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Relief Massage Therapy

What is Aromatherapy? 

Aromatherapy involves massage using oil that has been blended with the essence of a plant.  They have been used therapeutically since biblical times, and are extracted by a variety of methods according to whether the fruit, leaf, or stem of the plant is used. Vast amounts of raw materials are required to produce even small quantities of essential oil, and their harvesting and lengthy production make them expensive.

Psychological studies have shown that scent is capable of adjusting a person's mood, and it is this quality that makes aromatherapy effective.  By blending an essential oil with a base massage oil, or conducting massage in an aromatic atmosphere, the effects of massage can be intensified.

How Do Essential oils work?

Essential oils can be applied topically to the skin. Common examples include applying a blend that contains black pepper or ginger  essential oil to reduce arthritis pain and improve flexibility, or applying German Chamomile  essential oil to treat eczema.

How does this work? Our skin is somewhat permeable. The active chemicals in essential oils are absorbed just like the ingredients in common pharmaceuticals such as hormone replacement therapy cream and nicotine patches.

Factors That Increase Skin Absorption

Different factors can affect the absorption of essential oils through the skin. If you massage the area first, it will increase circulation to that area, thereby causing an increase in absorption of essential oils. Heat will likewise increase circulation and thus enhance absorption.

Some researchers report that essential oils may be more readily absorbed from skin locations with greater concentrations of sweat glands and hair follicles, such as the genitals, head, soles, palms, and armpits (Battaglia, 2003).

Another way that essential oils enter the body is inhalation through the nose or mouth. Common examples include inhaling eucalyptus  essential oil when you have a cough or inhaling peppermint  essential oil to reduce fatigue or nausea.

The Olfactory System

The olfactory system includes all physical organs or cells relating to, or contributing to, the sense of smell. When we inhale through the nose, airborne molecules interact with the olfactory organs and, almost immediately, the brain.

Molecules inhaled through the nose or mouth are also carried to the lungs and interact with the respiratory system. Thus, inhaled essential oils can affect the body through several systems and pathways.

Interaction with the Limbic System (Emotional Brain)

During inhalation, odor molecules travel through the nose and affect the brain through a variety of receptor sites, one of which is the limbic system, which is commonly referred to as the "emotional brain."

The limbic system is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance (Higley & Higley, 1998). This relationship helps explain why smells often trigger emotions. Knowing this, we can hypothesize how inhalation of essential oils can have some very profound physiological and psychological effects!

If you would like Aromatherapy added in your massage, please let your therapist know and together a right blend will be chosen that will best suite your needs