Woman getting a massage

5 Benefits of Aromatherapy Massage for Stress Relief

We all experience stress. It’s a normal part of life. Stress is the body’s way of reacting to experiences we have, and then responding in physical, mental and emotional ways. 

Unfortunately, stress from one source makes it harder for us to withstand stress from any other source. For instance, when we’re worried, we’re more likely to get injured and also catch a cold. We need to build resilience and find equilibrium as much as possible. 

So when we experience stress, whether physically, emotionally or mentally, aromatherapy massage can be a wonderful support. 

In fact, next to diffusing, massage is one of the most beneficial ways you can incorporate aromatherapy. The sense of touch and smell are an incredibly powerful duo for creating the mind-body connection, and together they work synergistically to provide complementary, therapeutic benefits for your well-being.

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Massage, on its own, can be a great way to relieve stress. The physical act of massaging stimulates the production of positive hormones such as endorphins, which reduce pain and increase pleasure, serotonin, the “happy chemical,” which stabilizes your mood, and dopamine, the “feel good” chemical, which plays a role in how we feel pleasure. And massage also reduces the stress hormone cortisol in the bloodstream, which the body produces in response to things like pain and stress levels. 

Adding aromatherapy, by using your sense of smell and essential oils, provides wonderful added benefits to lowering stress. Not only can the scent of essential oils impact mood states, but the chemical properties of certain essential oils can add synergistic effects on body systems by creating warmth and circulation when applied on the skin. 

 

Here are 5 benefits of an aromatherapy massage to help you reduce stress:

  1. Helps ease tension - Stress often plays out on the body through stiff and achy muscles in the upper body, including shoulders, neck and jaw. The act of massage is able to address the muscle tissue directly and can assist the muscle in releasing its contraction, thereby easing muscle tension. Adding “warming” essential oils such as Ginger, Black Pepper and Juniper Berry to a massage oil like jojoba oil helps stimulate circulation and thereby relieve stiffness. 

Try this recipe for massaging a tense upper body:

1oz (30ml) Jojoba oil

5 drops Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

5 drops Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)

5 drops Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)

 

2. Helps relieve pain - Stress can often result in tension headaches. Gently massaging the neck, jaw and forehead with circular motion can help ease muscle spasms and nerve pain. Here you might want to add “cooling” essential oils such as Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Black Spruce for relief.

Try this recipe for massaging a tension headache:

1oz (30ml) Jojoba oil

2 drops Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

2 drops Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)

2 drops Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

 

3. Helps you fall asleep - Increased stress can make it difficult to sleep at night. Enjoying an evening aromatherapy massage can help prepare you for a good night’s rest. Because massage triggers the release of serotonin, it helps you feel calm and relaxed. And adding “relaxing” essential oils such as bergamot, lavender and sandalwood can help calm the mind and body. 

Try this recipe to massage for muscle relaxation for sleep:

1oz (30ml) Jojoba oil

5 drops Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia)

3 drops Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)

4 drops Sandalwood (Santalum album)

 

4. Reduces mental fatigue - Stress can have a strong effect on your mental well-being and over time can reduce your ability to focus and remember things. Gently massaging the temples, neck and shoulder with “stimulating” essential oils such as Basil, Rosemary and Black Pepper help improve concentration and memory. 

Try this recipe to massage the face for concentration and memory:

1oz (30ml) Jojoba oil

2 drops Basil (Ocimum basilicum ct Linalool)

2 drops Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ct cineole)

2 drops Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)

 

5. Stimulates the immune system - Stress can lower your immune response and make you more susceptible to illness like colds and flu. So an aromatherapy massage can help boost your immune system by flushing toxins and increasing blood flow throughout the body. It also increases the white blood cell activity that helps our body fight diseases. An all-over body massage can stimulate movement and circulation to help boost our immune system. Adding “warming” essential oils such as Clary Sage, Cardamom and Juniper Berry can help. 

Try this recipe to massage the body for immune support:

1oz (30ml) Jojoba oil

5 drops Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)

5 drops Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)

5 drops Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)

 

Please be reminded that essential oils simply provide support and should not be used as a substitute for proper medical care. It goes beyond the scope of this article to describe the details for each type of stress-related issue. Stress can be a symptom of something more serious and you should consult with a medical professional to address underlying causes and find treatments.

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