and Debbie Guzzi

Treat Stress with Aromatherapy Massage, MASSAGE MagazineThe assessment phase of treatment involves determining a client’s stressors, physical, mental and emotional. Stress can lead to an emotional and physical breakdown. Many clients seek massage for stress relief on these levels.

A person’s stress response is often a result of perceptions that exceed the personal inner and social resources to cope with a situation. The two types of stressors are external, such as pain or fluctuating temperatures, or stressful emotional environments, such as dysfunctional relationships. Internal stressors are prolonged, tense reactions to a situation. When this happens, a person is unable to mobilize the ability to manage a situation effectively. As a result, the person will experience disturbances to the body or mind, which can contribute to physical injury, disease, deprivation and emotional imbalance.

Stress can also be manifested physically, usually postural. Massage can help soothe and release stressed muscles through effleurage, petrissage and percussive techniques. The deeper types of therapy work well for issues that primarily originate from overuse of a muscle. If the stress to the musculature is caused by psychological or emotional issues, the massage, in most cases, would be light using such techniques as gentle rocking, jostling and the long, broad strokes of effleurage. A few hands-on modalities that work well for emotional and psychological stress include: amma, lomilomi, lymphatic drainage and Swedish massage.

Though massage can help soothe and release stressed muscles, the issues will return unless the underlying behaviors are corrected.

Using aromatherapy with essential oils on a full-body massage can be beneficial to relieve stress-related symptoms. Combining the healing properties of scent with touch will aid the client in balancing the body’s natural tendencies toward healing.

Recommended essential oils for stress

  • Roman chamomile (chamaemelum nobile): calming, sedative, antispasmodic
  • Neroli (citrus aurantium v amara): antidepressant, calming, neurotonic
  • Juniper (juniperus communis fruct): analgesic, digestive
  • Lavender (lavandula angustifolia): analgesic, anti-inflammatory, neurontonic
  • Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis): analgesic, anti-inflammatory, carminative, digestive, stimulant to adrenals

Recommended dilution

  • 1 ounce of carrier/base oil, such as apricot kernel or sweet almond oil
  • Add 5 drops of each above essential oil to the carrier.

Recommended application

  • Massage a small amount or rub into the neck, shoulders, stiff joints, muscles, back and feet

To treat emotional stress, use aromas that are pleasing to your clients to create a soothing memory response.

Jacqueline Bloom is a licensed clinical social worker with more than 20 years of experience, and maintains a private practice in New York and Connecticut. She teaches certification courses on aromatherapy with the East West School of Aromatic and Herbal Studies. Also, she incorporates aromatherapy applications of essential oils in psychotherapy, when appropriate with clients, as an adjunct to primary treatment for emotional issues, stress-related problems, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and mood disorders. She is certified in Chinese Medicine: 5 Elemental Treatment Theory with Gems and Stones, and medical aromatherapy and dietary therapy. She can be contacted at Jacq1616@aol.com.

Deborah Guzzi is a graduate of the Connecticut School for Massage Therapy. She supplemented her training in Swedish massage with classes in chakra balancing, and polarity therapy, as well as Master Level Usui Reiki. She can be contacted at aleezadelta@aol.com or through http://empathic-touch.com.

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