Introduction to Aromatherapy

An aromatherapy massage is the ultimate relaxation therapy you can give yourself when you feel that you’re too tired or you have been suffering from chronic pain.

Aromatherapy uses essential oils not just to release the tension in your muscles by applying pressure on the soft tissue but to help your mind relax as well with the scent. You can even do this yourself at home.

Why Use Scented Oils?
We may not be conscious of it, but the way we smell can change other people’s perception of us. One such situation is whenever we pick a partner for a date. The other person’s natural scent, not the stink, can be appealing or repulsive to us. Smells give us information like our eyes, ears and skin do. That is why a food seems delicious even if you haven’t seen it yet or some perfumes smell sexy. They can alter our mood and perception of things. That is the principle aromatherapy relies on by using essential oils are taken from plants, trees and flowers.

Is Aromatherapy Safe?
The general rules in a traditional massage also apply in aromatherapy. You can’t have a massage for the following reasons: you’re full; you have just recovered from surgery and the doctor has not given your permission; you have cancer, varicose veins, inflamed joints or an infectious disease; you suffered from a stroke or heart attack; or you’re pregnant. You can still have aromatherapy if you have these medical conditions as long your doctor permits it.

Techniques Used
Instead of ointments and lotion, essential oils are rubbed on the skin. The oil is first mixed with a carrier oil such as avocado, jojoba, almond or extra virgin olive oil to dilute it. A small amount of the essential oil and carrier oil is mixed before it is applied.

You can also inhale essential oils using a diffuser. At home you can use a candle to heat up the oil so it evaporates. You can also use a mist diffuser. If you don’t have that either, you can use a bowl of hot water and a few drops of essential oil. Next, cover your head with a towel over the bowl to inhale it.

Essential Oils
There are a lot of essential oils that have been used for a long time. Some also have healing properties by themselves. The most common essential oils are the following:
1. Lavender is extracted from the flowers and is steam-distilled.
2. Chamomile is from the leaves of the flowering plant.
3. Bergamot from Southeast Asia has a citrus scent.
4. Jasmine is slightly expensive and is extracted from an evergreen plant.
5. Frankincense or olibanum is taken from the resin of a tree.
6. Sandalwood is expensive because it’s extracted from a mature tree’s wood chips.

Using essential oils however should be done carefully. Some can cause allergies or are poisonous. When using one at home, follow instructions on the label.

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