Aromatherapy is the intentional use of essential oils to enhance physical and emotional wellbeing. All essential oils have distinct properties that can promote health. Methods of applying and using essential oils include massage, baths, compresses and inhalations.
An aromatherapy massage is a healing treatment for mind, body and spirit using essential oils and the power of therapeutic touch. It is both practical and holistic in that it combines the power of massage – boosting the circulation, improving lymphatic drainage, releasing muscular tension and stimulating pressure points – with the pharmacological power, and more subtle benefits of aromatic plant oils.
More effectively than many other forms of massage, aromatherapy is capable of both stimulating and/or relaxing the mind, body and spirit. As the massage progresses, the highly potent essential oils penetrate the skin, quickly reaching the bloodstream to have their therapeutic effects, while the warmth generated by the massage allows the oils to evaporate and be inhaled to both physiological and psychological benefit.
Essential oils all have unique therapeutic properties, having their action via pharmacological and psychological routes. Pharmacological effects are the effects an oil has through its chemical properties interacting with the body’s tissues and systems. Psychologically, because our sense of smell is so closely linked to memory and emotion, positive emotions such as feelings of wellbeing and relaxation can be triggered by pleasant scents.
Touch is extremely powerful. Human beings have a primal need for it. Research shows that touch helps preterm babies to grow, alleviates depressive symptoms, helps anxiety and fear, reduces pain, diminishes stress hormones and boosts immunity. Thus therapeutic and caring touch through massage has healing ability far beyond the physical aspects of improved circulation and muscular relaxation – although these effects are also extremely powerful.
Both physical and psychological traumas, together with long-term patterns of negative thinking, can become locked into the body, through poor posture, muscle tension and biochemical signalling. Bodywork such as massage can help to release these patterns and unblock new ways of being. Aromatherapy massage is also extremely relaxing, helping to improve the quality of rest and sleep. This has the effect of further enhancing essential repair and maintenance of the body.