Aromatherapy is a holistic type of treatment that is also called essential oil therapy, and it utilizes natural plant extracts to promote the health of the body and mind. Essential oils are made by pressing or steaming various parts of the plant, which ultimately results in the fragrance.
Essential oils are used in a variety of ways and for aromatherapy, they are used either by being added to a diffuser or they are placed on the skin during a massage. Essential oils can also be incorporated into hot/cold compresses, inhalers, bathing salts, facial steamers or clay masks. It is important to note that the oils are not meant to be consumed.
There are almost 100 different types of essential oils, but there are definitely oils that are more popular than others, mostly due to their benefits. Many people see the benefits of aromatherapy since it can help with numerous different symptoms, including alleviating headaches, reducing your stress and anxiety, helping with insomnia, managing pain, increasing your immunity, improving digestion and easing muscle pain. Your massage therapist can go over the different types of essential oils with you prior to your massage and can help you choose which will work best for your specific needs.
The most popular types of oils are:
- Peppermint: Peppermint is known to help alleviate headaches and tension, and can also be used as a digestive aid
- Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus can be used to help with a cough and can help to clear mucus out of your chest, it can aid with certain respiratory conditions, including asthma and sinusitis, and can help control your blood sugar level
- Lavender: Lavender is often found to be very calming and can help reduce symptoms of insomnia and stress
- Lemongrass: Lemongrass is known to reduce stress, depression and anxiety. It also has antioxidant qualities and anti-inflammatory properties
- Sandalwood: Sandalwood can reduce anxiety, stress and can improve your sleep. It also can help to increase your focus
- Tea Tree: Tea tree oil can help with certain skin conditions, including acne. It can also help with skin inflammation
- Ylang-Ylang: Ylang-Ylang can help to alleviate headaches and can also help with nausea
The quality and purity of the oil are very important and it is essential to work with a massage therapist who has vast knowledge and experience utilizing essential oils. The effects of the oils can also vary from person to person, and should not be used in place of other treatments. If you are experiencing a medical or mental health concern, it is advisable to discuss treatment with your doctor and ask if they believe you would experience the benefits of aromatherapy.