Herbal Magic: Essential Oil Massage

Combine herbs and massage to melt stress away.

| September/October 2004

In dealing with the stress of modern life, what could be a more enjoyable therapy than receiving a massage? Massage melts away worries and relaxes tight muscles. Varying degrees of pressure applied to tight muscles relieves them of spasms and reduces lactic acid, which causes stiffness. In addition, massage influences brain activity, including alpha and beta waves and endorphins, in ways that directly reduce stress, depression and pain. Considering the number of diseases asso-ciated with stress, massage becomes an irresistible component of great health.

Besides reducing emotional and physical stress, massage offers other health benefits. It increases the flow of lymph to transport away waste, which helps prevent and treat any infectious disease, from colds to bronchitis or urinary tract infections. Massage also boosts blood circulation, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to individual cells to improve overall health. In addition, massage tones organs through stimulation of acupressure and reflexology points.

It’s hard to imagine a better scenario. But add aromatherapy in the form of herbs to any massage and the pleasure and therapeutic results are doubled. The combination of herbs and massage is so successful that hospitals are studying — and using — aromatherapy massage to relieve stress and anxiety, and to promote healing.

If you’ve ever given or experienced a massage, you know that slow, relaxed breathing allows muscles and a tense mind to relax. I’ve seen clients slip into deep relaxation so quickly during an aromatherapy massage that they seem to melt into the massage table. I like how this deep breathing comes automatically as the client begins to inhale the herbs’ aromas. Even bodywork techniques that require little or no massage oil, such as acupressure or foot reflexology, are enhanced when a small amount of aromatherapy massage oil is placed on the fingertips.

Essential Oil Facts

The magic of aromatherapy is in essential oils. Derived from medicinal herbs, just a few drops of these oils turn almond oil (or any other mild vegetable oil) into instant massage oil. Essential oils work in two ways. The natural aroma of essential oils causes emotional and physical responses via the brain. Plus, they penetrate the skin to underlying tissue and the blood system to distribute their therapeutic properties. Massage oil offers the safest way to use essential oils, which are so concentrated that they rarely are used undiluted.

For massage, the most important essential oils are those that produce relaxation, reverse insomnia and reduce depression, anxiety and pain, including headaches and stiff joints. The most popular essential oils for massage are those that do double duty by relieving both muscle pain and stiffness while calming emotional distress. Examples are chamomile (Matricaria recutita), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and marjoram (Origanum majorana). Some essential oils often found in massage oils for their antidepressant, relaxing aromas are bergamot (Citrus bergamia), geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), neroli (Citrus reticulata), rose (Rosa spp.), sandalwood (Santalum album) and the tropical flower ylang ylang (Cananga odorata). Aromatherapists suggest that clary sage (Salvia sclareas) be used to encourage emotional release. Various combinations of these oils can be mixed together to combine their properties and create a pleasing scent.

12/8/2013 7:30:35 AM

I agree Herbs & Massage can help to melt stress away. Do check our herbal remedies @ http://www.thesungarden.com/health-beauty/herbal-remedies.

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