Rub it in March 06 2015
We all know about the tremendous potential of essential oils to benefit us both physically and psychologically. They can improve our health, as well as our spiritual and emotional well-being. Ever since antiquity, man has used essential oils therapeutically and recreationally, as we know various ways to introduce them into our system, such as bath soaking, inhalation, or evaporation. Massage, however, has proven the most effective and pleasant method of application allowing us to absorb these magical substances through our biggest organ - the skin.
Massage itself is a great medicinal tool that has been part of many cultures and their traditional healing practices for thousands of years. In ancient India people believed that we become ill when we are in misbalance with our environment. They used touch therapy to help create balance. Ancient Chinese massage methods were established based on the idea that illness occurs when there is a deficiency or imbalance in the energy flow within our body. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, for example wrote: “The physician must be experienced in many things, but assuredly in rubbing.”
Massage offers great relief for many body ailments like pain, fatigue, and muscle tension. When used in combination with essential oils, however, it becomes much more effective as the oils and their application method mutually enhance each other for the greater benefit of the recipient. The potent combination of a healing touch with the therapeutic power of essential oils is unsurpassable for several reasons.
Although massage is performed superficially on the surface of the body, it affects the muscles directly underneath as well as on the underlying tissues, organs, and body systems. Physically, the different massage strokes increase circulation blood and lymph throughout the whole body leading not only to pain relief and relaxation, but also to effective distribution of the essential oils that our skin absorbs. The skin itself gets warmed up, increases its elasticity and opens up its cellular walls inviting all of the beneficial fatty acids, nutrients, and other substances into our bloodstream and from their within our whole organism. That is why, even if we help a particular body area, say a tense neck, by massaging it- the main effects of relaxation are felt in the entire body physically and emotionally. The mind and spirit are calmed together with the tight muscles. The accompanying feelings of well-being and connectedness represent the spiritual and energetic benefits of aroma-therapeutic massage.
Knowing the general effect of massage on the body, one can easily compliment its benefits with the proper blend of essential oils depending on the problems that need treatment. For example lavender oil has proven very effective antiseptic and antiviral aid for the body while it also relaxes the mind and calms the spirit. Therefore, it could successfully be used to treat muscle pain from an illness or prolonged exercise as well as a stress or anxiety disorder. Similarly, mint and rosemary improve our mood and memory, ease breathing and enhance concentration making them perfect if one has to study or focus on work. For deep depression, a full body massage with a blend of happy oils like orange, rose or geranium can do wonders.
The examples of aromatherapy massage blends are numerous, but one must remember that essential oils alone are very concentrated and powerful substances that must be diluted in base oils before coming into contact with the skin. There are different rates of dilution for the different oils and wide variety of carrier oils to choose from. Jojoba oil, for example, has similar structure to the sebum our skin naturally produces. That makes it perfectly emollient as it penetrates and nourishes the skin quickly and deeply leaving a silky feeling. Coconut and almond oils, on the other hand, are rich in vitamins and have complex fatty acids structures. This makes them ideal for general conditioning, dissolving essential oils and improving our skin’s elasticity. Almost any neutral oil can be used as a base, popular ones being olive, almond, grape-seed oil, but when making a choice, it is important that we consider unrefined, virgin oils before anything else.