Aromatherapy has regained a lot of momentum in recent times, as independent research continues to deliver evidence of the role essential oils play in promoting wellness. There are many antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties in different oils, and they’re proving more and more to be as effective as synthetic medication—but without the side effects. Drawing on professional skill and the best of what nature has to offer, aromatherapists and aromatherapy massage therapists can measurably reduce the symptoms of many health problems, and physically and psychologically improve our wellbeing.
What aromatherapy is
If you’re like many of your peers, you might not even know what aromatherapy is. If you’re under the impression that it’s about nice smells, you’re half right—it does smell amazing. But it’s much more than that: even the simple act of smelling essential oils that are derived from plants (and absorbing them into your body via your olfactory system) can cause beneficial changes in the brain that positively influence how our bodies and minds work. The essential oils used in aromatherapy can also be used in aromatherapy massage, delivering powerful health benefits as they’re absorbed into our skin—including treating headaches, muscle and back pain, digestive disorders, insomnia, and even mental stress.
Essential oils are made by distilling or extracting different parts of different plants: they can come from flowers, skin, leaves, roots or even resin. The ancient Egyptians made essential oils by soaking plants in oil and filtering out the plant matter through linen, and the basic process is still pretty much the same. Most essential oils we use now are known to have any combination of antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, or anti-inflammatory properties.
There are literally hundreds of essential oils available just in Australia, and virtually limitless blends you can make with any combination of them for specific health purposes. Some are well known, and are readily available in stores or as common ingredients in body products. But there are many lesser known ones that are just as potent, and can deliver noticeable health improvements in everything from nervous tension to PMS. Some of the most valuable health-giving essential oils include:
- Tea tree oil: useful in addressing acne, fungal infections, athlete’s foot, bites and stings, sore throat, and ear infections
- Lavender: known to improve sleep, improve the complexion, and treat headaches and body pain
- Ylang Ylang: lowers blood pressure, nervous tension, and pain
- Peppermint: helps with nausea, heartburn and indigestion
- Geranium: useful when applied to fungal infections, haemorrhoids, body pain, fatigue and is known to reduce bad moods
- Frankincense: helps reduce the symptoms of colds and flu, asthma, acne, poor circulation, gastrointestinal conditions (like IBS), and joint and muscle pain
When combined with the powerful effects of professional massage, these essential oils are the secret to optimum health.
What aromatherapy massage can do for you
Massage delivers many health benefits on its own. But when we add essential oils into the massage oil, improvement in many physical and psychological health issues can be significantly enhanced.
Aromatherapy massage combines the benefits of physical stimulation and the topical delivery of health-giving essential oils. Manipulating muscles and tissue releases tension and improves lymphatic and blood circulation, and essential oils deliver therapeutic benefits straight into the same systems. The patient also benefits from inhaling the oils, making the whole treatment physically rejuvenating, mentally invigorating, and sometimes so relaxing that they actually fall asleep.
Aromatherapy massage is an effective treatment option for many health problems, and an important tool in promoting wellness. It can be used to:
- Reduce muscle and tissue tension
- Assist healing from injuries
- Relieve back pain
- Improve the immune system
- Improve the function of the lymphatic and circulatory systems
- Reduce blood pressure
- Support skin health and tone
- Remove toxins from the body
- Manage reproductive issues
- Balance hormones and support the endocrine system
- Improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety
- Reduce fatigue and improve energy levels
- Improve sleep
- Improve concentration
The health benefits of aromatherapy are so vast it’s impossible to list them all. There are also many different ways to achieve them, and a skilled professional might draw on a number of techniques besides massage—like inhalation via a diffuser, lotions and creams, and therapeutic compresses—to deliver the oils. Professional aromatherapists are trained to conduct a thorough health assessment before deciding on the best solution to suit your unique lifestyle and health needs, so you can get the most from your treatment.
What to expect from an aromatherapy massage
During an initial consultation, your professional aromatherapy massage therapist will collect information from you about your health issues and wellness goals. They’ll choose single essential oils or a blend of oils known to improve your specific concerns, and either mix them into an oil or lotion or use a pre-blended formula. You benefit in three ways: from the physical manipulation (which is relaxing and pain-relieving), by absorbing the compounds in the oils through your skin, and by inhaling the oils. Your therapists might even give you a blend to use at home in between massage treatments to help you reach your wellness goals. There are some health conditions (and states like pregnancy) where extra care should be taken with essential oils; your therapist will be able to tell you which oils and techniques are appropriate for you, and which ones to avoid.
Whether you’re excited by the possibility of improving your chronic health problems without the side effects of traditional medicine, or you’re just looking for some health-giving relaxation, you’ll find the right professional expertise at Life Force health solutions. Contact us anytime for more information about our aromatherapy treatments, and we’ll be happy to be a part of your journey towards a brighter future of health.