Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic plant extracts and essential oils for healing and wellbeing purposes.
Each essential oil used in aromatherapy is said to have different properties. For example, some calm and make you feel relaxed while others are energising and refreshing.
Here are some widely used essential oils and their properties:
- Calming: chamomile, lavender, and geranium oil
- Uplifting: ylang-ylang, clary sage, rose, and neroli oil
- Energising: rosemary oil
- Decongesting: eucalyptus, pine, and tea tree oil.
Therapeutic essential oils, when combined with massage, can also be used to benefit people with the following conditions:
- Dementia symptoms
- Menstrual pain
- Supportive care for people with conditions such as cancer.
Many massage therapists have one or more premixed blends and will select the blend based on your health concerns. A massage for relaxation and stress relief would likely include lavender essential oil, while an uplifting massage may include rosemary essential oil. Essential oils are always mixed with a base oil, also known as a carrier oil, such as apricot kernel or macadamia nut oil. Your therapist may involve you in the selection process by asking you to smell various blends.
Other uses of essential oils
Essential oils are not just used in massage. Here are a few of their many uses:
- Diffusers – these are available in many forms, from the simple reed diffuser to lamp rings to ultrasonic diffusers. These all help to disperse the essential oils into to the air, creating a beautifully scented room with added health benefits!
- Inhaling – to really experience the benefits of an essential oil you can take a few sniffs straight from the bottle. You should be careful not to get any of the undiluted oil directly onto your skin. You can also use the steam method, by adding a few drops of oil to a bowl of hot water. Place a towel over your head and inhale the steam deeply for a few minutes, This is great with decongesting oils like eucalyptus. You can also add a few drops to a cotton ball or a piece of fabric, and inhale.
- On your skin – always dilute in a carrier oil first. You can then use a rollerball bottle to apply to your pressure points such as your temples and wrists. Or rub it into any ares of tension that you may have
- In the bath – you can add a few drops of essential oil to a carrier oil to create a bath oil. Or add to natural sea salt or epsom salt to create a soothing bath salt.