by Tara Donna Grodjesk

How Offering Aromatherapy Assists Clients, MASSAGE MagazineWith a clear intention and correct choice of essential oil, you can enhance your massage treatments to make them more therapeutically powerful and also give clients the feeling you are attuning to their specific needs. In the simplest of applications, a few drops of essential oil go a long way, and essential oils are effective in creating a deeper healing experience.

Essential oils are absorbed quickly into the tissue and bloodstream. We use carrier oils to help transport the essential oils in a fatty oil base across skin, so they can be absorbed. Massaging with essential oils is one of the most effective delivery systems for aromatherapy—transdermal delivery. Therefore, your clients receive the benefit of muscle manipulation as well as the specific action of the essential oils.

The action of the oils varies depending on the chemistry of the particular essential oil that has been extracted from plants or flowers. Such oils as lavender, cedarwood and ylang ylang provide deep relaxation and sedation to the nervous system; meanwhile, rosemary, black pepper and peppermint will stimulate circulation, energize and awaken.

The essential oil benefits are taken in either through the olfactory receptors or through the skin. Breathing in the natural aroma of an essential oil drop that has been rubbed between the therapist’s hands encourages clients to breathe more deeply, and it helps them begin to reconnect body and mind. Some essential oils are referred to as “mood enhancers.” Examples of these are antidepressant, euphoric aromas, such as jasmine, ylang ylang and clary sage.

For delivery through the skin, blending 10 to 15 drops into 1 ounce of base/carrier oil is a classic massage oil formula. Be sure your base/carrier oil has no mineral oil, synthetic fragrance, artificial colors or dyes, nor any petroleum-derived ingredients. Ideally, your carrier oil blend is made from expeller-pressed vegetable oils or certified organic oils.

It is best to start your practice of aromatherapy mastering one to three essential oils and really living with those oils and deeply learning about them firsthand. Once you’ve mastered the first three, expand your repertoire. Your sessions can become more personalized to your clients’ needs and multidimensional, by using a simple range of aromatherapy:

  • Use relaxing essential oils to breathe in at the beginning of the session, then use juniper, eucalyptus or rosemary for moving circulation and warming the muscles and joints.
  • Or, use delicate oils, such as rose or jasmine, with lavender to pacify the nervous system, especially around the heart chakra and the face and neck.

Aromatherapy enhances each session by delivering therapeutic benefits that complement the massage work you do.

Tara Grodjesk, MASSAGE MagazineTara Donna Grodjesk, president and owner of Tara spa Therapy Inc., has devoted her 27 years of experience in wellness to refining bodywork techniques, creating innovative body treatments and offering a careful selection of high-quality natural products for the health and spa market. Since 1989, Grodjesk has been designing programs for world-class hotels, resorts and day spas as well as providing high-quality, detailed training for their therapists. Contact Grodjesk at or visit