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Take Care With Aromatherapy + Massage

11 Mar 2016

One of the nicest ways to enhance a massage session is by using beautifully fragranced oils to compliment your regular massage oil or fill the air with relaxing scent. Remember aromatherapy is a lot more than just a pretty smell.

Enhanced Symptom Relief

aromatherapyRespected medical organizations like the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the American Cancer Society have begun to accept aromatherapy as a great supplement for traditional medical care in recent years.  Many hospitals, such as Regions here in the Twin Cities include aromatherapy for in-patient care.

It has helped many people treat their insomnia, aches, pains and nausea effectively. Severe headaches and migraines have also responded favorably to it as well. You can even find it in over the counter cold medicines. VapoRub, for example, has eucalyptus as one of its active ingredients.

How Does it Work?

The essential oils responsible for the medicinal effects are usually applied to the skin in the form of lotion or bath, or being inhaled after diffusion. They trigger smell receptors, which then send chemical messages to the limbic system. That, in turn, influences the mood and eases turbulent emotions.

Specific oils are used for certain maladies. For example, if you want to relieve anxiety or tense muscles, use lavender and rosemary. Peppermint and ginger help treat fatigue and nausea, while eucalyptus opens up the airways, which is why it’s so popular for cold remedies.

Hazards

Although aromatherapy is generally safe, it’s still important to know of the risks of doing it yourself.

Essential oils are highly concentrated, which means they must be diluted correctly in order to prevent skin irritation. Allergies and asthma attacks are also always possible, so always do a patch test before applying anything to the skin. When over used, they can also slowly accumulate in the body and eventually develop toxicity. For example, eucalyptus can accumulate in the liver.

Oils can also break down over the course of months to a year. Make sure they’re stored properly and check them for cloudiness to make sure they’re still usable.

We include training in aromatherapy as part of our elective course, Spa & Resort Techniques, available to students in our three diploma programs. You can learn more in our continuing education class (Aromatherapy Basics) coming in March at our Minneapolis massage school. This class is open to anyone.  If you are a massage or shiatsu therapist, follow up with Essential Oil Therapies for Bodyworkers in April.

 

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