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The Fitness Zone

The benefits of Aromatherapy Massage
May 17, 2011

Have you ever smelled a perfume either on yourself or someone else that made you feel differently? Perhaps it made you feel happy or maybe even slightly relaxed? You may have experienced the benefits of aromatherapy at work.

Not everyone is into perfume or lovely smelling bath products and moisturisers. But what is it about lovely perfumes and products that makes us feel so nice? It might have something to do with the brand feeling luxurious and buying your little piece of the celebrity package, but it's also about how it makes you feel. When we spray on our Calvin Klein Beauty in the morning, we’re instantly wrapped in a bubble of floral loveliness, happy and ready to face the busy day. Or, perhaps you have a favourite shower gel that you use in the shower in the morning that just makes you feel wide awake and ready for anything.

How does aromatherapy work?

Aromatherapy works in a similar way to perfume by stimulating the olfactory senses to elicit positive emotions from the use of essential oils. People can like or prefer one unique smell over the next. It really is a matter of personal taste as to why you like bergamot, but not ylang-ylang or sandalwood! However, whether you like a smell or not, studies have looked at essential oils used in aromatherapy to see how these oils are benefitting people and their health and wellbeing.

Aromatherapy massage oil is prepared using tiny amounts of essential oils mixed with a carrier oil such as grapeseed, coconut or jojoba oil. The client normally chooses the oil they are drawn to typically to induce a heightened emotional response such as euphoria, happiness or peace. However, various oils can elicit different emotional and behavioural responses, too. For example, lavender is used to promote relaxation, so you might want to get someone to drive you home after your massage! As well as lavender, bergamot, ylang-ylang and chamomile, oils can help reduce stress, decrease depression and help relieve the symptoms of anxiety. This blend is therefore perfect for those who are looking for a relaxing massage to ease away stress and tension, or to help them feel soothed and to get a better night’s sleep.

The combination of touch used in the massage and essential oils for the olfactory senses provides stress and pain relief, helps to promote sleep and energises the body and mind. Massage can help with muscle rejuvenation and recovery from injury, as well. Just like the essential oils mentioned for stress relief and anxiety, there are a wide range of oils to help you feel awake and energised. Such oils include orange, geranium, mandarin and juniper oil. Using these oils can help stimulate the brain to feel more alert and help with concentration levels, to give you a real feel-good pick-me-up for the rest of your day.

Choosing the right aromatherapy oil

Of course, which oils you choose will depend on what you hope to achieve with your massage. Choosing the right oils means you can gain more from just a basic massage and the oils can help you even more so. Aromatherapy has been used for many years to help create different emotional and behavioural responses in people and as a massage therapist, you may learn the basics of aromatherapy and what oils will be best suited to your clients.

Oils for aromatherapy don’t necessary have to be massaged into the client for them to receive the benefits either. Oils can be used in diffusers or scented candles around a room in order for the client to smell and sense their aroma. This type of diffusing may be great for your own massage room as the whole room with then feel calm and relaxing for any clients who enter. In fact, you will be pleasantly surprised at how different a room can feel after it is infused with a particular scent. Even just the smell of lavender wafting through the massage room can be enough to provide a deep sense of relaxation and stress relief.

Aromatherapy massage as a rewarding career option

Massage therapy, along with aromatherapy, is truly an interesting and varied career option. If you think you would enjoy learning more about becoming a massage therapist or knowing more about aromatherapy, gaining a qualification in massage therapy can put you into a career that you will enjoy and love. Providing a deeper sense of well being for others can be truly rewarding, and learning about this therapy can lead to many different career paths and options. As a personal trainer, you may want to add massage therapy to your list of qualifications in order to have a broader range of scope to your skill set to help many clients. Having the knowledge of massage therapy can help you to gain more clients and add variety to your work. There is much to learn before becoming a massage therapist, so it’s always important to do some research and look into whether it’s the right career choice for you. 

This content is not intended to be used as individual health or fitness advice divorced from that imparted by medical, health or fitness professionals. Medical clearance should always be sought before commencing an exercise regime. The Institute and the authors do no take any responsibility for accident or injury caused as a result of this information.

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