Once you have ventured into the world of aromatherapy, you'll quickly realize that, as with the many tantalizing scents, there are also numerous purchasing sources.
It is very common to use the same essential oils as are used in aromatherapy into the skin. This is a means of combining the benefits of aromatherapy and massage to provide what many feel to be augmented therapeutic benefits from the massage.
Now, a few years ago, my wife became a massage therapist and practiced on me while taking her course. I am hooked, and if you have never had a good massage at the hands (pun) of a professional massage therapist, you don't know what you're missing.
If my experience is anything to judge by, after a massage session, especially a good Swedish massage, you'll feel amazingly relaxed and rejuvenated. However, since aromatherapy can enhance the effects of a massage, here are some tips on getting the most out of your experience.
First of all, this is NOT a do-it-yourself project, and odds are your girl- or boyfriend will not be able to give you the best results. Still, you will reap the maximum benefit if you have someone else, preferably a trained massage therapist, give you the massage.
It is true that you can massage some areas of your body yourself; your feet and your temples, for example, but, during a massage you need to concentrate on relaxing. You'll never be able to fully relax if you're doing the work, no matter how minimal. While you could concievably enlist the aid of just about anybody to rub the parts you can't reach, you'll be better off if your massage is performed by a bodywork professional.
The person you choose needs to provide the best massage experience. This makes them just as important as the aromatherapy massage environment itself.
It will help for the massage environment to be dark and quiet. The only noise you should be natural, such as bubbling brooks, the roll of waves against the shore, a gentle rain or other similarly soothing sounds. While recorded versions of these sounds seem to work just as well as the real thing, many bodywork professionals are now choosing restful and relaxing "spa music" specifically written and performed to produce a peaceful state for situations such as yoga, meditation, and massage.
The massage surface should be comfortable in order to reap the best benefits, but this should not be a problem with a professional massage therapist. Most use professionally designed massage tables which help provide the most beneficial massage experience. Since you need to shed most clothing for a massage, you'll be more relaxed if you're warm and modestly covered and a good massage therapist will ensure that you are at least partially covered with a soft towel or sheet.
NUDITY DURING A MASSAGE
Most professional massage therapists will make sure that you are covered to some extent during the massage session, but, you will be naked, or nearly naked, on the massage table. The question of nudity during a massage is something which needs to be worked out, and agreed upon in advance, between the therapist and the client.
Many massage therapists are just as uncomfortable with total nudity as their client. A relaxed state is the key, so find a bodyworker who respects and understands your feelings about modesty and contact. Relaxation will help the body's metabolism rate to slow down, which, in turn will cause the body temperature to lower. Another reason to have some form of covering such as a towel or sheet.
That's a lot of talk about the massage, now let's talk about the aromatherapy.
Generally, essential oils are what will be used for massage. Essential oils are initially substances extracted from plant material. Since they are highly concentrated and may be too strong to use directly on the skin, they are usually diluted with carrier oils or hydrosols. A more practical aspect is that essential oils are expensive and economically it makes sense to mix them with another medium.
Selection of essential oils depends on the benefits results desired. For example, lavender is excellent for relaxing while peppermint is a good choice for soothing sore muscles. Common carrier oils selected for massage use include apricot kernel, sweet almond and grapeseed. Mineral oil is pretty much the only carrier oil that is not recommended for use for a massage.
While "recipes" vary, you will probably need about 1 to 2 ounces of carrier oil to massage the entire body.
First, a small amount of oil is poured into the massager's hands where it is allowed to warm slightly. The oil and carrier is then rubbed into the skin using a combination of long strokes, and large and small circular motions. Speed and the motion of the massage strokes are varied throughout the massage. When hand movements begin feel like they are dragging it's time to add more oil.
Here's some sample massage oil recipes for relaxation:
Lavender essential oils – 4 drops for every tablespoon of carrier oil
Petitgrain essential oils – 1 drop for every tablespoon of carrier oil
Frankincense essential oils – 1 drop for every tablespoon of carrier oil
While essential oils are used in the massage process itself, they are also often used as...well...aromatherapy. You may notice that a bodyworker burns candles or incense, or simply adds a little essential oil of their choice to their massage oils. Often, just the pleasant scent in the room enhances the massage experience.
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