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Do you remember how as a child when you got hurt or bumped into anything, your mother would kindly rub it to make you feel better. The magic of touch can do wonders. Massage has a miraculous power of healing. The most wonderful aspect of massage is that anyone can enjoy its pleasures- both giving and receiving.
Massage is useful to us in several different ways:
It improves blood circulation
Calms the nervous system
Stimulates skin function
Improves muscle tone
Eases aches and pains in muscles and joints
And makes you feel fabulous
The basic principles of aromatherapy massage:
In basic terms massage is a way of stroking the body, with variations in the length and depth of stokes. However, one should always direct firm strokes towards the heart, as this will be beneficial to the circulation.
Long flowing massage strokes with little pressure on the body are the most soothing and relaxing. This type of movement is called effleurage. It is done with the whole hand using gentle, even pressure and is often used to start and finish a massage.
Patting or tapping the skin with your fingers quickly and slowly is stimulating and helps to increase the blood flow. This is called tapotement. It is usually done on small areas such as the forehead, cheeks and neck.
Petrissage involves squeezing and relaxing a muscle or part of a muscle group. A good example of this kind of movement is kneading dough. It is mostly done with both hands, particularly on the thighs and buttocks. Petrissage helps strengthen muscle fiber, remove waste products and ease fatigue.
There`s another type of massage movement called friction which creates just that. It involves rubbing the hands backwards and forwards across an area and is very warming and stimulating to the tissues. Rubbing our hands quickly together on a freezing winter day is a good example of how friction can work.
An aromatherapy health professional uses mainly effleurage and works on pressure points with some frictions and petrissage, but there is no reason why you cannot vary the movements if you decide you would like to try giving a simple Aromatherapy massage.
You do not need to be an expert to give a soothing massage to family or friends. You just need to learn a few basic movements.
Dos and Don`ts
Aromatherapy Massage is a gentle healing art suitable for everyone from babies to the very elderly. However, there are certain times or conditions when it should be avoided (for example: massage should be avoided after a heavy meal).
There are certain dos and don`ts to be followed when giving or receiving aromatherapy massage.
Do not massage
Any infected area
A person who is feverish or has a raised temperature
Over an area where varicose veins are present
Over any unusual swelling or inflammation
Bruised or broken skin
Before massaging do
Check with the person about to be massaged whether any of the above apply
Make sure the room is warm enough.
Warm your hands before massaging.Cold hands are a real shock and not a good way to begin Creating the right atmosphere
A good Aromatherapy massage complemented with the right atmosphere is an experience in itself. There is nothing more exciting and enjoyable as a relaxing in a warm atmosphere filled with the aroma of aromatherapy oils and soft, soothing music.
Though this is not less than a dream, but it is possible to create such an atmosphere with a little effort and it is worth it. Because there is nothing more miserable than receiving a soothing massage while shivering in a cold atmosphere with goose pimples on the body.
It is a good idea to have a blanket or a large towel to cover the parts of the body that are not being massaged. Also, it feels good to be wrapped up while being massaged. One can even wrap a hot water bottle in a towel and keep it under the patient`s feet for a really luxurious treat. While a person is lying still, he/she generates less body heat, so the aroma therapist or the person giving the Aromatherapy massage should make sure that the body is at the right temperature.
Harsh, bright lights are unpleasant when being massaged. A table lamp is a good option as it gives a softer, gentler and adequate light to the aroma therapist to see and perform the activity. Once you are comfortable with the massage movements, the lamp can be replaced by candlelight. The soft flickering of the flames has a soothing, hypnotic effect which is very relaxing.
Try to keep noise to the minimum by closing the curtains and blinds. One may also unplug the phone to stay undisturbed and play interesting and soothing background music like the sounds of the sea, tinkling bells, birdsong and running water.
Part of the benefits of aromatherapy massage is the feeling of getting away from the stressful day-to-day living. Soothing music and soft lights can create a relaxing environment. The choice of music and lights can be changed according to personal taste and preferences.
Aromatherapy essential oils are wonderful for creating different atmospheres in the home and are much more authentic than using chemical copies or perfume sprays. Smells have strong imprints on our memories and a certain aroma can evoke all sorts of feelings from the past.
There are several ways of scenting your homes with essential oils. The simplest is probably to add a few drops of the chosen oil to a small bowl of water and then stand it over a radiator. The essential oil floats on the water and gradually evaporates into the air, aided by heat.
A more sophisticated way is to use an oil burner or vaporizer. These come in many different designs, but with the oil burners there is no need to use any water. One just needs to put a few drops of essential oil into the top of the burner, then light a night light underneath. Vaporizers usually have a deeper dish into which you add water, followed by your favourite essential oil. However, whether using an oil burner or a vaporizer, do be careful not to let it burn dry.
Used in this way, the oils can become mood enhancers. They can remove stale smells or even help with conditions such as headaches, colds or insomnia.
Another way to perfume a room is to make your own pot pourri. Gather flowers and herbs from a garden and hang them up in bundles to dry. (The airing cupboard is the ideal place for this.) Once dried, crumble them together, keeping some of the smaller flower heads intact. Now you are ready to perfume your pot pourri with the essential oils of your choice. Using a single essence is better than using a blend.
Here are a few suggestions:
Fresh and light: lemon, coriander, vetivert and Melissa.
Warm and spicy: Benzoin, cinnamon, clove and patchouli.
Sweet and flowery: Lavender, neroli, ylang ylang, sandalwood.
You can also boost a tired pot-pourri by using aromatherapy oils in the same way.
Another way to perfume a room is with a light bulb ring. This is either a ceramic or metal ring which sits on a light bulb. Once the ring is in place all you do is pour in a few drops of essential oil. The fragrance is more effective when the light is turned on as the heat increases the oil`s evaporation.
These are a few ideas that can help you create a warm, relaxing and soothing atmosphere for aromatherapy massage.
Before starting the massage see to it that your hands are warm, clean and your nails are short with no jagged edges.
Take off any rings if you wear them. Also check your massage partner to make sure there are no reasons to stop you from going ahead.
Here are the various treats meant for the body exclusive. Go ahead and entertain a specific body part or a particular problem area.
The Hands and Arms
Back of the Legs
Shoulders and Neck
The Face and Scalp
Self Body Massage
Stress Releiver Massage
Anti wrinkle Massage
The Enrgising massage.