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Massage types, Tools


Aromatherapy isn’t a massage form as such, but rather a tool used with various massage techniques. The therapy can also be used with baths, inhaled, as room fragrance, compresses, skin care, and internally. Though massage is probably the most commonly used method to employ aromatherapy and use essential oils.

In essence aromatherapy uses essential oils distilled and extracted from various flowers, plants and barks with the aim of using them to heal the body and mind. Aromatherapy isn’t a cure in itself, but rather used as a complimentary medicine with other therapies and methods.

The theory is that small concentrated amounts of the essential oils can work on the body and mind. The essential oils contain the essence of the plant and aromatherapy can be seen as a branch of herbalism. Many of the oils have the same properties and functions as infusions and extracts plants as used in traditional herb medicine.

Some oils have antibacterial and anti fungal properties, as well as antiviral. Others help relax the muscles, ease sores or burns. Some oils increase blood flow, reduces pulse, helps with skin problems or aid with digestion while others are useful for the respiratory system. Just as herb medicine has a wide range of conditions it is useful for, so does aromatherapy and essential oils.

Essential oils are also attributed a wide range mental and psychological benefits such as relaxation, aid in meditation, sleep, energy, aphrodisiac, depression etc. A scent can be very powerful and affect our mood easily. It brings back memories, gives us associations with certain situations or things, makes us feel relaxed, happy, romantic or hungry.

Aromatherapy should be used with caution since some oils can have undesired side effects. Each oil must be studied carefully before it is used to avoid complications. Since essential oils are very concentrated it is essential to keep a close eye on possible allergic reactions as well as consider allergies and skin conditions. Aromatherapy shouldn’t generally be used during pregnancies and or on babies and small children, unless by a trained aromatherapist.

There are not many regulations around the world when it come to aromatherapy. In some countries anything can be called aromatherapy as long as it contains essential oils or extracts from plants with scent. In other countries there are stricter rules and not everybody can use the term freely. It is still an alternative medicine and scientific studies are lacking on many of the oils and their effects as well as on their uses.

There are schools that educate aromatherapists, though mostly found in the UK, Canada, some in the US and Australia. And associations of aromatherapists around the world are trying to bring about standards to provide security and standards for practitioners and clients alike.

Further reading:
Aromatherapy and Massage: Achieving Health and Well-Being the Natural Way with Simple Massage Techniques and Aromatic Treatments
Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: A Guide to Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance Through Essential Oils (Alternative Health)
Aromatherapy: A Guide for Home Use
The Practice of Aromatherapy: A Classic Compendium of Plant Medicines & Their Healing Properties
Essential Oils for Lovers
Aromaterapi – Sumo Lutos

About Pia Poulsen

Pia Poulsen is educated as a wellness massage therapist at Institut FIGARI in Paris, from where she passed her certification exam in January 2008. Since then she has expanded her skills to become the first Advanced LaStone® practitioner in France as well as a certified LaStone® instructor.


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