From the article, “Aromatherapy: Improve Your Massage Sessions with Nature’s Scents,” by various authors, in the February 2009 issue. Article summary: Aromatherapy can easily be incorporated into a massage-therapy session, whether through topical application or inhalation—and a variety of products on the market today support this marriage of the two therapies.

The value of aromatherapy used with steam for health and wellness has been known for thousands of years. Ancient Romans and Greeks as well as Native Americans all used plants, herbs and flowers in their steam systems to improve health and wellness.

When the body is steamed and heated, the pores of the skin—our largest organ—are open. This allows all of the natural healing ingredients to more rapidly enter the body through the skin, as well as through breathing in the aromas.

When the pores are fully open, toxins are automatically and simultaneously evacuated, while the healing steam enters the body. When we rub essential oils directly into the body through massage, the essential oils will more easily enter the body.
There are several ways to add steam to massage protocols. Traditional steam rooms might be a challenge, as treatments cannot be easily personalized and are very expensive. Steam cabinets and canopies are practical tools for personal recipes where oils and herbs can be added to the water for each treatment, or rubbed into the skin before the steam.

Ira Roeffel is vice president of The Steamy Wonder Company (, which manufactures a canopy steam system for massage session rooms.