The use of pure essential oils together with other natural plant extracts as part of a therapeutic session is called aromatherapy. As with many other aspects of massage therapy, aromatherapy has its fair share of both aficionado and opponents.Although some of the claims related to curing all manner of diseases are somewhat far fetched, aromatherapy does have many indisputable health benefits.
There is no doubt that certain scents help provide a pleasurable atmosphere during massage. Since the basic goal of massage is to enhance the well being of the recipient, this is a value. As part of creating the ambiance for a relaxing, soothing experience, there are several options available for those who want to utilize aromatherapy massage oils during a session.
Basil Essential Oil
Basil is a popular choice, owing to its sweet, mildly spicy odor. Alhough it offers a delightful scent, its use should be avoided when the client is pregnant because it contains emmenagogues that can be harmful to those who are sensitive.
Bergamot is another that, in the form of an essential oil, makes for a pleasant aroma. Those who enjoy Earl Gray tea will be familiar with the scent, but as part of aromatherapy, it is more concentrated. In fact, it is also an effective, natural insect repellent and can be useful for helping to improve the massage area.
As well as being a common oil that is often used to ward off mosquitoes, Citronella also has a use as a pleasant lemon grass odor that makes the session area a relaxing place to be. As such, it adds to the use of effleurage techniques that deliver a relaxing, stress-relieving massage session.
Women clients who find the delicate scent the perfect addition to a slow, healthful sports massage, often prefer lavender essential oil. Working the long muscles while inhaling, this flowery aroma can encourage a drowsy state that puts the client into an excellent frame of mind.
Male clients sometimes find the pungent scent of clove oil a welcome adjunct to a vigorous, deep tissue session. After a long workout at the gym, a good massage that loosens all those knotty muscles can be just what the therapist ordered.
Sandalwood is another commonly used scent in aromatherapy massage sessions. The odor is reminiscent of the beach or forest and, as with many scents, works by association. Incorporating pleasant mental images into the session often helps the client relax, making the massage a joy for both recipient and giver.
It is important that the massage therapist who employs scents as part of the overall experience seek client input. Scents are very individual and the goal is to enhance the session, to put the client into a good frame of mind during and after. Not only is the specific aroma used important, but also the concentration should be adjusted to personal taste.