top of page

Aromatherapy Massage

The History Of Aromatherapy Massage

The roots of aromatherapy massage can be traced back thousands of years to the ancient cultures of Egypt, China, India, and Greece, where aromatic oils were valued for their medicinal and spiritual properties.

The Egyptians have a rich history of using aromatic plants as perfumes. Imhotep, the Egyptian god of medicine, is said to have recommended fragrant oils for bathing and as an aromatherapy massage. The Egyptians were known to have used aromatic plants such as frankincense, myrrh, and cedarwood in their massage and bathing rituals, believing there would help heal both the body and the spirit.

Similarly, in ancient China and India, aromatic oils were an integral part of traditional medicine systems such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian healing system, aromatic oils were used in massage to balance the body's doshas (energies) and promote overall well-being. In TCM, aromatic herbs and oils were employed to stimulate the flow of qi (life force) and restore harmony to the body's meridians.

The Greeks also recognized the therapeutic properties of aromatic oils, using them for their antiseptic, analgesic, and mood-enhancing effects. The renowned Greek physician Hippocrates, often referred to as the "father of modern medicine," used aromatic oils in massage to treat various ailments.

Despite its ancient origins, the modern practice of aromatherapy massage began to take shape in the early 20th century. French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé is credited with coining the term "aromatherapy" in the 1920s after accidentally discovering the healing properties of lavender oil when he applied it to a burn on his hand. This discovery led Gattefossé to further research the therapeutic benefits of essential oils and their applications in healthcare.

In the mid-20th century, French biochemist Marguerite Maury further developed the practice of aromatherapy massage, blending essential oils with carrier oils and applying them to the skin through gentle massage techniques. Maury's work laid the foundation for modern aromatherapy massage as a holistic therapy aimed at promoting physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Since then, aromatherapy massage has gained widespread popularity and recognition as a complementary therapy for various conditions, including stress, anxiety, muscle tension, and chronic pain. Today, trained aromatherapists and massage therapists offer a range of aromatherapy massage techniques tailored to individual needs, often incorporating custom blends of essential oils to address specific health concerns. Ripple uses a wide range of aromatherapy oils in our massages.

Lavender used in aromatherapy masasge
Lavender aromatherapy massage oils

Why Aromatherapy Massage Helps

One of the main ways an aromatherapy massage helps is its ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress. Research conducted at the University of Maryland Medical Center found that aromatherapy massage with lavender essential oil significantly reduced levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in participants. Another study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine demonstrated that aromatherapy massage reduced anxiety and improved mood in patients undergoing cardiac surgery.

Added to this, aromatherapy massage has been shown to relieve pain. A study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management found that aromatherapy massage with essential oils such as peppermint and eucalyptus was effective in reducing pain intensity and improving quality of life in cancer patients. Similarly, research conducted at the University of Miami School of Nursing showed that aromatherapy massage with ginger and orange essential oils reduced menstrual pain in women.

Aromatherapy massage can also have positive effects on mental health and emotional well-being. A study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that aromatherapy massage with a blend of essential oils, including bergamot and lavender, reduced depression and improved sleep quality in elderly patients with dementia. Another study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice showed that aromatherapy massage decreased symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety in new mothers.

Using essential oils in massage also helps te immune system. Research conducted at the University of Vienna demonstrated that aromatherapy massage with essential oils such as tea tree and eucalyptus enhanced the activity of white blood cells, which play a crucial role in the body's immune response. Additionally, a study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience showed that aromatherapy massage with rosemary and lemon essential oils improved cognitive function and alertness in healthy adults.

How To Do Aromatherapy Massage

  1. Choose the Right Essential Oils: Select essential oils that suit the reaason for the massage and what the client may like. Popular choices include lavender for relaxation, peppermint for invigoration, eucalyptus for respiratory support, and chamomile for calming effects. Ensure that the essential oils are pure and of high quality. Ripple has a number of aromatherapy blends or we can blend one just for you

  2. Dilute the Essential Oils: Essential oils are highly concentrated and potent, so it's essential to dilute them with a carrier oil before applying them to the skin. Common carrier oils include sweet almond oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and grapeseed oil. Dilute the essential oils by adding a few drops to a tablespoon of carrier oil and mix well.

  3. Create A Relaxing Atmosphere: Dimthe lights, play soft music, and lighting candles or using an essential oil diffuser to fill the room with aromatic scents. Ensure that the room is warm and comfortable, and that the massage table or surface is padded and supportive.

  4. Chat to the client beforehand to find out what they want from their massage that day: Before beginning the massage, communicate with the recipient to understand their preferences, any specific areas of tension or discomfort, and any allergies or sensitivities to certain oils. This will help tailor the massage to their individual needs.

  5. Warm the Diluted Essential Oils: Pour a small amount of the diluted essential oil blend into the palm of your hand and rub your hands together to warm the oil. Start by applying the oil to the recipient's back, shoulders, and neck using long, smooth strokes. Take care to avoid sensitive areas such as the eyes and face.

  6. Use a variety of massage techniques to relax the muscles, and promote circulation. These may include effleurage (long, gliding strokes), petrissage (kneading and squeezing motions), friction (deep circular movements), and tapotement (light tapping or percussive movements). Adjust the pressure and intensity of the massage based on the recipient's comfort level.

  7. Focus on Relaxation: Encourage the recipient to take deep breaths and relax during the massage.

What Are Some Contraindications For An Aromatherapy Massage

  1. Allergies: Some clients may be allergic or sensitive to certain essential oils used in aromatherapy massage. It's essential to ask about any known allergies plants or oils before using them in a massage. Patch testing can help identify potential allergic reactions before applying the oils to a larger area of the body.

  2. Skin Sensitivities: Essential oils are highly concentrated and potent, and they can cause skin irritation or sensitization, especially when applied directly to the skin in high concentrations. It's essential to dilute essential oils properly with a carrier oil and perform a skin patch test to check for any adverse reactions before using them in a massage.

  3. Pregnancy: Pregnant women should exercise caution when using aromatherapy massage, especially during the first trimester when the risk of miscarriage is highest. Some essential oils, such as basil, cedarwood, clary sage, juniper, rosemary, and thyme, are considered to be uterine stimulants and should be avoided during pregnancy. It's essential to consult with a qualified healthcare provider before receiving aromatherapy massage during pregnancy to ensure the safety of both the mother and the baby. None of Ripples oils are contraindicated for pregnancy.

  4. Medical Conditions: Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or skin disorders, should consult with a healthcare professional before undergoing aromatherapy massage. Certain essential oils may interact with medications or exacerbate underlying health conditions, so it's essential to disclose any relevant medical history and seek guidance from a qualified practitioner.

  5. Photosensitivity: Some essential oils, such as citrus oils like bergamot, lemon, lime, and grapefruit, can cause photosensitivity or increased sensitivity to sunlight. Applying these oils to the skin before sun exposure can increase the risk of sunburn or skin damage. Avoid sun exposure or use protective measures such as sunscreen or protective clothing after applying photosensitive oils to the skin.

  6. Children and Infants: Aromatherapy massage may not be suitable for young children or infants, as their skin is more delicate and sensitive to essential oils. Certain oils may be too strong or irritating for children, and special precautions should be taken to ensure their safety. It's essential to consult with a pediatrician or qualified aromatherapist before using aromatherapy massage on children or infants.

  7. Respiratory Conditions: Individuals with respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may be sensitive to strong aromatic scents or airborne particles from essential oils. It's essential to use caution when diffusing essential oils in the massage room and to choose oils that are well-tolerated and non-irritating for individuals with respiratory issues.

  8. Sensory Sensitivities: Some individuals may have sensory sensitivities or aversions to certain scents or textures used in aromatherapy massage. It's essential to communicate with the recipient beforehand to understand their preferences and sensitivities and to tailor the massage experience accordingly to ensure their comfort and enjoyment.

Ripple's Aromatherapy Massage

Ripple offers aromatherapy massage with all its spa packages.

Ripple has several massage aromatherapy blends. The thrive or rejuvenation aromatherapy massage oil uses uplifting citrus scents like mandarin and lime. These help to detox the body, are good for a pick me up if you are feeling tired and generally rejuvenate the mind and body.

The next is the relaxation blend with a heavy emphasis on lavender aromatherapy massage oils, along with sandalwood, and as  the name suggests is designed to relax.

Ripple also has a wide range of other aromatherapy massage oils including some for pregnancy (that are safe to use during the prenatal stage), one perfect for the skin that uses a lot of geranium in it, and there is even one for babies and infants.

All of Ripple’s massages use an aromatherapy oil at no extra charge if you would like as this helps enhance not only the massage experience but also the health benefits of the massage.


bottom of page