Massage with Aromatherapy is Effective for a Variety of Types of Pain
There are several essential oils for muscular pain, such as lemongrass, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint and spike lavender. Ask your massage therapist about aromatherapy. For tension headaches specifically, lavender, peppermint and lemongrass are all great options because they all have antispasmodic and analgesic and antispasmodic properties. You can create a massage oil with one or more of the essential oils and apply it directly to muscles of the neck, especially the client’s suboccipital muscles. which tend to hold a lot of tension. Hold the client’s head and allow your fingers to sink into the back of the skull. Hold this position for several minutes.
For muscle strains, muscle spasm or other types of sports injuries, either rosemary or peppermint essential oil can be a wonderful aromatherapy choice because these oils promote circulation, decrease pain sensations, and also promote muscle repair. As an example, with a calf spasm, you can apply peppermint massage cream to your palms and press firmly on the muscle belly, holding pressure until the muscle spasm relaxes. Follow up with some light effleurage and then gentle stretching for the affected muscle.
Aromatherapy and massage can be very soothing for menstrual cramps and abdominal pain. Use a blend of cardamom and/or ginger essential oil in a cream or carrier oil. Both of these essential oils are warming and can help bring circulation to the area. Other milder, calming oils such as lavender or Roman chamomile can also be very effective when applied to the skin in a slow, rhythmic, clockwise pattern. If your client can tolerate the pressure, small petrissage massage can aid digestive bowel movement. Both lavender and chamomile are very calming and can quickly ease pain.
Sciatica Leg Pain
Sciatica is an example of nerve pain that can benefit from massage with aromatherapy. Helichrysum, ginger and frankincense each have anti-inflammatory properties and can help to ease pressure on a nerve from its surrounding tissues. Effleurage the hips and hamstrings to bring circulation to the area.
For clients living with chronic pain, it would be wise to discuss their scent preferences with them before beginning massage because there are many essential oils that can be helpful but the client may be sensitive to certain smells and may not react well to them if used. Ideally you can choose an essential oil or blend of oils that will be relaxing and ultimately pain relieving. Most people tolerated lavender very well and that is often an easy to implement scent. Swedish massage techniques using lavender essential oil may be performed on the area of pain, and also applied to the whole body. Initially use a 2% dilution of 10-12 drops per 1 oz. carrier oil for chronic conditions. When working with chronic pain, remember to check in with them frequently about how they are feeling during the session. This will allow your client to feel as comfortable as possible by changing technique or lightening pressure, or eliminating the aromatherapy altogether.