Aromatherapy is massage using highly concentrated essential plant extracts. This essence of plants with healing properties is usually obtained by distillation, and most of them are too strong to be used neat on the skin (the only exceptions to this are lavender oil and tea tree oil).  They are diluted using a carrier oil such as sweet almond or grapeseed oil, producing a powerful blend of massage oil.  Generally 3-5 different essential oils are used in a blend, depending on the preferences or health imbalances of the massage recipient. Essential oils can be used to treat a wide range of problems, and many of them have additional properties such as being antiseptic, antiviral and/or antifungal.

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The essential oils work in 2 ways:

  1. During the massage they are absorbed through the skin directly into the bloodstream.  This is more effective than taking medicines or herbs orally as it bypasses the digestive system.
  2. The aromas are sensed through the nose, that is attached to a part of the brain called the limbic system.  The limbic system influences the nervous system, hormones and emotions, and helps to regulate heart rate, breathing, memory, digestion and stress levels.

Aromatherapy massage therefore is more holistic than normal massage, as the oils have a direct positive effect on the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of the recipient.   Combined with the physical benefits of a relaxing massage this makes aromatherapy a healing, uplifting and sensual experience.

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