Is there anyone who doesn’t suffer from sore muscles? It could be related to a sporting injury or just the daily strain of everyday life – poor posture at a computer all day or jobs which involve lots of standing and lifting.
Deep muscle relief massage can provide some real physical respite to tired, sore, and knotted muscles, and what better to do it than a range of pure, essential oils? Not only will they smell amazing but the calming and anti-inflammatory effects of certain oils will assist your muscles in the process of recovery, repair, and rejuvenation. As the oils warm in response to your skin temperature, you will also receive the benefits of inhalation and the impact on your mental and emotional state as your therapist begins work on your tired and aching body.
How does an essential oil deep relief massage work?
An essential oil massage or aromatherapy massage combines the ‘aroma’ of healing fragrances with the ‘therapy’ of the actual massage. Aromatherapy deep relief massage not only applies essential oils to the skin but diffuses the scents into the air, to influence both the mind and body. Whilst your muscles are starting to respond to the warm, skilled hands of the therapist, the brain’s limbic system is reacting to the fragrances from the oils you have chosen, calming the mind and de-stressing the emotions, a big contributor to tight and knotted muscles.
What does a deep muscle relief massage aim to achieve?
Sore muscles are muscles that are overstretched, inflamed, tense, and probably in spasm. There is no ache quite like it.
A deep muscle relief massage aims to realign the different layers of muscle tissue particularly the deepest of the layers. It also treats the tendons – the tail of the muscle – and the surrounding ligaments to relieve spasms, and promote suppleness thus easing pain and discomfort.
Via the limbic system in the brain, the chosen oils also influence blood pressure, mood, anxiety and emotion so the dual approach of essential oils really is unbeatable.
Some of the favorite essential oil choices for a deep muscle relief massage
- Peppermint oil – noted for the cooling effect of the menthol which relieves aching muscles and helps to reduce muscle spasm
- Marjoram oil – a great tension decreaser and marjoram also reduces muscle spasms which is what usually causes pain and soreness
- Eucalyptus oil – nature’s anti-inflammatory which combines very well with peppermint
- Lavender – the favorite de-stressing and calming oil, ideal if you want your massage to be a little less vigorous and just a bit more gentle
- Yarrow – not as familiar as some essential oils, yarrow is a distinctive blue color when distilled although the flowers of the yarrow plant from which it is derived are white. Yarrow is commonly used for skin irritations, rashes, and grazes but it also has anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic benefits. Yarrow has a pleasant herbaceous and spicy fragrance
- Sandalwood oil – sandalwood oil tackles muscle tension, spasm and inflammation and is noted for its distinctive woody fragrance which is popular with aromatherapists; it is pungent but not overpowering
How to use the oils
Combine your own personal blend in a base or carrier oil like Coconut or Sweet Almond Oil. Essential oils are too strong to be applied directly to the skin in a neat format and must be diluted first.
Keeping your own oil fusion to hand provides stimulating and deep relief for aching limbs. Enjoy a deep relief massage for aching legs after a warm bath or a relaxing foot rub for tired, sore feet. Using essential oils to massage the feet harnesses the benefits of the reflexology points, restoring different parts of the body and calming and relaxing the mind, there is nothing quite like it.
If you are alone and cannot realistically reach the location of the tired and aching muscles in your back and neck, then drop some of the essential oils into a warm bath. This will help to unwind and relieve any tension and the heat of the water coupled with the scent of the oils will start to restore your physical body and mental well-being.
Swelling and inflammation can be treated with ice or a cold compress with your essential oils added. Peppermint and Eucalyptus are excellent for cold treatments with their pungent scent and penetrating anti-inflammatory properties. Alternating hot and cold treatments can be very effective on inflamed muscles or muscles in spasms. Treat the inflammation with a cold compress and then bathe in a warm bath with the contrasting oils of lavender and marjoram to stimulate the blood supply and let the heat and warmth relax and soothe your body and mind.
Aromatherapy massage was originally a Swedish massage technique using essential oils with the dual effect of absorption through the skin and the inhalation of the warm oils as the aromatherapist works.
Discuss with your aromatherapist or sports masseur the type of massage you need, what you are trying to achieve and which oils you should use for the best results.
Most masseurs will blend their own oils to suit the individual in a base or carrier oil. The quality of the oils that either you or your masseur uses is really important so only source them from reputable and authentic suppliers where you can verify their source.
Essential oils should always be sold in dark amber or blue glass bottles. Clear glass will allow unfiltered light to enter the bottle and it can cause the oil to spoil. Never buy or store your essential oil blends in plastic as the oils can react with the plastic and this will affect their purity.