Aromatherapy and the benefits of massage.Aromatherapy can be defined as the systematic use of essential oils in holistic treatments to help improve physical and emotional well-being. The oils are diluted in carrier oil and applied to the skin in the form of massage. The oils enter the body through the skin and via respiration. The volatile molecules of the essential oil evaporate on contact with warm air. The odiferous molecules of the essential oil dissolve in the mucous membranes lining the nose. These aromatic molecules are picked up by the cilia which protrude from the olfactory receptor cells. The fibres of the olfactory nerves pass from the cribriform plate of the ethmoid bone in the roof of the nose to reach the olfactory bulb where a chemical message is relayed to the brain. The message travels to the cerebral cortex where smell is perceived. The temporal lobe of the brain contains the primary olfactory area which is directly connected to the limbic area.
The limbic area of the brain
The main parts of the limbic system are:
- The amygdala- the emotional centre of the brain linked to anxiety, fear, aggression and pleasure.
- The hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that links odour to a memory.
Benefits of Aromatherapy Massage
- Promotes a general state of well-being
- Calms and soothes the mind
- Helps to reduce nervous tension
- Helps to reduce feelings of depression
- Stimulates the immune system
- Increases the oxygen and nutrient supply to the tissues by increasing the blood circulation
- Can help to increase energy levels
- Helps to restore balance in the body
- Enhances lymphatic drainage