For many people, the ultimate relaxation technique would have to be the powerful combination of aromatherapy and massage. Aromatherapy is the use of scents to benefit your psychological and physical well-being.
When combined with massage techniques, aromatherapy can provide additional therapeutic and psychological benefits that further aid relaxation and healing.
Together, these two popular therapies increase healing power, relieve pain and reduce stress.
Essential oils have been clinically proven to have a soothing and relaxing effect on both the body and the mind.
Remembered Scents Trigger Emotions
There is a close relationship between areas in the brain responsible for scent, emotion and memory. Experts believe that certain aromas that trigger positive emotions in some people will have the adverse effect on others.
Choosing the appropriate scent that has positive personal associations for you is important. A happy-thought provoking smell will improve the level of healing experienced.
Aromatherapy massage stimulates the circulatory, lymphatic and nervous systems, positively affecting all areas of the body. This stimulation sends calming relaxation signals throughout the body and promotes the healing process.
Inhaling the Aroma
Inhalation is the fastest method of getting the properties of the essential oil into the body. Because of this, an aromatherapy massage usually begins with deep inhalations of the oil.
Both inhaling the essential oil molecules and absorbing them through the skin affects the limbic system. This system is an area of the brain that influences the nervous system. When the limbic system is positively affected it promotes beneficial changes to the mind and body.
Massage Improves Circulation
During aromatherapy massage the skin in warmed drawing the blood to the surface. Body circulation is enhanced, and this promotes elimination of toxins from the body.
Manipulation of the muscles releases tenseness and stress and enhances relaxation. The deeply relaxed feeling of calm and relaxation felt by some people puts them to sleep during the treatment.
After a massage the benefits can be immediately apparent. However, people who have regular aromatherapy treatment often find that previous underlying or long-term problems have also been eliminated or improved. A full body aromatherapy massage once a week is an ideal way to keep the body relaxed and free of toxins.
Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils
It is always best to buy essential oils from a reputable supplier. Ensure they are therapeutic grade oils. Therapeutic grade oils are a higher quality than commercial grade oils. They are free of toxins and chemicals, are steam distilled, unfiltered and undiluted.
Synthetic essential oils will not have the same therapeutic effects. Fragrances made from chemicals lack the therapeutic properties of essential oils. Synthetics may mimic the scent, but do not have the same biological responses.
Essential oils are very potent and are usually required to be diluted with a carrier oil. The degree of dilution needed can depend on intended use – some beneficial oils can irritate the skin in if not diluted sufficiently.
A carrier oil moisturizes skin and reduces the strength of the essential oil. Some excellent and popular choices are coconut, avocado, olive and almond oils. Water or other liquid will not dilute essential oils and should not be used.
Give Yourself a Home Aromatherapy Massage
By experimenting with different aromas and techniques you can find the right combination to successfully treat yourself at home. Choose the best essential oils that are known to promote relaxation.
There is a wide variety to choose from. Choose one that has an appealing relaxing scent for you or mix several to obtain the right aroma. Some of the best essential oils for relaxation are bergamot, chamomile jasmine, lavender, marjoram, rose and valerian.
Make sure you have mixed the essential oil with a carrier oil and done a patch test. Doing a patch test on a small area of skin ensures you have not chosen any essential oils that may cause you to have an allergic reaction.
Start at your feet and work up towards your head. Using light massage strokes give attention to key areas in the body that are known to heighten the relaxation experience. These areas are the feet, the legs, the wrists and temples.