Aromatherapy is the ancient art and science of using the healing power of aromatic essential oils, distilled from organic plant sources. Due to the vast number of natural phytochemicals produced by the plants, essential oils can have many different effects on the body, mind and spirit.
Massage plays a very important role in aromatherapy. Cleopatra, the last of the Egyptian queens, was famous for her use of aromatic oils for exotic baths, massages, and perfumes. It was a daily tritual to take aromatic baths and afterwards receive a massage with aromatic oils made from rose, cedarwood, lilies, myrrh, Melissa, and cinnamon.
It has been said that her seduction of Julius Caesar, as well as Mark Antony, was accomplished by Cleopatra's lavish use of perfumes. This early form of aromatherapy massage was meant for relaxation, perfuming the body, conditioning the skin, and healing. During this time, the Egyptians' perfected their use of aromatic oils for beauty and healing and did not make a clear distinction t between perfumery and medicine. Quite often, one aromatic oil massaged into the body served' both purposes, thereby healing through the sense of touch and smell.
The Importance of Aromatherapy Massage
Aromatherapy massage combines the power of touch with the healing and beautifying power of pure and natural essential oils with their effects on the body, the emotions, and the psyche for a truly powerful and unique sensory experience.
The effectiveness of an aromatherapy massage is due to the pure essential oil's ability to penetrate the different layers of skin tissue. This allows the oils to quickly enter the blood stream and distribute their therapeutic benefits throughout the body. The power of an aromatherapy massage is in direct proportion to the quality of the essential oils used.
The true meaning of an aromatherapy massage is aimed at complete mind and body harmony. The synergistic and therapeutic benefits of massage are doubly beneficial when combined with aromatherapy.
Today, aromatherapy massage has become accepted in western medicine for relaxation, rehabilitation, and preventative health care. All spas, resorts, beauty, and wellness centres are offering aromatherapy massage as part of their massage repertoire.
When administering an aromatherapy massage, it is important to select your aromatherapy massage oils carefully. Essential oils can be sedative or stimulating. Many of the oils are antispasmodic and most of them are antibacterial. However, many products going under the aromatherapy label, today, contain synthetic or chemical fragrances that are devoid of any therapeutic benefits and may cause adverse reactions.
How Does Aromatherapy Massage Help?
Chronic conditions that often respond well to this work include: stress, insomnia, menstrual problems, menopausal symptoms, digestive problems, hypertension, muscle spasm, joint stiffness, low energy and tiredness.
How Does it Work?
During the massage, the aromas are perceived by the nerve endings in the nose, and signals are passed to the limbic system in the brain. An important part of the limbic system governs the pituitary gland, which controls hormone release throughout the body. Additionally, the small molecules of essential oils are absorbed through the skin. They then dissolve in the natural body fats and fluids. This allows them to flow around the body, to relax or stimulate, detoxify and regenerate.
What Happens in a Session?
Most aromatherapists will have a holistic approach to consultation. This provides the information necessary to select the appropriate essential oils for the maximum therapeutic benefit, and allows the aromatherapist to avoid any contraindicated oils. Pure, organic essential oils are blended into the massage oil, to create a unique mix for each person's individual needs.
This blend will frequently vary with each visit, depending on how the person feels, and how he responds to the therapy. The Aromatherapy blend is usually used with traditional Swedish massage. Other techniques such as deep tissue work may also be used.
What After-effects Can One Expect After the Session?
A good massage, while spreading the oils over the skin, is in itself a relaxing and stimulating experience, which enhances the effects of the chosen blend of oils. Massage relaxes the mind and nervous system yet stimulates the circulatory and lymphatic systems, improving the supply of nutrients to the body tissues and aiding the removal of toxins and waste products from them.
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