By Ross Ashcraft
Have you ever smelled something wonderful and then moments later recalled something you had not thought about in years? Maybe you walked down a hospital hallway and suddenly you remembered visiting Grandma when she was sick. Or perhaps you smelled pot-roast and started thinking about mom and how much she means to you. Smell is an amazing sense and is considered the most power initiator of recall. It has the ability to literally make us time travel through our own recorded memories. This week’s topic of Aromatherapy uses this powerful and natural response to enhance a massage experience.
The main component in Aromatherapy is essential oil. Essential oils are oils extracted from the bark, roots, or leaves of plants. These oils are the delivery system for an aromatherapy experience. Two things are happening when we are exposed to Aromatherapy through the use of essential oils. The first is a chemical response where the skin reacts to the volatile nature of the oils. The oils chemically change the skin and surrounding tissue causing the blood flow in that area to change. An increase in blood flow then distributes the chemicals response to the rest of the body. The reactions in the body can swing from sedation or excitement to pain relief or release of toxins.
The second reaction is through an emotional response the client receives from the aromas. As mentioned earlier these smells can cause an extremely pleasant or unpleasant reaction. Obviously the working therapist wants to bring up pleasant experiences in their session. Try asking the client at the beginning of the session about the smells that they like the best. Perhaps you could even provide a list of oils for them to choose. This list should contain the typical emotional and chemical responses that the essential oils typically inspire.
Finally, I’ve provided a few recipes for you to try out. Please test them and come back and comment on any responses you may have discovered. I recommend using essential oils as a regular component of your massage practice. It is a wonderful way to enhance a client’s experience and get that all important re-booking! Thank you, Katina Lashard for doing the initial research for these aromatherapy recipes.
- Recipe for a Relaxing and Calming Bath:
- 2 drops Lavender
- 2 drops Bergamot
- 2 drops Cedarwood
- Recipe to relieve Nervousness:
- 6 drops Geranium
- 4 drops Basil
- Recipe for a fresh, clean smell in the air:
- 1 drop Cedarwood
- 3 drops Pine
- 2 drops Rosemary
- Recipe to induce Sleep:
- 2 drops Chamomile
- 2 drops Lavender
- 2 drops Neroli
I’ve also listed a good reference site for your continued research.