Your Guide To Massage & Essential Oils
The chances are that most people reading this will have experienced the joys of receiving a massage at some point in their lives. Perhaps you get a massage regularly, or maybe you're thinking of trying it for the first time soon.
One thing's for sure, a soothing massage using quality essential oils is probably the best thing you can do for your mind, body and soul.
Massage therapy has been around for thousands of years and appears to have originated in China and Egypt. These ancient cultures recognised not only the calming effect of massage but also its many health benefits.
In India, massage therapy played an important role in Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda, which means 'life health', combines the 'healing touch' with meditation and aromatherapy.
The use of massage spread throughout the world and has probably never been more popular than it is today. As you would expect, coming from so many different cultures, there are several different forms of massage.
Some of the best known and most popular are Swedish, Remedial, Sports, Deep Tissue, Lomi Lomi, Relaxation, Shiatsu and Aromatherapy. You may also come across Myotherapy - used to assess and treat soft tissue injury and pain affecting mobility - and Lymphatic Drainage - a gentle treatment designed to relax the nervous system and boost the immune system.
Boost Natural Healing Process
Another favourite is Reflexology. This uses pressure points in the feet and hands - that relate to our major organs - to stimulate your body's natural healing process.
The major benefit of massage for most people is the immediate feeling of calm and deep relaxation. Massage stimulates the body to release endorphins - the brain chemicals that make us feel happy - and reduce our stress hormones - adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisol. Massage therapy is really good if you suffer from anxiety and/or depression.
Reduce Pain and Inflammation
On a physical level massage can reduce muscle and joint pain, boost circulation, increase mobility and flexibility, speed up the recovery of soft tissue injuries, increase mental alertness, boost the immune system and so much more.
Most massage therapists use oils as part of the treatment. This isn't just because they smell good! The base oil allows the therapist to use long sweeping movements over your body, whilst pure essential oils are added to help heal whatever ails you.
Here are our 5 favourite essential oils:
This one is hard to beat as an excellent all-rounder. Lavender Oil is extremely soothing and can help with stress, anxiety and insomnia. It can be used for just about anything, from headaches, hives and hysteria to indigestion and high blood pressure.
Geranium Oil is both relaxing and uplifting. It's also very good for the skin. It can boost circulation and improve the nervous system.
An affordable substitute for the more expensive neroli, Mandarin Oil smells divine and is brilliant for anxiety and insomnia. It can also reduce the appearance of scar tissue and is gentle enough for children.
Frankincense Oil has long been considered a precious essential. It is anti-inflammatory and antidepressant and is often used for grounding. It can soothe coughs, improve respiration and promote relaxation or meditation.
Patchouli Oil can soothe the nervous system and relieve depression and stress. It is also beneficial for skin conditions, including allergies, eczema, acne and wounds.
NOTE: Not all essential oils are suitable for everyone. Always seek advice on which one is best to use and check with your doctor first if you are pregnant or have an existing medical condition.