Scented oils can be incorporated into massage to give clients an exceptional experience that will leave them feeling healthy and stress free.
Here, we will discuss a few fundamentals of aromatherapy in massage. We will touch on oils that can make the massage experience more pleasurable as well as oils you should leave out of your massage.
What Is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is simply the general term used to describe the therapeutic use of scented oils. The fragrance of the oils can be used to promote health and to increase feelings of well being. Massage therapy is a popular way that people include scented oils in their overall health and wellness regimen.
Essential Oils are oils that are obtained directly from plants and other naturally sources. Essential oils are valuable because they retain the “essence” of their natural source. The oils are used for a number of applications that promote a healthy way of living.
While oils are an important part of massage therapy, not all massages use essential oils that have been extracted from natural sources. Some spas will use synthetic scented oils that have been formulated to smell like a natural source.
Generally speaking, these synthetic oils will not be of the same quality as essential oils.
Using Essential Oils For Massage
In massage therapy, we use base oils and carrier oils when applying essential oils directly to the skin. The base oil will be the actual essential oil that has been extracted from natural sources such as roots, plants, tree bark, etc. If applied directly to the skin, these base essential oils can cause skin irritations or allergic reactions.
The carrier oil solves this potential problem by diluting the essential oils. The carrier oil helps to “carry” the essential oils to the skin without the possible skin irritations that could occur if the essential oil were applied directly.
The amount of oil used during your massage will depend on the type of massage you are receiving. For example, you can expect to use a lot of oil for a Swedish massage while a deep tissue massage to relieve sore muscles will use less oil.
It’s recommended that you ask your massage therapist for information on the ingredient list for any body oil they will be using during our massage, especially if you believe you may have an allergic reaction to any of the oil’s ingredients.
It’s worth noting that there are, of course, other types of massage where you may not use oils at all. Sports massage, for example, will typically use cream rather than oils.
For a wonderful massage experience, you can also put essential oils into the air using an oil diffuser. Filling the air with natural fragrances can help create you unwind during your massage and get a greater sense of well being from the experience.
Carrier Oils You Can Use For a Wonderful Massage Experience
When searching for a carrier oil, look for one that compliments your skin type and doesn’t clog pores or cause skin breakouts.
- Fractionated coconut oil makes a great carrier oil.
- Rice bran oil makes an excellent carrier oil as it moisturizes the skin and does not clog pores.
- Almond oils, including sweet almond oil, has a light consistency that doesn’t leave you feeling greasy
- Jojoba oil
Handle Your Oils With Care
While some nut oils can be a great choice (see almond oils above), always perform your due diligence to make sure you’re not using an oil that contains something you’re allergic to. Nut oils in particular have the potential to cause allergic reactions.
Your choice of massage oils may not only protect you but can also protect others who may come into contact with oils that have been used during your massage.
For example, you may receive a massage using a nut-based essential oil that causes no allergic reaction for you. If, after leaving the spa, you go to the supermarket and handle products on the shelves you may leave behind oil residue on the items you touched. If a shopper with a nut allergy comes along behind you and handles the same products you touched they may be exposed to substances that are potentially harmful to them.
If oils don’t work for the massage therapy experience you’re looking for, there are alternatives. Massage oil alternatives include a number of lotions, creams, and body butters available that are great substitutes for essential oils.
Essential oils can greatly enhance the massage therapy experience but do your research! Because essential oils are sourced from natural products they have the potential to cause the same allergic reactions people may have to natural products like nuts or fruits.
If you’re ready for your next massage therapy experience visit us online or give us a call at 479-279-0106.
Written By Lance Montgomery‘
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