Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to promote healing and a feeling of well-being and relaxation in the recipient.The essential oils are extracted from the parts of herbs and plants and contain all the properties of the plants themselves. There are several ways of applying the oils, including adding the oils to your bath, or inhaling them, but the most popular and effective is through massage. When you inhale essential oil molecules, messages are transmitted to the limbic system and affect heart rate, stress level, blood pressure, breathing, memory, digestion, and the immune system. Essential oils are also believed to be absorbed through the skin.
In choosing the oils for an aromatherapy massage, the aromatherapist generally creates a synergistic blend of three oils which are then added to a carrier oil. A synergistic blend means that when a particular set of oils are combined together, they enhance each other’s properties, and make a pleasing scent.
Each essential oil has different healing properties. For example, some calm while others energize. Here are some widely used essential oils and their purported properties:
- calming – chamomile, lavender, geranium
- uplifting – ylang ylang, clary sage, rose, neroli
- energizing – rosemary
- cleansing – rosemary
- decongesting – eucalyptus, pine, tea tree
During aromatherapy massage, the skin is warmed and the blood drawn to the surface, increasing circulation and encouraging the elimination of toxins from the body, which has the consequence of speeding up recovery time from any illness or injury. The manipulation of the muscles continues the process, whilst at the same time releasing tense knotted muscles by dispersing the build up of lactic acid which often occurs after exercise.
As the circulation increases, the oils are absorbed through the skin and carried round the body, allowing their healing effects to permeate to all the major body organs. By the time the massage is over you should be deeply relaxed, and feeling calm. Sometimes people even fall sleep.