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Published on: 13 Mar 2018 by newdirectionsaromatics
Derived from the natural human disposition to offer comfort to another through gentle touches and smoothing strokes or rubs, the tradition of massage was the first and simplest form of health care. This system of skillful kneading, pressing, stroking and twisting of tissue has come to be a naturopathic remedy known as Massage Therapy, which is reputed to naturally soothe injuries and address medical conditions. It sustains general wellness by enhancing circulation, which prompts the release of the body’s natural sedatives. This in turn releases muscle tension and joint pain, which consequentially diminishes anxiety, generates a feeling of ease and well-being, and reduces the stress that is known to cause the immune system to weaken. Massage, then, has direct and comprehensive advantages for all body systems, including the circulatory, muscular, nervous, lymphatic, and immune systems. It can address headaches, stress-related insomnia, digestive disorders, soft tissue strains, sprains, and damaged skin, and it can enhance the complexion.
Compared to water, fat-soluble substances – namely essential oils and the carrier oils that dilute them – permeate the skin more easily, making them more effective moisturizing agents. This is due to the miniscule size of their molecules, which effortlessly pass through the outer layer of the epidermis and eventually make their way to the bloodstream. What facilitates the skin’s absorption of these beneficial oils is a higher rate of circulation that leads to an increase in body temperature, both of which occur at the time of a massage. The introduction of essential oils to massage was a concept initiated in 1960s by the French biochemist and cosmetics chemist Marguerite Maury. When essential oils are incorporated in Massage Therapy, it becomes an Aromatherapy Massage.
In this massage therapy technique, the Aromatherapist or Massage Therapist selects one or more essential oils that exhibit the therapeutic properties that are best suited to address the patient’s state of body and mind, which are influenced by lifestyle, habits, stress levels, medications, and nourishment. Next, the therapist applies diluted essential oils, usually in the form of a massage oil blend, directly to the parts of the patient’s body that require treatment. Throughout this pampering process of tissue manipulation, the essential oil aromas become airborne and thus positively influence the patient’s mood, turning the ordinary massage into a luxurious and therapeutic regimen that eases the mind.
An aromatherapy Massage may be done by an individual on the self on any part of the body, such as the back, shoulders, legs, feet, and arms. Alternatively, it may be done on a patient or massage partner. It is recommended that the person giving the massage relieve his or her stress before beginning a massage on another individual, as it is believed that nervous tension is a harmful stress and negative energy that can be passed between people, which would thus contradict the concept of a relaxing experience. Aromatherapy massage techniques include Reflexology, Gliding or “Effleurage,” Fanning, Feathering, Kneading, Friction or “Frottage,” and Percussion or “Tapotement.” For a step-by-step Aromatherapy Massage procedure, massage safety tips, and a guide to the safe dilution of essential oils, visit New Directions Aromatics.