Welcome back - we hope you are enjoying your summer!
We are now offering a fantastic essential oil treatment so it seems like this is the perfect time to talk about aromatherapy. What is it? How does it work? Why are we combining it with massage? Those are some of the most common questions we hear. Let’s answer them here.
Aromatherapy uses essential oils (oils created from the distillation of plants) to bring about changes in the body or mind. According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, aromatherapy is “a natural, non-invasive modality” and it is “designed to assist the body’s natural ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain itself”. But how does aromatherapy do that?
Actually, there are a couple of different things that contribute to the “how” of aromatherapy. First, our scent receptors - all 5 to 6 million of which occupy a space about the size of a postage stamp, by the way (Marieb’s Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology) - actually originate from the brain itself. They also have a close relationship with the parts of the brain that tie into memory and register emotion. That is why scents can be such strong emotional or memory triggers. Not sure about that? Take a second and think about the smell that just whisks you away to your grandma’s kitchen, your favorite vacation spot or that perfect moment with a special someone. Aromatherapy makes use of these scent-associations. Of course, since we all have different experiences, that means that a particular oil may have slightly varied results from person to person.
The other thing to consider when thinking about essential oils is that, when applied to the body, they are directly interacting with our largest organ, the skin. Essential oils are a chemical smorgasbord and each of those chemicals (anywhere from 80 to 300 individual components, depending on the type of oil) interacts differently within the body. We won’t get into the chemistry here (we’d like for everyone to get to the end of this entry and chemistry seems to have the ability to send some folks running for the nearest exit) but just be aware that, as the oils are absorbed by the skin, they create a chemical reaction in the body.
Now, why combine aromatherapy with massage? Robert Tisserand, a leading aromatherapy educator and author, summed it up as “a caring, hands-on therapy which seeks to induce relaxation, to increase energy, to reduce the effects of stress and to restore lost balance to mind, body and soul.” Sound familiar? All of those things are also benefits of massage! Combining these two healing practices increases the impact of both; adding essential oils to a massage can be like adding a little “oomph!” to the bodywork while massage presents a fantastic opportunity to further the interactions of the oils with the body. The addition of oils also allows us to further tailor our sessions with our clients. For more information on the “how”s and “why”s of aromatherapy, please check out what NIH has to say in their clinical guide, Aromatherapy and Essential Oils. If you are still curious, delve into their references; they have some excellent sources listed! Have questions or comments? Please give us a holler in the comments section below.
If you want to experience an aromatherapy treatment, now is the perfect time! Raindrop Therapy, the newest addition to our treatment menu, is being offered at a reduced rate during the month of September. The oils used in a Raindrop session are selected for their abilities to detox the body through improved circulation, reduction of inflammation and release of physical, mental, and emotional toxins. Raindrop also helps reduce stress, support the immune system and facilitate restoration of spinal health. That it can be wonderfully relaxing and rejuvenating is just an added bonus! We look forward to sharing this new treatment with you soon - be sure to come in and let us make you a priority!