Healing with Essential Oils: the Benefits of Aromatherapy Massage
by Teresa Xu
Picture yourself in the state of ultimate relaxation. Relax your eyelids and unburden your muscles. Release your mind of the dizzying stress involved in daily life. Hear the sound of flowing water, like a song playing on smooth pebbles. Comfort envelopes your body. All is fulfilled by the last touch: a scent of French Lavender.
Amazingly, aromatherapy with essential oils is an important modality in healing and relaxation. According to Oprah Magazine’s Aimee Lee Ball, fragrance molecules that are mixed in the air will travel to the interior of the nose where they encounter sensory receptors. These receptors emit a variety of signals directly to the brain that vary depending on the specific aroma. Scents can have intriguing effects on humans. For example, common oils such as lavender, rosemary, thyme, and cedarwood are used in massage to put the body into a state of relaxation and calm. Lavender reduces pain and mental unpleasantness. It improves the mood and, interestingly enough, helps make math computations easier and quicker. Rosemary is also a mood-lifter. Its scent promotes positive and cheerful feelings, and has been shown in studies to help prevent hair loss. Vanilla is very pleasant to smell and relieves nervousness. Chamomile, too, reduces anxiety and calms the nerves. Peppermint reminds the body to stay awake and alert. It is used to build strength, enhance oxygen consumption, and lower heart rate and blood pressure. Many athletes use peppermint to enhance performance.
When aromas and essential oils are applied during a massage, the therapeutic benefits can be significantly enhanced.
A good massage not only calms you down and helps you relax, it also brings you energy. Research shows certain blends of oils to possess smells that can be described as uplifting and energizing. For example, oils from clove, eucalyptus, Indian bay, and spearmint can be used by anyone who desires a more active lifestyle and more energy to live it. Essential oils used during a massage can bring out the best in you – a lively and healthy you. Who’s to say coffee is the only way?
Fragrances provide a fundamental part of our healing, both emotionally and physically. It is vital that we maintain a healthy balance throughout our work and play. Daily stress can lower spirits and energy for days to come, but a good massage with essential oils is in fact the cure to everyday life, and an amazing experience for anyone.
Teresa Xu is a junior at Wildwood School interning at Oasis Palisades.