About Aromatherapy Massage
Time and space set aside for you; bespoke botanical aromatics and touch, for supported self-care.
Be received into a welcoming treatment space; take a seat. If this is your first session, a consultation will be completed, allowing for safe and appropriate tailoring of the session to your health, priorities and preferences. Every session includes a brief query of your current state at the outset; how are you feeling today… right now? Physically, emotionally? This is to ensure each treatment is tailored to you on the particular day.
A selection of precious essential oils from a kit of over seventy, and a variety of carefully sourced plant-based carrier oils in which to safely dilute them, are blended with your priorities in mind. No selected oil is blended before checking with you, in case any don’t feel right for you today; this is your treatment.
Likewise, before being left to undress and get comfortable on the massage table [pre-heated on colder days], you’ll have a run through of quick regions of the body to work on during the massage itself, with time to note any areas you’d like to omit or to focus on in this particular session.
Once ready on the couch, any adjustments are made to ensure you are as comfortable as possible; extra warmth or less, adjusted neck position, pillows for additional support… Then starting to settle into the present, and your body, with a few deep breaths, slowly inhaling your bespoke aromatic blend, while the presence of hands on your body over the towels grounds and steadies.
The skin to skin, hands-on massage will typically be slow and rhythmic, soothing the tissues and nervous system, promoting healthy flow of blood and lymph to deliver nutrients and encourage elimination of metabolites from tissues, physically encouraging a letting go, while calming and re-balancing the autonomic nervous system away from fight and flight, towards rest, repair, digest. You’re covered throughout the session, towels or sheets folded back to expose the area to be worked, one at a time.
Generally, I use an approach that is remedial, to ease areas of physically held tension while also soothing to the nervous system. I don’t offer deep tissue treatments, but where appropriate, I will incorporate some deeper techniques while seeking client feedback on pressure and comfort.
The combination of botanical aroma with touch combine to immerse the senses, to encourage awareness into a more complete inhabiting of our body, as well as mind. Attention can stay with the breath, sensation of touch, daydream with the experience of the aromatic oils, or drift to sleep. There is no one way to experience a treatment; the only responsibility is to speak up if anything doesn’t feel welcome, or could be more comfortable.
As the hands-on treatment draws to a close, a moment to gather in stillness before supports and any extra covers are gently withdrawn, and you have time to redress alone. Then a short follow up to reflect on the treatment and how you are feeling, plus post-treatment recommendations, before setting back into the world with the remainder of the oil blends used in the treatment. The use of these later can help access the feeling of nurture and support from the session itself, along with benefits of the oils themselves.
Aromatherapy uses volatile aromatic plant essences, known as essential oils, to help maintain good health and to support in cases of ill-health. Essential oils are found in specialised cells within plants, such as flowers, leaves, fruits, seeds etc and are extracted using a variety of methods, including distillation and expression.
While aromatic plant materials have been used throughout by people for hundreds, possibly thousands of years, aromatherapy as used today originated in Europe and has been practiced in the UK since the early 1900s. Aromatherapy is a complementary, holistic therapy. It does not attempt to take the place of allopathic / mainstream medical treatment, but to provide support either for sub-clinical concerns, or alongside medical care.
As practitioners, aromatherapists believe the effects of essential oils can act –
– Physically via their pharmacological effects on the systems of the body once absorbed
– On the brain via the olfactory system, effecting mood the nervous system, amongst others
– Energetically (or spiritually) via their vibrational interaction with the energy flows of the body
While there is currently limited understanding as to how exactly aromatherapy brings about its benefits, there is an increasing volume of research showing positive results on health following the use of aromatherapy. It has been found to be particularly effective in counteracting stress, and in the treatment of chronic stress-related illness.
IFPA qualified aromatherapists are fully trained to choose from a large variety of essential oils and modes of application; we consider the approach to each treatment depending on the individual client and their needs at that particular moment.
As such, treatments typically start with a conversation, where I ask a number of questions about medical history and lifestyle information, as well as how you are on the day of the treatment, before typically creating a bespoke oil blend for a massage. However, massage isn’t the only way to benefit from aromatherapy, and for some clients, the oils may be blended for home use in the bath, diffuser, inhalation, and self-application of a variety of preparations.