What is Aromatherapy?
It is the art and science of using pure essential oils which are extracted from natural botanicals (leaves, stems, fruits, flowers, leaves, bark, seeds, berries or roots of plants, trees and herbs), to calm, balance, and rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit. Concentrated essential oils carry the same physiological, psychological and spiritual healing properties as the plant from which they are derived from.
What is an Aromatherapy Massage?
An aromatherapy massage is typically a massage that is done with pure essential oils added to either the massage lotion or the massage oil. Depending on the oils used, it can help to promote relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, ease muscle soreness, and create a sense of well-being. You can go to my Massage Rates page to read about and book an aromatherapy massage.
What are the different Essential Oils that are used?
There are many essential oils available to use. Some of the more common and popular ones are Lavender, Geranium, Sandalwood, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Patchouli, Ylang Ylang, and Peppermint, to name just a few.
Click on my Essential Oils page where you’ll find links to pages for each of the oils. I will be adding pages as I have time, so check back often, or better yet, sign up for my newsletter so that I can let you know when I update my site. You can also subscribe to my RSS feed, by clicking on one of the buttons on the left side of the page.
Aromatherapy is more than six thousand years old. The Egyptians used essential oils for such things as massage, skin care, healing preparations, perfumes, and even embalming.
In ancient India, Ayurvedic medicine included using Sandalwood oil with massages. In Greece, Hippocrates recommended using oils of Marjoram, Cypress and Myrrh for aromatic baths and massage.
Essential oils of Rose, Jasmine, and Chamomile were used as tonics in China.
During the Middle Ages in Europe, Thyme, Rosemary, and Lavender were used as antiseptics. Popular perfumes were Neroli, Rose, and Lavender. Frankincense and Sandalwood were used to enhance prayer and meditation.
With the advent of modern medicine, natural remedies were pushed aside in favor of synthetically produced chemicals. The therapeutic use of essential oils began it’s revival in France in the early 1900’s when a chemist by the name of Rene-Maurice Gattefosse burned his hand quite badly. Seeking relief from the pain, Gattefosse submerged his hand in a container of pure lavender oil. He was amazed by how quickly the pain was relieved, and that it healed without any infection. He had already been studying the effects of essential oils when the accident happened, and while continuing his studies afterwards coined the term “Aromatherapy”.
How Aromatherapy works
The sense of smell is one of the most powerful of the senses. The olfactory nerves process odors through the limbic system, which connects to all other parts of the brain and in particular to the thalamus and hypothalamus from where our whole endocrine system is controlled. Smells can affect memory, emotions, self expression, the whole adrenal system, our internal environment, and sexual system. This is why a scent can be euphoric, aphrodisiac or stimulate clear thinking. In addition, inhaling essential oils can have a direct impact on the health of the respiratory organs, for example during cold season.
Ways to use Aromatherapy
- Skin Care
- Spa treatments
Aromatherapy using pure essential oils benefits us in three major ways
- Physiologically: As a stimulant, relaxant; anti-infective; or to relieve pain and spasm.
- Topically: Treat different skin types by toning, moisturizing, stimulating, and acting as an antibacterial/anti-fungal.
- Psychologically: Because essential oils emit fragrance, they effect the psyche, causing mental, emotional, and behavioral changes.
Essential Oils are very concentrated and in most cases should always be diluted in oil or lotion before using on the skin. Avoid contact with the eyes or mucus membranes. If this happens, you can flush the area using a vegetable oil or milk. Do not use water, as that will drive the oils deeper in. Some of the essential oils are phototoxic, such as Bergamot, Orange, and Lemon, and should not be used directly on the skin before going out in the sun.
Return to Lacey Massage Therapy home page.