The senses are extremely important to me to integrate in massage sessions for it to become a full mind, body, spirit experience. Here are a few sensory moments you might find to help clients relax fully and benefit fully from their service.
Touch: This may be the obvious one, but even in providing deep tissue sessions I pay attention to how touch is introduced. I try to be very aware of gentle touch when first introducing my presence to someone’s muscles. It’s important to warm the tissue before delving in deeper, no matter what the focus is. Also, the feel of the sheets or warmed table are considered into the sense of touch.
Sight: You may have your eyes closed during a session (which allows you to relax more), but there is something about the use of colors and visualization in your environment. Blues, lavenders, and light greens are known to be more relaxing. Minimalist decor can be relaxing, but also creative decor can be uplifting.
Hearing: On your intake forms, you will be asked what type of music you prefer. Some prefer Classical, some prefer New Age or spa music. Even experimenting with different sounds from nature or vibrations can make some soothing tones. Some also feel noise is distracting and just prefer a white noise machine.
Smell: Every session includes some type of aromatherapy. It may be used as a deep breathing exercise, in the massage oil or lotion, or even herbs wrapped in hot towels. Many essential oils and herbs can bring you into a deeper state of relaxation and I am always experimenting with different ways to bring it into the treatment room.
Taste: This may come to a surprise to some, but I always keep a few different green, black, or herbal teas on hand. Smell affects taste as well. If you were to inhale an aroma that is disagreeable, it may linger on your taste buds as well.
If you feel you would like to integrate more into your sessions, I am always open to more ideas! Make this truly your time.
(Image: Photoshop Art by Cathy Podd 2000)
Anise Seed (Pimpinella anisum) is steam-distilled from the seeds, usually originating in Egypt. It has a sweet licorice aroma similar to Fennel. Benefits include:
- stomach soother (do not consume Anise essential oil)
- good for respiratory health
- pro-estrogen (some say good for milk secretion, do not use when pregnant)
Blends well with Lavender, Orange, Wood aromas, Clove and Cinnamon
Clove (Eugenia carophyllata) oil is steam distilled from the Clove flower bud usually originating in Madagascar. It is still used by dentists to numb areas but can be sensitizing to skin*. Here are some other benefits:
- good for blends used for arthritis
- stimulates memory (in diffusers)
- uplifting and awakening (diffusers)
- Eugenol in clove has antiseptic properties
Clove blends best with Cinnamon, Ginger, Orange, Lavender, and other wood aromas.
*Please use caution when using Clove oil. This oil needs to be highly diluted. Ask a trained aromatherapist for advice when dealing with Clove oil.
Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) is sometimes distilled in fractions from the blossoms commonly originating in Madagascar. It is called the “flowers of flowers” and carries a sweet, slightly exotic aroma that is used in many perfumes. Benefits may include:
- uplifting for the blues
- calms and releases tension
- balances skin sebum production
Ylang Ylang blends best with other florals as well as citruses and woodsy aromas.
Sweet Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare dulce) is steam distilled from the Fennel seed. Used in Italian cooking, it has a licorice candy aroma. There are a few benefits as well:
- eases upset stomach or ingestion
- Energizes but can also ease stress
- supports healthy fluid retention
Best blended with Basil, Lemon, Lavender, Sandalwood, and other florals.
Palma Rosa (Cymbopogon martinii) is a grass usually native to India and steam-distilled. It has a floral aroma of roses and geranium. Benefits of Palma Rosa:
- insect repellant
- sebum balancer
- stress relief when inhaled
It is best blended with Rose, Geranium, Lavender, and citruses and woody aromas.
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) is cold pressed by the peel and mostly originating in the USA. The Sweet Orange is the same orange most people find themselves eating and squeezing into their daily meals. It has a sweet, citrusy uplifting aroma and even a few benefits:
- Freshens stale air and uplifts emotions
- low immune system
- helpful in respiratory health
- brightens dull skin
Sweet Orange blends best with Geranium, Lavender, other citruses, wood and spice aromas.
Patchouli (Pogostemon patchouli or Pogostemon cablin) are grasses that are steam distilled mostly originating in Sumatra or India. Besides its aroma use in the 60’s, it has a few health benefits as well:
- soothes inflamed skin or eczema
- tones skin
- known to be a sedative when blended with other sedatives
- known to also be a stimulant when using large quantities
Blends well with Bergamot, Cedarwood, Lavender, Myrrh, Rose
Juniper (Juniperus communis) is steam distilled from the branches and berries of the Juniper. It has a crisp, woody, almost fruity aroma. The benefits are as follows:
- diuretic properties
- helps in aiding respiratory system
- helpful in aches and pains
- centering and balancing for emotions
It is best blended with Cypress, Fennel, Rosemary, and Lemon.
Damask Rose (Rosa damascena) is also known as Rose Otto. There are many varieties of roses, but Damask Rose is the most popular in essential oil use and quite the beautiful aroma. The highest quality EO’s come from Turkey or Bulgaria. Some are either hydro-distilled from the petals or another way would be called an “absolute” which is distilled using solvents. Some benefits of this lovely Rose are:
- balancing female hormones
- used for depression or anxiety
- use for eczema or mature skin
Rose blends well with many different florals, Clary Sage, Sandalwood, Bergamot, and Rosewood.