To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Recipes for Self-Care,” by Beth Dupree, M.D., D.V.M., in the June 2012 issue. Article summary: As massage therapists, we focus all our time on others and little time on ourselves. This can lead to chronic aches and pains, fatigue and burnout—and I’m not talking about our clients. Aromatherapy can help. Whether you are just starting to dabble in aromatherapy or are an expert aromatherapist, here is some basic information.

by Beth Dupree, M.D., D.V.M.

Pain can cause afternoon malaise and just make you miserable. You spent 30 minutes working on that muscle-bound construction worker’s shoulder, now your back hurts and you have four clients left. The good news is, you can assist yourself with aromatherapy.

Recipe for a Self-Care Blend

  • 15 drops blue tansy (tanacetum annuum)
  • 15 drops rosewood (aniba rosaeodora)
  • 25 drops frankincense (boswellia carterii)
  • 40 drops spruce (tsuga canadensis)
  • Fractionated coconut oil added to fill bottle

Place 1 to 3 drops in the palm of your left hand; grasp the sole of your left foot so that the oil is sandwiched between the two. Hold this position until you feel your heartbeat or feel a distinct temperature change. This will start the electrical system and spine to align.

Recipe for a Pain-Relieving Blend

  • 30 drops birch (betula lenta)
  • 20 drops peppermint (mentha piperita)
  • 10 drops clove (eugenia caryophyllata)
  • 5 drops nutmeg (myristica fragrans)
  • 5 drops oregano (origanum vulgare L hirtum)
  • 5 drops pennyroyal (Micromeria fruticosa)
  • 5 drops thyme (thymus vulgaris)
  • 5 drops marjoram (origanum marjorana)
  • 5 drops black pepper (piper nigrum)
  • Fractionated coconut oil added to fill bottle

Use 1 to 2 drops as needed on the area of pain. If you have a chronic injury or pain issue, try to use 1 drop on the area two times a day for preventive maintenance.

Recipe for a Relaxation Blend

OK, now you finally made it home and waded through dinner, children, household repairs, the lawn, trash, neighbors and pet messes; it’s your time. It’s tempting to pass out in front of the TV. You can do that every night, but “you night” is special. Men, I’m talking to you, too. Hit the tub.

No “you night” is complete without candles. If you plan to have a real aromatherapy experience, don’t use heavily scented candles. Also, keep all your candles the same scent. Choose some relaxing music, something different than you use with your clients—you’ve heard those tunes a thousand times and that’s not relaxing. If you have intrusive family, make sure they know it’s “you night.”

Now that you have set the mood, choose the aromatherapy theme: deep relaxation or pain relief.

• For deep relaxation, add 1 cup powdered milk or 1 tablespoon of fractionated coconut oil, for moisture, to your bath.

• For a pain-relieving experience, add 1 cup Epsom salts to warm water. Add 15 drops of your pain-relief blend and soak your aches away.

• Add any of the following oils as well. Mix and match or use any single oil, but stay below 20 drops total:

  • Madagascar bourbon vanilla
  • Neroli
  • Rose
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Bergamot
  • Sandalwood
  • Vetiver
  • Roman chamomile

What if you’re now relaxed, but you just can’t wind down and sleep? Equal amounts of lavender and bergamot diffused in my bedroom knocks me right out. I set the timer for five minutes and I always drift off before I hear it shut off.

Remember, concentrate a little more on your own needs so you can attend more to the needs of others.

Beth Dupree, M.D., D.V.M., is the owner of and manufacturer for Bella Mira Essential Oils and Abundant Life Essentials ( She also specializes in holistic health care for animals, is a three-time doctor of the year and adviser to U.S. Olympic Teams. She is an author, radio personality, Fox News contributor and speaker.