While this field of study dates back to ancient civilizations including the Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans; there has been a resurgence in the popularity of aromatherapy here in the states in recent years.
We hear a lot of different things, from good to bad, when it comes to the use of essential oils in massage or in our daily lives. So in today’s article, we are going to cover some of the history, benefits, things to avoid, and reasons why adding aromatherapy to your massage routine is a great idea.
By the end of this short article, you’ll be able to spot a quality essential oil from a mile away and be able to hold your own in a conversation with even the most discerning of enthusiasts.
Interesting enough, the term “Aromatherapy” did not exist until the 1930s. A French chemist by the name of Gattefosse invented the word after testing lavender oil as a way to heal a burn he received during an experiment.
Prior to the coining of the phrase, there have been a wide variety of examples throughout the ancient world of the use of essential oils as a method of healing.
While you can trace the use of aromatherapy as a mood booster back to China, Egypt has long been seen as the originator of the distillation process that is used to draw the oils from the plants. They often would distill oils from plants such as clove & cinnamon.
The Greeks claimed that they had been given a “Gift from the gods for perfumes” and experimented with these concentrated oils from plants to create different scents & healing treatments.
In today’s modern culture, aromatherapy is often touted as an organic means to treat mild ailments from headaches & migraines to congestion & allergies. There are entire textbooks dedicated to this field, so we will touch on some of the most popular uses of essential oils later on in the article.
When considering what essential oils to use during aromatherapy you just need to keep this one phrase in mind
“What starts right, ends right”
Whether your cooking dinner or picking out essential oils to use in an aromatherapy treatment, you want the best ingredients possible in order to achieve the best outcome.
The three main things to look for in a reputable oil are:
The right combination of oils diffused into the air has been known to treat a wide range of ailments. Since we are not doctors, we will never claim that aromatherapy should be a replacement for any medication you may be taking. Though it is our opinion that if we can achieve the same desired outcome without the use of synthetic medications, we are game.
Say when treating a simple headache, we are given the choice between lavender oil or a Tylenol. If both achieve the same desired outcome of eliminating the ache, why not pick the option with less laboratory synthesized chemicals in it?
Below are a few of the many common things aromatherapy can help with:
Next time you stop in for your appointment be sure to speak with your therapist about what you may be dealing with at the time and they will be sure to recommend a blend of oils that are right for you. You can also check out our some of our service that involves our therapeutic grade oils such as Raindrop Therapy or our Scalp And Sinus Reliever.
As you get more into using essential oils in your routines there are a few things to avoid. The number one thing we want to caution against is ingesting your essential oils. We have seen a lot of false information out there about ingesting oils to treat ailments. Here is some quick science, from Nautre’s Gift about why internallizing oils not a good idea:
“Our bodies were not designed to metabolize the oils…period…not in their distilled form. Some people will think nothing of adding multiple drops of an essential oil to a glass of cold or warm water, and equating it to, let us say, an herbal tea or tisane…where in actuality they are drinking the equivalent of gallons of the tea in that one bottle of water…is this a good thing? NOT ALWAYS.”
Nature’s Gift also states ”Remember that the vast number of oils sold in the US are sold for the food and flavor industry. Legally, if an oil is to be sold for internal use as flavoring it must be redistilled. Therapeutic grade oils are never redistilled, period. Any vendor advertising that his oils should be ingested is selling food grade (redistilled) oils, or is in violation of the FDA.”
When using aromatherapy at home you want to be sure to not leave your diffuser on a constant stream. Many of them these days come with a feature that pulses the scent at intervals in order to not overload your senses. If you are constantly exposing your senses to the same oil or blend it can desensitise you and the treatment will become less effective over time.
Use caution when pregnant or breastfeeding. Essential oils are great to help ease the discomforts of pregnancy but there are some oils you will want to avoid; those include Basil, Cedarwood, Clary, Coriander, Hyssop, Jasmine, Juniper, Marjoram. Oregano, Myrrh, Peppermint (which should also be avoided while nursing), Rockrose, Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme.
For additional information regarding essential oil safety try this book: https://naturesgift.com/product/essential-oil-safety-2nd-edition-by-robert-tisserand-and-rodney-young/
In conclusion, aromatherapy makes a wonderful addition to any massage as well as your daily life. It offers a simple, effective, and drug-free way to treat many ailments. Stay tuned for an article form us on the many more benefits of essential oils outside of aromatherapy!
P.S. You can add on aromatherapy to any of the massage service we offer for just $10! Be sure to ask your therapist ahead of time.