Best Essential Oils for Massage & How to Use

Quick Answer: Best Essential Oils for Massage

  1. Lavender Essential Oil
  2. Ylang- Ylang Essential Oil
  3. Marjoram Essential Oil
  4. Chamomile Essential Oil
  5. Sandalwood Essential Oil
  6. Bergamot Essential Oil
  7. Peppermint Essential Oil
  8. Frankincense Essential Oil
  9. Clary Sage Essential Oil
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What is Massage Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy has derived its name from two words, they are, aroma which means fragrance, scent, or smell and therapy which means treatment.

This is a unique and natural way of curing disease and rejuvenating a person's mind and body.[1]

This therapy is accepted worldwide for its scientific application and beneficial results, it is also known as aroma science therapy. [2]

Aromatherapy uses an essential oil on the skin, using the technique of massage, which is the foundation of aromatherapy.

Massage is manipulating pressure points in the body to induce relaxation or hormonal secretions to improve the health of the person.

It is largely used in therapeutic interventions.[3]

The basis for the selection of the oil to be used in massage aromatherapy is its power to penetrate the subcutaneous tissues and mechanism of action involved.

Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, the founder of modern aromatherapy used to massage patients with essential oils during surgery for treatment and speedy recovery. [4]

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are volatile aromatic compounds found in leaves, flowers, rinds of fruits, barks, twigs, roots of plants.

These oils are natural plant products and constitute hydrocarbons such as terpenes, and oxygenated compounds that are aldehydes, esters, alcohols, ketones, phenols, and oxides.

Other components that can be found in some oils are lactones, nitrogen, and sulphur compounds. [5]

These oils are highly potent and concentrated and work on pressure points. [6]

The oils interact with the body via three routes which are when oils enter the bloodstream and react with hormones and enzymes, this is Pharmacological method.

The Psychological method involves inhalation or diffuser method. Lastly, the Physiological method stimulates and sedates the body. [7]

Therapeutic Role of Essential Oils in Curing Disease using Massage Aromatherapy  as a Technique

Essential oils have components that are useful in various health conditions and general health being of the person.

They have the potential to ease all kinds of inflammation in the body, cramps, strains, and good for skin conditions.

They are anti-microbial in nature and have antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal properties.

These oils are also known for anti-cancer properties. A few drops of the oil are sufficient to alleviate the problem.

Topically massaging these oils directly to the affected body part gives good results and lessens the symptoms. The oils are calming, de-stressing and induces sleep. [8]

A study reported aromatherapy massage had mild anxiolytic effects on cancer patients.[9] [10]

The lavender essential oil contains Linalool and Linalyl acetate having sedative and narcotic effects and used for correcting aggression, anxiety, improving the feeling of well being, ameliorated sleeping patterns of a person with massage therapy. [11]

Studies in the past have shown the use of lavender oil, lemon oil, and chamomile oil for treating Alopecia and anxiety. [12]

Study among 57 Japanese men and women reported, significantly lowered systolic blood pressure, anxiety and improved mental health after 4 weeks of self-administered foot aroma massage. [13]

The blend used for the therapy was lavender, Chamomile, Sandalwood, Ylang-Ylang, and Marjoram essential oil in Jojoba (carrier) oil. [14]

A study done on pregnant women showed massage therapy with Jasmine essential oil has a positive effect in reducing childbirth pain compared to any aromatherapy. [15]

Massage therapy using Jasmine essential oil on the abdomen of subjects showed stimulating/ uplifting effects and hence can be used for autonomic arousal, and help relieve people from depression.[16]

Using Aloe Vera in massage oil relieved from pain and lessened oral analgesic use in patients of knee osteoarthritis. [17]

Similarly using Ginger essential oil to massage knee gave relief from pain and improved the functional state of knee osteoarthritis patients. [18]

Eucalyptus essential oil which is present in a chest rub, when massaged for 10-15 minutes produced a significant decrease in induced cough frequency in 32 healthy human subjects. [19]

Rosemary oil has also shown stimulating effect by massaging the skin of the lower abdomen with 1 ml solution of Rosemary oil in sweet almond (carrier) oil. [20]

Best Essential Oils For Massage Therapy

Essential oils are extensively used as massage aromatherapy.

The majority of oils is pain relievers and produces a relaxing and soothing effect. [21] [22] [23] [24]

They are rejuvenating, helps induce sleep, soothe muscles and nerves.

There are various massage techniques such as acupressure, Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, reiki, shiatsu, reflexology, and therapeutic touch.[25]

Read on further to find out some of the best and commonly used massage oils and their therapeutic, science-based and proven uses.

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender oil is extracted from flowering tops aromatic green woody shrub. It has a sweet balsamic scent.

Lavender oil calms and relaxes the autonomous nervous system and gives emotional stability, it also alleviates insomnia.

Lavender oil has antispasmodic, carminative, mild tranquilizer, and stomachic effects on the body. [26]

The oil can also be used in massage to ease the headache, exhaustion, and emotional trauma. [27] It is used in massage for hair growth and treatment of Alopecia.

Lavender and Neroli blend massage had uplifted the mental and physical status of postpartum mothers.

The oil majorly contains linalool, which has soothing and comforting effects on humans.

Lavender oil showed short term reduction in lower back pain and enhanced physical functioning in a randomized control study in Hong Kong.

The oil was used for acupressure therapy. [28]

Ylang- Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang- Ylang essential oil is distilled from fresh pink flowers of a tall tropical tree and has an intensely soft, sweet-spicy scent.

The oil is beneficial to lower the heart rate and decrease blood pressure. It also boosts mood and relieves stress and depression. [29]

The oil increases alertness and attentiveness in humans by trans-dermal absorption. [30]

Marjoram Essential Oil

Marjoram essential oil is steam distilled from the dried flowering herb of a bushy plant. It has amber tinge and woody scent.

It has sedative action on the body and is great for sleeplessness. It improves both diastolic and systolic blood pressure.

The oil is reputed to have sedating, comforting, and anxiolytic properties.

A study done on middle-aged hypertensive women showed a significant decrease in blood pressure and improved sleep quality by using a massage blend of lavender, marjoram, ylang-ylang, and Neroli in a ratio of 20: 10: 15: 2.

This blend was diluted in a mix of almond and jojoba carrier oil at a ratio of 9:1. [31]

Chamomile Essential Oil

Chamomile essential oil is steam distilled from the daisy-like white flowers of an aromatic herb. It has a strong herbal scent.

It is useful in inducing sleep. It has antidepressant and anxiolytic effects on the body.

Massaging a blend of 10 drops of Chamomile, 10 drops of Geranium, Lemon and Lavender 5 drops each in 10 ml vegetable oil is beneficial for chapped and dry skin. [32]

For ear pain use 3 drops of chamomile, 1 drop each lavender and 1 drop of Tea tree oil diluted in 5 ml of vegetable oil and massaged around the ear area, neck, and across the cheekbone. [33]

Sandalwood Essential Oil

Sandalwood oil is extracted from the roots and heartwood of an evergreen tree. It smells deep, soft and sweet.

It has sedative effects on the body and gives lassitude to mental activity and improves sleep behavior.

The oil has α-santalol as a major constituent and studies on human and mice models have reported relaxing and sedative effects on the central nervous system. [34] [35]

Bergamot Essential Oil

Bergamot oil is extracted from the rind of a small tree and has a sweet, floral and citrus scent.

The oil contains limonene, linalool, and linalyl acetate in high percentages and is useful to calm fears and relieve anxiety.

A study on the assessment of human autonomic parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and skin temperature and emotional indicators such as vigor, calmness, mood, and alertness reported a significant decrease in autonomic parameters and subjects reported themselves calm after massaging blend of Bergamot and Lavender essential oil on their abdomen. [36]

The use of oil eases off depression, headaches and anxiety.

A 36-year-old woman conceived after just one treatment of massage aromatherapy with a blend of rose oil, bergamot, and lavender oil at 2.5% in almond oil, after clinical removal of her right fallopian tube. [37]

Peppermint Essential Oil

The oil is extracted from the flowering herb and has penetrating minty aroma.

Peppermint oil treats Fibromyalgia.

To combat diarrhea use this blend, Peppermint 3 drops, Chamomile 2 drops, and eucalyptus 1 drop in 5 ml of vegetable oil.

Massage this blend to the whole abdomen to attain relief. [38]

Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense essential oil is steam distilled from resin extracted from the pinnate-leaved tree.

It has a warm, fresh and rich aroma.

A blend of bergamot, lavender, and frankincense was used in hand massage to minimize pain and depression in patients with terminal cancer.

Clary Sage Essential Oil

Clary sage oil is extracted from flowers and flowering tops and has a nutty and herbal scent.

It contains linalool which is effective to alleviate fear, paranoia, and delusions.

Topical application of a blend of Clary sage, lavender and rose essential oil is effective in decreasing the severity of menstrual cramps.

Another study has shown, massage with a blend in the lower abdomen to attain relief in primary dysmenorrhea.

This blend reduced menstrual pain and had lavender, Clary sage, and Marjoram oil in a ratio of 2:1:1.

The key analgesic constituents were linalyl acetate, linalool, eucalyptol, and β‐caryophyllene. [39]

Precautions With Essential Oils

Always follow the indications for the amount of oil to be used in blends. Even a few drops are enough for the therapeutic effect to take place.

One must avoid sun exposure after the use of essential oil, bergamot, and other citrus oils increase the photosensitivity of the skin.

Always perform a patch test on skin before massage therapy to know for any irritation, itching or allergic reaction on the use of oil.

The oils must be stored in dark and preferably in glass bottles as they are concentrated and can be corrosive for plastics.

Keep essential oils away from the mucous membrane, genital, eye area and do not put into ears. The contact lenses or eyes must not be rubbed or handled with essential oils.

Final Words

Massage as a therapeutic technique works on pressure points and results in increased blood circulation, ease tensed muscles and gives a feeling of relaxation.

This technique combined with essential oil works wonders for various ailments and can sedate the person or stimulate arousal.

It can decrease pain and cramps and work directly on hormones and enzymes through olfactory receptors.

So next time before going and buying any over-the-counter medicines for a condition, remember to use the easy, time-efficient and natural massage aromatherapy at home!

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