Essential oils can be a beneficial addition to any massage, but before using them you must be properly trained and aware of your clients’ health issues, allergies and scent dislikes.
Further, with aromatherapy you will be adding something to the massage medium that will be absorbed through the skin, affect your client’s metabolism and interact with their limbic system.
As massage therapists, we must understand the importance of proper training before using something as potent as essential oils, because not everyone’s massage education includes this important information. After you’re educated, by doing a thorough intake and assessment you can determine how you want to proceed with your aromatherapy add-on to a massage session.
Employ a Diffuser
Diffusers distribute essential oil molecules into the air, which gives anyone walking into the space beneficial exposure. A diffuser that allows you to change oils quickly is ideal.
Diffusers driven by an electric fan use a pad to apply a few drops of oil, and the pad is placed beneath the fan compartment.
This type of diffuser allows for a quick change of oils if a therapist encounters a client who finds the current oil offensive to their senses.
There are many diffusers on the market, enabling a therapist to purchase one that meets their specific needs.
Use Single-Note Essential Oil Added to Massage Carrier Oil
Have a variety of oils on hand so the single oil can be added as needed.
Single-note essential oils, such as lavender or Roman chamomile, can be used to enhance relaxation or alleviate a depressive mood.
A couple drops of the essential oil added to 1 ounce of carrier oil is all that is needed to complete a full, relaxing, therapeutic session.
Intensify Massage’s Benefits with Custom Blends
Use blends the same way you use a single-note essential oil.
Just place a few drops of the ready-made blend into 1 ounce of a massage carrier oil. Massage the oil into the client’s trouble areas or use it on the whole body.
A great example would be using a muscle blend of Helichrysum and Wintergreen on an athlete who is complaining of muscle aches.
Blends are a group of essential oils that usually have the same chemical components, thus creating a stronger blend.
Some common blends to keep on hand would be muscle blends, relaxation blends and rejuvenating blends.
It would also be helpful to have special blends on hand for fibromyalgia, sinus pain, and tension and migraine headaches.
For therapists who don’t have ample training or knowledge of blending, there are many massage mediums on the market that have essential oils already added for you.
Even though these products are available to all therapists, a therapist still needs to be aware of indications and contraindications, as well as, the properties of the pre-added essential oils to prevent allergic reactions with clients.
Most of the products will list the beneficial effects of use on the product labels.
Offer Retail Sales of Custom Blends
Therapists who have ample training can pre-blend massage creams for clients to purchase and continue self-care aromatherapy treatments at home between their therapeutic sessions.
This allows them to get the most complete results from their aromatherapy.
Therapists who are not trained in blending can purchase pre-blended creams from an aromatherapy company or another local aromatherapist at wholesale cost.
Some common retail products that clients may enjoy include diffuser single-note essential oils or diffuser blends, fibromyalgia creams, muscle relief creams and headache or sinus roll-ons.
Self-massage lotion that has essential oils blended for relaxation and better sleep is a wonderful product to have on hand for most clients.
Even though such products are commonly found at department or health-food stores, clients prefer to purchase such products from knowledgeable therapists who can help them choose the best products for their needs.
Debora L. Bogart, LMT, is a certified aromatherapist and the medical massage therapist at Ellerbrock Spine and Soft Tissue in Bluffton, Ohio, instructor of an NCBTMB continuing education aromatherapy course for massage therapists and former massage theory and advanced massage modality instructor at the Institute of Therapeutic Massage in Lima, Ohio.