Aromatherapy massage is used for a variety of different reasons, including relaxation, pain management, and improved mood. These are also some of the basic benefits of massage therapy. Adding essential oils is thought to enhance such benefits.
Aromatherapy is often added to a traditional massage session as an extra service. The massage therapist might diffuse an essential oil in the room during your session or they might add a few drops of oil to massage lotion and apply it directly to your skin.
Aromatherapy massage uses
Massage therapy itself consists of the manipulation of muscles and lymph nodes through professional pressing and rubbing techniques.
Some types of massages include:
hot stone massage
Essential oils can be added on to any type of massage for aromatherapy purposes.
Massage therapy has been linked to short-term decrease in physical aches and pains and improved mood. Adding an essential oil for an aromatherapy massage can potentially enhance the effects.
For example, if you have aches and pains from depression, then adding a mood-boosting oil like orange could also make you feel better.
What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils for certain benefits. Examples include lavender, orange and bergamot, and eucalyptus. These “aromas” are all plant-based derivatives from herbs, tree extracts, and flowers. Essential oils are extremely concentrated so to be used correctly they should be diluted into milder oils, humidifiers, or lotions.
The overall purpose of aromatherapy is meant to improve your physical and mental well-being. More consumers are testing out essential oil products than ever before by diffusing them at home or diluting them for skin usage.
Does aromatherapy work?
Scientific research about the health effects of aromatherapy is mixed or lacking.
According to the NCCIH, stimulating oils to boost mood have been found effective in some studies. Examples of these include lemon, orange, and tangerine. However, lavender, though widely considered safe, was found not to affect mood in that same study.
Another study looked at the effects of chamomile and massage therapy for anxiety relief. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the results showed a greater decrease in anxiety symptoms after massages with chamomile versus massage without aromatherapy.
Overall, the NCI notes that aromatherapy has shown benefits for the following uses:
Aromatherapy massage risks
There are generally few risks associated with aromatherapy massage. One consideration is possible sensitivity to the essential oils used during your session. Your massage therapist should always dilute the oil with massage lotion or a carrier oil before applying to the skin.
If you’re unsure about a particular oil, ask the therapist to diffuse it in the room instead of applying it directly to your skin.
Possible symptoms of an allergic reaction to essential oils include: