“I love the spark I get from ginger; often I need the tranquility produced by sandalwood; I might need a dose of the “feel-good” Jasmine; or I may need the musky warmth of nutmeg. All in all, there is something for everyone…”
The Essence of Fragrance
Early on in time we discovered that plants had healing properties and that if you knew how to use them they were an excellent remedy for most of the disorders and diseases. The essential oils, as the name suggests, really contain the essence of a plant´s fragrance and are extracted directly from the plant. The oils can have powerful effects on the body and mind and we can enjoy their properties either through our skin (in massage or baths) or through direct inhalation (breathing in the aroma). Aromatherapy is the “science” behind the belief that we can alter our emotional and physical well-being through fragrances.
Essential Oils in Massage
In massage, oil is used for making the massage strokes smoother but also for adding value to the massage itself as the skin absorbs the properties of the essential oil. We get a 2 for 1, if you will; physical stimulation or relaxation on the muscle from the strokes applied during the massage, combined with the nutrients from the essential oil that are absorbed through the skin. And of course we should not forget the captivating fragrances of the essential oils, that produce endorphins, and can have a powerful effect on our state of mind.
Let´s take a look at the properties of a few essential oils that are especially used in Southeast Asia. Remember to always mix the essential oil with a carrier / base oil (such as almond or coconut oil) when using it for massage, as otherwise it can be too strong for the skin. The good news is that both essential and carrier oils have beneficial properties and these can support each other! This list is only a brief overview of some of the many essential oils out there that are excellent to use when giving a massage…
Spice It Up With Ginger Essential Oil
Most of us relate the warm spicy fragrance of ginger as a highly effective remedy for nausea and motion sickness. But this plant also has stimulating and aphrodisiac properties that can even release suppressed sexual energy. In massage it releases muscular pain and aches and on a psychological level it enhances motivation and self-confidence.
Grounding Massage With Sandalwood Essential Oil
Deriving from and very much used in India, sandalwood has a lovely sweet syrupy fragrance that instantly relaxes and takes you into that dreamy state of mind. It is great to use for nourishing dry skin during a massage as well as in moisturising hair treatments. On a mental level it induces sleep and calmness, and is said to produce mental clearness (because it eliminates distractions).
Get Seduced By Jasmine
Jasmine – many times referred to as the “Queen of the Night” as its scent is strongest in the evening – stands for femininity and sweetness, and it oozes a heavenly sugary fragrance. Traditionally it has been used for relieving menstrual pains and mood swings and even labor pains. When used during massage, jasmine essential oil smoothens the skin and reduces stretch marks. It is also known for its uplifting and seducing properties and for producing euphoria!
Warm It Up With Nutmeg Essential Oil
Nutmeg, a seed of the evergreen tree from the Spice Islands in Indonesia, has been used for relieving digestive disorders for centuries. It aids the digestive system by breaking down fats and starches and also supports the endocrine system. Its sweet and musky aroma brings about spontaneity and joy, and helps to reduce stress. When used during massage, because of its warm quality, nutmeg essential oil stimulates the circulation and diminishes muscular aches.
I can´t say I have a personal favorite as it all depends on which mood I am in, or for whom I will use it. I love the spark I get from ginger; often I need the tranquility produced by sandalwood; I might need a dose of the “feel-good” Jasmine; or I may need the musky warmth of nutmeg…All in all, there is something for everyone so do explore all the essential oils out there and take your massage practice to a new level!
Wishing you all a beautiful day ahead,
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