techniques-%E2%80%93-the-5-steps-of-swedish-massage/