Integrating essential oils with massage
If ever there were two healing modalities that went hand in hand, I would say they would be aromatherapy and massage. Massage improves circulation and lymphatic drainage, increases energy flow, balances the nervous system and helps to bring peace and mental alertness. Essential oils can greatly increase this effect by oxygenating the blood and reducing pain and inflammation.
Whether you have a massage therapy practice or simply use massage on your partner, family and friends there is a benefit to incorporating therapeutic grade essential oils. If you are a practitioner then essential oils will add considerable value to what you give your clients. Consider this: you can be massaging a patient/client with an essential oil that will help reduce their discomfort and inflammation, while at the same time having an essential oil such as lavender diffusing in the room that relaxes and calms. And as a massage therapist, essential oils can even add another income stream to your practice.
So what kind of oils might you use with massage?
This far is from being an exhaustive list and much will depend on the intended purpose of the massage, but here are some oils you may wish to consider. Note: you will want to mix these with a carrier oil such as jojoba or almond oil as some of these oils are quite warming and can cause skin irritation. You can either create a blend or apply the essential oil topically and then immediately apply the carrier oil to the area being massaged.
Copaiba (Copaiba reticulata/langsdorfii)
A very powerful anti-inflammatory, but also stimulates the circulatory system. Works well with muscular aches and pains, stress, nervous tension and also helps elevate a person’s mood. See Essential oils of the Amazon for more information on Copaiba.
Odour: Type: Base Note (5-20% of the blend); Scent: soft, sweet, balsamic.
A great anti-inflammatory essential oil. Has analgesic properties. Also anti-bacterial, anti-infectious, antiseptic, and anti-viral. See also Essential oils from Down Under.
Blend classification: Enhancer
Blends with: Geranium, Lavender, lemon, sandalwood, juniper, lemongrass, melissa, pine and thyme.
Odour: Type: Top Note (5-20% of the blend); Scent: fresh, medicinal, woody, earthy
Anti-inflammatory essential oil. Also anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-infectious. See also Essential oils from Down Under.
Odour: Type: Middle Note(50-80% of the blend); Scent: slightly camphorous, sweet, fruity.
Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)
Jasmine is uplifting and produces feelings of confidence and optimism. It also has antispasmodic properties.
Blend classification: Equaliser, modifier and enhancer
Blends with: Bergamot, frankincense, geranium, helichrysum, lemongrass, mandarin, melissa, orange, palmarosa, rose, rosewood, sandalwood and spearmint.
Odour: Type: Base Note(5-20% of the blend); Scent: powerful, sweet, tenacious, floral
Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma or J.scopulorum)
Anti-spasmodic, helps to reduce muscular aches and pains. It’s also a detoxifier and antiseptic. Juniper has a frequency of 98 MHz and can help evoke feelings of love.
Blend classification: Equaliser
Blends with: Bergamot, all citrus oils, cypress, geranium, lavender, melaleuca (tea-tree), rosemary
Odour: Type: Middle Type (50-80% of the blend); Scent: sweet, musky, tenacious
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus)
A great oil to use with repairing connective tissue such as tendons and ligaments. It works well with marjoram oil to rebuild and restore tissue.
Blend Classification: Enhancer and equaliser
Blends with: Basil, cedarwood, clary sage, eucalyptus, geranium, jasmine, lavender, marjoram, melaleuca and rosemary.
Odour: Type: Top Note (5-20% of the blend); Scent: Grassy, lemony, pungent, earthy, slightly bitter
Safety data: Can cause skin irritation.
Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
A muscle relaxant, anti-inflammatory and soothing for cartilage tissue. Marjoram also has anti-bacterial, anti-infectious, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic and sedative properties.
Blend classification: Enhancer and equaliser
Blends with: Bergamot, cedarwood, chamomile, cypress, lavender, lemongrass, orange, nutmeg, rosemary, rosewood and ylang ylang.
Odour: Type: Middle Note (50-80% of the blend); Scent: Herbaceous, green, spicy
Safety data: Avoid during pregnancy
Oregano (Origanum compactum)
An anti-inflammatory oil and is very warming when applied topically. Also has anti-spasmodic, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, antiseptic and anti-viral properties.
Blend classification: Enhancer and equaliser
Blends with: Basil, fennel, geranium, lemongrass, myrtle, pine, thyme and rosemary.
Odour: Type: Middle Note (50-80% of the blend); Scent: Herbaceous, sharp
Safety data: Can cause skin irritation.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
High in menthol, peppermint is cooling and anti-inflammatory. It enhances the effects of other oils and also has analgesic, anti-bacterial, antiseptic and anti-spasmodic and anti-viral properties. For more information on peppermint see my post The wonders of peppermint oil.
Blend classification: Personifier
Odour: Type: Middle Note (50-80% of the blend); Scent: Minty, sharp, intense.
Safety data: Use with caution during pregnancy and when dealing with blood pressure.
Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora)
Relaxing to the body, this oil is soothing to the skin and promotes elasticity. Also has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-infectious, anti-parasitic and anti-viral properties.
Blend classification: Modifier and Equaliser
Odour: Type: Middle Note (50-80% of the blend); Scent: Sweet, woody, floral aroma
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
An anti-inflammatory oil. Also has properties making it highly anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic and anti-viral.
Blend classification: Equaliser and enhancer
Blends with: Bergamot, cedarwood, juniper, melaleuca, oregano and rosemary.
Odour: Type: Middle Note (50-80% of the blend); Scent: Fresh, medicinal and herbaceous.
Safety data: Can be irritating to the skin. Avoid during pregnancy and use with caution when dealing with someone with high blood pressure.
Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides)
An anti-spasmodic oil that is beneficial for arthritis, rheumatism and sprains. It is locally warming when applied topically. Has properties that make it useful for people who have suffered emotional trauma or shock.
Blends with: Clary Sage, jasmine, lavender, patchouli, rose, sandalwood and ylang ylang.
Odour: Type: Base Note (5-20% of the blend); Scent: Heavy, earthy, balsamic, smoky, sweet undertones
Safety data: Use with caution during pregrancy
Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
An anti-inflammatory oil with locally warming properties. Useful for both the joints and tissue. Has analgesic, anti-rheumatic, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic and dis-infectant properties also.
Blend classification: Personifier and Enhancer
Blends with: Basil, bergamot, chamomile, cypress, geranium, juniper, lavender, lemongrass, marjoram, peppermint and rosewood.
Safety data: Avoid during pregnancy and if one is epileptic. Also to be avoided by people who are allergic to methyl salicylate. Test a small area of skin first.
Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
An energising and uplifting oil. It has anti-depressant, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic and sedative properties.
Blend classification: Personifier and Modifier
Blends with: Anise, bergamot, cardamom, chamomile, cumin, geranium, grapefruit, lemon, marjoram, sandalwood and vetiver.
Odour: Type: Middle to Base Notes (20-80% of the blend); Scent: Sweet, heavy, cloying, tropical floral with spicy balsamic undertones.
For more information on these oils or where to source them, contact us.
Till next time!
Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.
Essential oils for pain relief, October 23, 2012
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