Last-minute work deadlines, frantic holiday shopping and hectic family party planning can wreak havoc on a body. Why not take a page from the seasonal handbook and offer your clients some holiday-themed massage?

The scent of peppermint brings back memories of childhood, winter and the holidays for many people—and it can also be the perfect ingredient for a holiday massage during this time of year.

Nutrition and You explains that peppermint is a cross between watermint and spearmint and is used in a variety of ways. Peppermint flavors some foods and drinks, and adds fragrance to soaps and lotions.

In the session room, peppermint can add a festive scent to the massage experience.


Holiday Relief

Peppermint is a personal favorite of Angie Conrad, director of communications at Lemongrass Spa Products in Pine, Colorado, because it reminds her of the freshness of a cold winter’s day. “It’s one of my favorite scents, and absolutely makes a great addition to massage,” she says.

Peppermint essential oil can address a host of issues, from headaches and pain to congestion and nausea. “If a person is just starting with a migraine, peppermint can help relieve symptoms,” says Conrad. “It can also help with sore muscles, similar to the way eucalyptus works. Paired with massage, peppermint essential oil can improve circulation.”

While no conclusive evidence exists, a 2014 study from Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found peppermint essential oil administered via inhalation to be effective in reducing post-operative nausea and vomiting as well as for conditions unrelated to surgery.


Peppermint Precautions

Be aware that a little bit of peppermint essential oil goes a long way, cautions Conrad. “The ratio is one drop to about an ounce of carrier oil, lotion or cream. If it’s not properly diluted, it can irritate the skin,” she says.

Peppermint oil should not be applied topically to children’s skin, and pregnant or nursing women should receive the all-clear from their physician before receiving peppermint oil during massage. According to Conrad, peppermint essential oil has been linked anecdotally with reduced milk production.



Pulse Points and Peppermint

A full-body massage with peppermint-infused cream can be thoroughly luxurious, but applying the oil to specific points on the body can further enhance the oil’s effects. “When doing an application treatment with peppermint essential oil, the bottom of the feet is a good place to apply it,” says Conrad. “It makes tired feet feel very happy.”

Massaging pulse points with peppermint essential oil can reduce seasonal stress. Conrad suggests applying the oil to the inside of the wrists, at the temple, behind the ears, at the crown of the head, on the collarbone, neck, upper and lower back and the abdomen.

As the client enjoys the benefits of peppermint essential oil, the therapist can also experience some benefits. “When she inhales the peppermint, it can help uplift her mood. It’s energizing,” says Conrad.


About the Author

Phyllis Hanlon has written nonfiction articles and book reviews as well as human-interest stories, profiles and award-winning essays. Her specialty areas include health and medicine, religion, education and business. She regularly delights in the joys of massage. She also wrote “Reiki: A Complementary Therapy Gains in Acceptance” for MASSAGE Magazine.