The use of essential oils has been on the rise lately, as more people discover the natural benefits that essential oils can have on our mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Their popularity is due to the many uses and preventative applications like reducing sleeplessness, elevating moods, warding off colds and flus, just to name a few. Essential oils are distilled liquids that are carefully extracted from plants. In their oil form they can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed into the skin, depending on the oil.
When used in conjunction with massage therapy, aromatherapy includes a combination of topical and inhaled treatment which can help relieve pain, anxiety, stress, depression, and aid in relaxation. The word aroma implies that the power is in the scent, which it is the scent that promotes positive thoughts and memories, but the touch of the therapist is just as important in creating the overall relaxed experience.
There are many conditions, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, that aromatherapy can help alleviate, including:
- Alopecia areata (hair loss)
- Agitation, possibly including agitation related to dementia
- Constipation (with abdominal massage using aromatherapy)
- Pain: Studies have found that people with rheumatoid arthritis, cancer (using topical chamomile), and headaches (using topical peppermint) require fewer pain medications when they use aromatherapy
- Itching, a common side effect for those receiving dialysis
Because individuals are more sensitive to some scents, or prefer the smell of one over another, it’s important for clients to consult with their massage therapist to find the right oil for their specific need.
Here are just a few examples of the different healing properties some essential oils are known for:
- calming – chamomile, lavender, geranium
- uplifting – ylang-ylang, clary sage, rose, neroli
- energizing – rosemary
- cleansing – rosemary
- decongesting – eucalyptus, pine, tea tree
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