One — Sandalwood is native to Southeast Asian countries. Among its other important properties, Sandalwood is a sedative, a tonic and a memory booster. For massage, the first two are quite beneficial. As a sedative, Sandalwood is very effective sedative on anxiety, fear, and restlessness as it induces calmness and positive thoughts. I like the third property because I like to think it will help my client retain how great our session was. What it does is keep the brain cool and relaxed, saving it from undue stress and/or anxiety.
Two — Bergamot, made from a citrus fruit called Bergamot orange, is native to Italy. It is sweet-smelling, known most for its use in Earl Grey tea. It has many favorable properties, but for the purpose of massage, the most important are that it relaxes the nervous system and relieves stress and tension. An added bonus is that it will give the skin a healthy glow.
Three — Clary Sage is produced in the USA, France and Bulgaria. It has to be one of my top three oils of all time. It has a wonderful aroma that is quite earthy and herbaceous. It also has an almost narcotic, and even euphoric effect which is great for stress relief — for both client and therapist! In addition, it is an anti-depressant, helping to elevate self-esteem, confidence, hope and so much more. After massaging a client with Clary Sage, you may see a completely new person emerge from your table who is filled with confidence, immense joy and high spirits.
Four — Roman Chamomile is a very powerful soothing and calming oil. It’s also very versatile in that it can be successfully blended with other fragrances for maximum effect. I prefer the fragrance of Roman Chamomile which is almost apple-like, over German or Moroccan Chamomile essential oils. Compared to perhaps the most popular oil, Lavender, Roman Chamomile, while more expensive, is actually more effective and requires a smaller quantity. It can be irritating to the skin if not sufficiently diluted.
Five — Lavender, with its sweet, floral and herbaceous aroma, is the most well-known aroma and is used in everything from potpourri to laundry detergent. It blends very well with other fragrances such as Cedarwood, Clary Sage and Nutmeg. What makes Lavender so popular? There are myriad reasons for its popularity, but I suspect the most likely reason is that its scent is extremely and immediately calming. In addition, it eases anxiety, depression, nervous tension and emotional stress. It also induces sleep, so for massage, it is a near-perfect scent.
Six — Peppermint is native to Europe and is a cross between spearmint and watermint. Similar in popularity to Lavender, you’ll find Peppermint in so many products the list would be prohibitively long for this article. The health benefits is an equally long list. For massage use, Peppermint provides relief from depression, mental exhaustion and stress because of its refreshing nature. It is also quite effective for someone suffering from anxiety or restlessness. A little bit goes a long way and too much can actually aggravate the skin.
Seven — Cedarwood is extracted from Cedar trees through steam distillation. I really love the aroma which is very earthy and woodsy. It combines really well with lavender as well as other essential oils. It’s also a great relaxer, reducing anxiety and nervousness.
Eight — Nutmeg, native to the Banda islands in Indonesia has a warm and pungent aroma. Among a long list of healing properties, Nutmeg is an anti-inflammatory, a very potent analgesic, it can also be a tonic for the body by reducing fatigue and weakness. Of course it’s great for relieving depression and anxiety as well.
Nine — Ginger is native to India where its name comes from the Gingi district of India. It can be combined with Bergamot and Sandalwood essential oils for a very pleasing and effective concoction. It can relieve muscle aches and even lethargy. Personally, I don’t recommend using Ginger essential oil alone in a carrier oil. It’s best used as a complimentary oil, blended with others.
These nine essential oils perfect for massage can be used separately or combined to create concoctions special to each client. They can be used as aromatherapy via inhalation, or combined in an appropriate carrier oil to be used directly on the skin. It’s important to remember that some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to certain oils. Always ask your client if they have any known allergies. For instance, I’m extremely allergic to Eucalyptus and I can’t tell you how many times people have tried to kill me by using it on me without asking first. Furthermore, some oils are stronger than others, so make sure you take particular care in applying it directly to the skin. This list is meant as a suggestion for those therapists looking to expand their horizons.