Aromatherapy Massage

History of Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatic products were being used as far back as 4,500BC. A form of Aromatherapy using infused oils was being practised 5,000years ago in Egypt.The combination of aromatic oils and massage was very common in all ancient civilizations and formed a part of medical practice for some 4,000 years.

Egypt was where aromatics really grew in all forms, medically, in perfumery, cosmetology and for religious ceremonies. Pure essences and aromatics were used for embalming the dead to keep the body in good condition after death for its journey to a new life. Mummies were found centuries later in perfect state of conservation in spite of heat and time, due to the anti-bacterial and antiseptic powers of the essences.

The Chinese were also using aromatics at about the same time as the Egyptians and for similar purposes.

In the 15th century the Italians and French developed the art of perfumery. The earliest records of the use of essential oils in England were the 13th century. Glove makers used odoriferous oils and perfumes on the gloves to mask the body odour of the wearer and perfumer’s rarely succumbed to illnesses or such diseases as cholera because nearly all essential oils are very good antiseptics!

As time moved on into the 19th century, a more scientific approach came into play. Eventually preparations such as morphine and later heroin, cocaine and many more in which the essential oil of a plant was displaced, therapeutically by its alkali, which came to be regarded as the vital ingredient. The antiseptics, too, began to replace oil in the treatment of wounds, and so a near complete oblivion of essential oils occurred.

It’s only in the last decade that aromatherapy has begun to make progress in Britain.

Aromatherapy is an ancient art, which involves the use of natural plant oils for healing, cleansing, and relaxation.

What is aromatherapy?

The art of aromatherapy is used to restore the harmony of the body and mind. Oil’s and essences are harnessed from plants, flowers and resins, and are applied using massage or essence producing products, such as oil burners and hot water.

The pure essential oil is the vital ingredient in any type of aromatherapy treatment. These oils are very different from day to day oils such as cooking oils. They are oils that are much more concentrated and are lighter than water and highly flammable.

Essential oils are measured in drops as they are very concentrated and tend to evaporate quickly. To reduce evaporation the oils tend to be mixed with other ingredients such as massage oils and water.

Essence is a natural living substance of a plant. The extraction of essences is a very delicate operation and can be very time consuming.

The essences can be extracted from anywhere from in the plant, such as the petal, stem, seeds, stalks etc

Essence oils are easily penetrated into the skin due to their high concentration. As these essences are evaporated they are also inhaled via the millions of sensitive cells in the nasal passage. These cells send messages to the brain and therefore enhance both physical and psychological well being.

Many people mistakenly think of aromatherapy as a ‘beauty’ treatment, but nothing could be further from the truth. Aromatherapy is recognised by many health professionals and practised in hospitals, GP’s surgeries and hospices all over this country. GP’s have been referring patients to complementary therapists since 1992. Quite simply they know that aromatherapy works. Aromatherapists today are trained to a very high standard and have passed exams in all their subjects including human anatomy and physiology.

What is aromatherapy massage?

Aromatherapy massage is massage therapy but with highly concentrated plant oils, called essential oils, added to the massage oil or lotion.

Aromatherapy combines the use of essential oils and therapeutic massage. The oils, which come from plants, are highly concentrated and very powerful. Essential oils possess natural healing properties – without harmful side-effects. Aromatherapy is helpful for many health conditions, but there are two areas where it excels:

Stress. We all know that some stress is good for us. But when the balance is tipped, stress can very quickly take hold and start to affect us adversely. Some people will present to an Aromatherapist with stress, whilst others will present with the physical complaints that arise from it; ie. disturbed sleep, anxiety, mood swings, skin rashes, headaches, fatigue etc. A compromised immune system may mean that they are ‘picking up’ all sorts of colds and infections. Essential oils exert a subtle influence on the mind and combined with massage and the care of a good therapist, they offer a truly holistic, gentle and natural way of achieving balance in your life.

Bad Backs.

Stress is also responsible for many bad backs; tensed muscles in the upper back, neck and shoulders lead to spasm, pain and discomfort. Aromatherapy treatments help to relieve the pain and tension and re-educate you about your back, help with your posture and remind you to relax . Many bad backs are caused by muscular problems. Massage is very effective here, it can break up tissue adhesion, improve muscle tone, boost the circulation and increase feelings of well-being. It helps to eliminate toxins and is also useful for all those who enjoy sports.

Aromatherapy is very effective for the relief of the following conditions: depression and nervous tension, fatigue (including chronic) and ME, menstrual problems, pregnancy and the menopause, poor circulation, high blood pressure, respiratory conditions including asthma and sinusitis, rheumatism, arthritis and joint mobility, skin conditions.

How does aromatherapy massage work?

The nostrils are attached to a part of the brain called the limbic system. The limbic system controls emotions and influences the nervous system and hormones.

When you inhale essential oil molecules, messages are transmitted to the limbic system and affect heart rate, stress level, blood pressure, breathing, memory, digestion, and the immune system.

Essential oils are also believed to be absorbed through the skin.

Each essential oil has different healing properties. For example, some calm while others energize. Here are some widely used essential oils and their properties:

  • calming – chamomile, lavender, geranium.
  • uplifting – ylang ylang, clary sage, rose, neroli.
  • energizing – rosemary.
  • cleansing – rosemary.
  • de congesting – eucalyptus, pine, tea tree.

Why do people get aromatherapy massage?

Aromatherapy massage is particularly suited to conditions involving stress or improving emotionally-related conditions.

  • Stress and stress-related conditions such as insomnia.
  • Headache.
  • Digestive disorders.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  • Back pain.

Here is a few examples of the research that is being done on aromatherapy massage:

  • Self-massage significantly improved symptoms and well being in people with lymphedema. It also slightly, but not significantly reduced limb volume. However, carefully chosen aromatherapy oils did not appear to be more effective than massage without aromatherapy oils.
  • Sixteen first-time mothers received a 30-minute aromatherapy massage two days after delivery, while 20 mothers received standard post-postpartum care. The aromatherapy massage group had significantly decreased ratings of post-postpartum blues and anxiety and had increased vigour and attachment to their babies.
  • Research suggests that patients with cancer, particularly in the palliative care setting, are increasingly using aromatherapy and massage.

What can I expect during an aromatherapy massage?

After the consultation, one or more essential oils are selected based on what you need and are mixed in with the massage oil or lotion.

The subtle aromas of the essential oils fill the air around you during the massage.

After the massage, the massage therapist may suggest a blend that you can use at home in between massage treatments.

Who can benefit from Aromatherapy Massage?

Aromatherapy massage is a truly holistic therapy, taking into account the mind, body and spirit of the person seeking treatment.

Aromatherapy has it’s roots in the most ancient healing practices of mankind and uses the power of pure essential oils, specifically blended to your particular requirements, to address in-balances of both the body and the mind. These natural oils, when used in conjunction with specific massage techniques, deliver complete relaxation and therapeutic benefits.

Nowadays aromatherapy is an accepted complementary practice amongst many health professionals and many people are enjoying the benefits of this powerful and natural therapy.

The results of aromatherapy are very individual. No two persons are affected by the same essential oil in exactly the same way. Even the same person can be affected differently by the same oil depending on surroundings, time of day or mood.

Aromatherapy massage is particularly helpful in the treatment of many conditions. It is suitable for people of all ages, from tiny babies to older people, men and women. It has been found to be particularly helpful for the following conditions:

  • Anxiety, stress, depression and nervous tension.
  • Fatigue (including chronic) and ME.
  • Insomnia and poor sleep patterns.
  • Headaches and migraines.
  • Low immunity system.
  • Poor circulation.
  • Menstrual problems, pregnancy and the menopause.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Respiratory conditions including asthma and sinusitis.
  • Muscular aches and pains, including before and after sports and workouts .
  • Skin conditions and skin care.

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