Massage therapy has been used, in some form, since 3000 BCE in India, where it was considered as a sacred act involved in natural healing. Massage therapy was a practice passed down through generations to heal many illnesses, injuries, and relieve pain.
In today’s generation, massage is considered as complementary to many medical treatments. There are many known benefits of massage, including reducing stress nd muscle tension, and is paired with the physical therapy of sports injuries to reduce pain and increase mobility.
To maximise the benefits of massage therapy, professionals complement it with essential oils. When you use natural essential oils for massage or for their scents in diffusers, humidifiers, and other products, it is known as aromatherapy. Aromatherapy, depending on the type of essential oil you use, is thought to help in inducing relaxation, increasing energy, and other benefits. Aromatherapy massage may help reduce pain and discomfort brought about by issues like chronic pain, menstrual cramps, and fatigue.
What Are Natural Essential Oils?
Natural essential oils are extracted from different plants and it contains compounds beneficial to the human body. A plant’s natural oils are extracted through the following ways:
- Steam Distillation:
- The most common process of extracting oils.
- Steam is directed to the material and vaporises the lighter chemicals in the material.
- Used to extract natural oils from citrus fruits.
- Supercritical CO2 Extraction:
- CO2 is used as solvent to extract oils containing a wider range of chemical compounds found in the plant.
When used for aromatherapy massage, natural essential oils enter the body through inhalation and application to the skin.
Best Natural Oils for Massage
There are many different natural essential oils available on the market today. Here are some of the best ones you should use for aromatherapy massages:
1. Fractionated Coconut Oil
Compared to regular coconut oil, fractionated coconut oil is lighter and less greasy, which is why it is a great option as a massage oil. Fractionated coconut oil is stickier than regular coconut oil and thus allows for less sliding. Consequently, it is best used for short, targeted strokes on spots experiencing particularly high tension.
2. Hemp Oil
There are many benefits of using hemp oil for aromatherapy. Hemp oil seed is nourishing to the skin as it contains antioxidants that keep your skin soft, smooth and supple. It is a great choice for people who have skin conditions like acne and inflammation.
3. Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil is a wax extracted from the seed of the jojoba plant. Like the fractionated coconut oil, jojoba wax does not feel greasy on the hands and, unlike other natural oils, it does not stain your sheets. It is a good option for people who are prone to back acne because it has antibacterial properties.
4. Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is also a non-greasy massage oil that won’t leave your skin feeling dense and oily. The oil is rich in fatty acids like linoleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid, which helps keep your skin healthy.
Frankincense is a beneficial natural oil used to help relieve stress and anxiety. It also helps boost your immune system as it soothes cough with its anti-inflammatory properties. Frankincense is best paired with lavender oil.
6. Apricot Kernel Oil
Apricot kernel oil is rich in vitamin E and is easily absorbed into the skin. Although the oil is slightly greasy upon application, it will not leave an oily feeling in your skin afterwards.
7. Lavender Oil
Lavender is one of the widely used natural essential oils because of its fresh aroma that induces a calming effect once it is inhaled. Lavender oil promotes sleep and aids in pain relief. It also has helpful compounds that boost your stamina and improve energy levels.
8. Geranium Oil
Geranium oil which comes from the flower, which is known for its rejuvenating effects on the body. In traditional medicine, the oil helps improve blood circulation, stimulate nerves, and contract muscle tissue. Many women also use this essential oil to help manage menstrual and menopausal symptoms.
9. Coriander Oil
Coriander comes from the cilantro plant and it gives a warm and soothing effect when applied to your skin. The oil helps promote healthy digestion and blood circulation. It helps relieve cramps and pain in the throat caused by coughing.
10. Bergamot Oil
Bergamot oil has a pleasant and spicy aroma similar to Earl Grey tea. It has been used for many years in Italy to relieve stress and manage many skin issues. It helps manage feelings of depression as it helps improve mood and reduces anxious feelings.
There are many reasons to get massages regularly. In your next massage session, make sure you let your therapist use your chosen essential oil to experience its added benefits. When choosing the right essential oil, you need to check if you are allergic to certain plants, fruits or nuts before using them because it may cause harm rather than healing. Keep in mind that aromatherapy massages are only complementary to medicine, and you should always consult your general practitioner if you have other health concerns