As a massage therapist you’ve embarked upon a career of well-being. Your initial studies have opened up a world with many different paths and modalities, one of which is the use of aromatherapy for your practice. But why should you commit to learning the ins and outs of essential oils? What does it bring to your massage therapy practice?
The term has been used and misused over the years that those of who do practice aromatherapy feel compelled to share some basic information. Sonia Rodriguez, author of A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Essential Oils, shares this:
Essential oils and aromatherapy. The two go hand in hand, but why? Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils for therapeutic applications that can impact or influence emotion, physical well-being and aesthetic well-being.
One note before we move on: Always, always, always consult an expert if you do not have advanced training in essential oils and aromatherapy.
It’s time to take back the ancient healing art of aromatherapy through the use of high-quality essential oils.
Here are 8 great reasons to add essential oils to your massage therapy practice:
1. Essential oils will delight your customers.
We’re big believers in enhancing your client’s sensory experiences and creating a welcoming environment through the five senses. Many people are sensitive to strong smelling cologne, perfume, and other fake fragrances, so you always need to ask your client what he or she wants. But top-quality essential oils when used properly can be soothing in many ways to even a sensitive nose. You’ll see more about that later.
2. Some essential oils are known to help relieve stress.
If massage is good for anything (and we know it’s good for a LOT of things), it’s proven to be excellent for managing and relieving stress. These essential oils are recognized for their stress-relieving effects, listed with their Latin names:
- Lavender,( lavandula angustofolia) or vera, steam distilled, often referred to as the “Swiss Army Knife” of aromatherapy.
- Chamomile, Roman (Chamaemelum nobile) steam distilled, – is often used to help stress, frazzled nerves and anxiety. It is also has anti inflammatory properties so is useful for injuries or arthritis.
3. Essential oils can be used on children
If your practice includes young people, consider learning more about aromatherapy applications for children. Just to reiterate, in all cases of using essential oils consult an expert if you are not one yourself.
Essential oils can be used on children and we make a distinction for infants and children. Application of essential oils for babies and children is approached the same way medications are administered. The “dosage” is considerably less. My rule of thumb is to always dilute essential oils prior to application on skin and this is especially true for children.
Rodriguez recommends the book Aromatherapy For Babies And Children by Shirley Price for specific recipes and applications.
4. Essential oils can revive and lift your spirits
- Peppermint (mentha piperita) steam distilled – It’s strong and minty scent is indicative of its properties. Stimulates alertness without make you jittery, when diluted and applied to temples it helps tension headaches and the same diluted preparation when massaged over your stomach helps with stomach aches.
- Orange (citrus aurantum) cold pressed- sweet orange oil, most citrus’s are uplifting and mood brightening. Refreshing scent of freshly peeled orange will put a smile on most people.
- Rosemary (rosmarinus officionalis) steam distilled- Rosemary is for remembrance, it stimulates memory , it’s refreshing minty scent also helps stimulate circulation and when used in a massage lotion or oil is a great way to refresh tired muscles that need to keep going.
5. Fight winter colds and coughs with essential oils
Your clients may prefere to relieve allergy, cold, and cough symptoms through the use of regular massage. Check out essential oils that work as natural cold medicines, like these:
- Eucalyptus (eucalyptus globulus) steam distilled- Is a known decongestant and expectorant, it helps open up respiratory passages and has a refreshing invigorating scent.
- Melaleuca-Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) steam distilled – the Aborigines of Australia have for centuries used Tea Tree for many medicinal purposes. Studies have found it to have very strong antiviral and antifungal properties. You can use it just about everything.
6. You don’t have to become an expert… You just need to find the right product brand who is committed to excellence.
If you’re not ready to commit to mixing and diluting your own essential oils, there are two great companies we can recommend who are commited to finding the best essential oils for your needs. They create their own blends of lotions and essential oils. I’m sure there are more out there, and we’d love to get your feedback in the comments below!
Pure Pro – their Synergistic Essential Oil blends offer a range of inviting scents.
Alchemista – the owner and essential oils expert at Alchemista, Sonia Rodriguez, has many years of experience sourcing the best essential oils and you can’t go wrong with their products.
[Ed.: 2020 – No longer in business.]
7. You can use these tried and tested mixtures to create your own unique product for your clients, depending on what they need.
Here are just a few recipes to get you started, straight from Sonia Rodriguez herself! We recommend you begin by reading this beginners guide, and some of the resources listed in the guide as well, if you are brand new to the essential oils game.
- Lavender, 10 drops
- Chamomile Roman, 3 drops
- Sandalwood, 3 drops
Add to 8 oz of your favorite carrier oil, or lotion. Mix well and allow to rest a minimum of 1 hour prior to use. You can also add the same number of drops to a diffuser and it is also effective to help calm.
- Peppermint, 8 drops
- Lemon, 4 drops
- Bergamot, 4 drops
Add to 8 oz of your favorite carrier oil or lotion for a full body massage it is extremely refreshing and even cooling. The strong mint scent is enhanced and elevated with the citrus notes of lemon and bergamot. Please note we are using citrus’s and exposure to direct sunlight should be avoided for a couple of hours. (You can substitute the lemon for another of your favorite citrus essential oils they all will work wonderfully with this blend.)
Antibacterial / Antiviral
- Tea Tree, 5 drops
- Oregano, 5 drops
- Spearmint, Rosemary, or Peppermint 5 drops
Add to 8 oz of your favorite carrier oil or lotion for a great foot massage. This combination can be added to water for a spray as well as your favorite carrier oil or lotion. It contains two of the most powerful antibacterial and antiviral essential oils known to date – Tea Tree and Oregano. However, you are welcome to cut back the Oregano oil to 2 drops since it is a very powerful scent and always makes me hungry when there is a lot of it in the air. For some reason, I don’t think many of us like smelling like lunch when we are on the massage table.
Mix it up and have fun! Let us know what you’ve created and what you’ve tried in your practice that you and your clients love!
Comments from original Massamio post:
Thank you! I use essential oils often in my practice for my clients as well as myself! This article was refreshing to read and I will be sharing it with my students! — Posted @ Tuesday, January 21, 2014 12:44 AM by Lis @ Eternal Wellness Massage
I am a firm believer in the benefits of essential oils. I incorporate them in almost every session. — Posted @ Wednesday, January 22, 2014 5:58 PM by Timothy E. Marable, AOS, CMT
Love my aromatherapy! This time of year I use peppermint, wintergreen, spearmint and eucalyptus for sinus congestion. Clients love and appreciate the extra attention! Thanks for the info, guys! — Posted @ Wednesday, January 22, 2014 7:06 PM by Cindy Frahm