Thai aroma massage is a fabulous blend of East and West techniques, comprising of Thai-style deep massage with yoga stretching combined with sophisticated western-style Swedish massage. The massage is received with the client undressed (proper draping ensured) on a comfortable table using aroma oil. This type of massage soothes your body and encourages a peaceful mind.
Aromatherapy massage is a massage therapy but with highly concentrated plant oils, called essential oils, added to the massage oil or lotion. This kind of massage is in fact a combination from all kinds of massage, as the Thai say : a unique mixture of the best from different worlds united in one massage. There are elements of Swedish massage, Indian, Ayurvedic and Thai. The use of aromatherapy to complement a traditional Thai massage combines the usual vigorous stretching and body treatment of a Thai massage with scents and aromas released from candles, oils and other products. These scents stimulate the client further, heightening their sense of relaxation and wellness. Special attention is given to the meridians or ‘energy-channels’ in the body. Because there is a lot of physical touch and stimulation, the muscles, tendons, connective tissues, blood circulation and lymphatic system get activated, blockades can get counterbalanced and the excess lumber can be removed.
The nostrils are attached to a part of the brain called the limbic system. The limbic system controls emotions and influences the nervous system and hormones. When you inhale essential oil molecules, messages are transmitted to the limbic system and affect heart rate, stress level, blood pressure, breathing, digestion and the immune system. The essential oils used are also believed to be absorbed through the skin. The essential oils refer to oils that come from the essence of plants. They are a little oily, very fragrant and usually too concentrated to be used diluted. For this reason essential oils are typically blended with a carrier oil, such as jojoba or grapseed oil, in order to dilute them so they don’t harm the client’s skin. The essential oils used are determined by the massage therapist. They are chosen therapeutically to treat the emotional disorders of the client through the olfactory glands (through smell) and when the fragrant oils are inhaled, a chemical message is sent to the brain which triggers a certain emotional response.
Each of the essential oils have different healing properties. Some have calming and soothing properties while the others may energize you. For example, if you want to have a calming effect from your aromatherapy massage, essential oils such as chamomile, lavender and geranium may be recommended for this purpose. Ylang yang, clary sage, rose and neroli has an uplifting effect while rosemary energizes and cleanses. And for decongesting or detoxifying purposes, you may choose to use eucalyptus, pine or tea tree instead.
Why do people get aromatherapy massages? This is because aromatherapy massage is particularly suited to conditions involving stress or improving emotionally-related conditions such as insomnia, headaches, digestive disorders, premenstrual syndromes and back pains. Studies have shown that self-massage significantly improved symptoms and wellbeing in people with lymphedema. It also slightly reduced limb volume. On a separate case study, sixteen first-time mothers received a 30-minute aromatherapy massage two days after delivery, while 20 mothers received standard postpartum care. The aromatherapy massage group had significantly decreased ratings of postpartum blues and anxiety, and had increased vigor and attachment to their babies. Also, research suggests that patient with cancer, particularly in the palliative care setting, are increasingly using aromatherapy and massage.
Before your first aromatherapy massage session, your massage therapist will conduct an initial consultation with you to learn about your desired outcome. They might ask about the current state of your work life, home life, physical health and mental state to learn about what you need. Remember not to eat a heavy meal before the massage. Following the consultation, the massage therapist will select several essential oils specific to your mental and physical conditions, and blend them into a massage oil to be used during your first massage. Many massage therapists will also give you a small blend of the essential oil to use at home between sessions.
Aromatherapy massage is performed on nude clients; however the therapist will leave the room so that you can undress in privacy. In addition a sheet or towel will be available for you to cover yourself during the massage. The only time the massage therapist will pull back the sheet is to work on a specific body part. If you are uncomfortable, please notify your massage therapist immediately.
However, the aromatherapy massage is not recommended for certain people with infectious skin disease, rash or open wounds, immediately after surgery, immediately after chemotherapy or radiation unless recommended by the doctor and people prone to blood clots. If you have heart disease, check with your doctor before having a massage. Pregnant women should check with their doctor first if they are considering getting a massage. Massage in pregnant women should be done by massage therapists who are certified in pregnancy massage. And last but not least, the massage should not be done directly over bruises, inflamed skin, unhealed wounds, tumors, abdominal hernia, or areas of recent fractures.