What is Aromatherapy Massage?

Updated at: Jul 05, 2011
What is Aromatherapy Massage?

Highly concentrated plant oils are used for pain relief.

Tilottama Chatterjee
Home RemediesWritten by: Tilottama ChatterjeePublished at: Jul 05, 2011

Aromatherapy is the ancient science of healing, relaxing and energising using plants and their parts. Aromatherapy massage is massage therapy in which highly concentrated plant oils, known as essential oils, are added to the massage oil or lotion. These essential oils affect your mood and can also provide significant relief from pain.

Essential oils are highly concentrated and therefore very potent - different essential oils have particular properties which have specific effects on body and mind. For instance, bergamot and lavender are relaxing, while peppermint and eucalyptus will be used to decongest and energise. The essential oil will be mixed with a carrier oil like sweet almond, apricot kernel or grape-seed oil. For an aromatherapy massage, the therapist may use one or more (usually up to five) essential oils depending on your requirement.

Aromatherapy massage is especially suited to conditions involving stress. It will also help, by its calming effect, to improve emotionally related conditions. Other conditions that benefit from aromatherapy massage are:

  • Headaches
  • Digestive disorders
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Back pain

In certain cases, aromatherapy massage has been found to benefit a lot of cancer patients, particularly in the palliative setting.


How does Aromatherapy Massage Work?


The olfactory senses correspond to a portion of the brain which is known as the limbic system, which to a large extent, controls parts of the nervous system hat deal with emotions, as well as the release of certain hormones. The inhalation of essential oils causes the limbic system, which in turn affect beneficially, stress levels, heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and so on.
Essential oils used in aromatherapy massage are also absorbed through the skin. In addition, they have cosmetic properties and are sometimes used for skincare and hair care products. These oils can be blended together (this blend is called synergy), wherein the ‘synergy’ is more potent than individual oils.


Aromatherapy Massage Procedure

The therapist, after a consultation, will select the essential oils specifically suited to your need. He or she will then mix these with the massage oil (the carrier oil) or lotion. The resulting subtle aroma of the essential oils will fill the air around you during the massage. After the session, the therapist might suggest some essential oils or blends that you can use at home in between massage treatments.



In certain conditions and for some people aromatherapy massage is not recommended:

  • Immediately after surgery
  • Immediately after radiation or chemotherapy unless recommended by your doctor
  • People with heart disease should check with their doctor before going for a massage
  • People prone to blood clots. There is a risk of blood clots being dislodged
  • Pregnant women should check with their doctor and the massage should be done by therapists who are certified in pregnancy massage
  • People with infectious skin disease, rash or open wounds.
  • Massage should not be done directly over inflamed skin, abdominal hernia, tumours, unhealed wounds, bruises and areas of recent fractures

And finally, do remember to avoid having a heavy meal before going in for a aromatherapy massage.


Read more articles on Massage Therapy




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