What to expect from Aromatherapy Massage

Reviewed by Aromatherapist, Jo Manchester on 5 September, 2019.

The giving and receiving of massage as a part of your relationship may be a regular occurrence. This might involve using oils, creams and even include the use of essential oils.

Most people would know that rubbing their fingers between the shoulder blades can help to relieve tension, but unless you are trained in the art of massage, overall the experience may not amount to much more than a brief back rub.

I am the first to say that receiving a massage from your partner can be extremely romantic and beneficial in its own right. However, untrained hands are less likely to be able to achieve the beautiful form of massage that an expert can provide.

Take for instance Aromatherapy Massage. When performed correctly using carefully and safely blended essential oils, the effect on the body can be spectacular.

A professional masseuse will use precise movements specifically tailored to help relieve your own stresses and symptoms.

Here are some of the most common massage movements that you can expect to receive during your professional massage.

Effleurage movements

You’re probably most familiar with this one as it involves slow, gentle movements up your back towards your heart.

Derived from the French word effleurer, meaning ‘to skim over,’ this movement is performed using the whole hand flat and with the fingers together.

Effleurage helps to relax your surface muscles and stimulates lymphatic and blood circulation.

Petrissage movements

Derived from the French word petri meaning ‘to knead,’ this movement consists of kneading and wringing with one or both hands. It can also involve using the pads of the fingers and thumbs to make circular movements.

Petrissage helps to break down muscle knots, stimulate deeper circulation and relax your larger/deeper muscles. It can also help to mobilise fat deposits.

Tapotement movements

Tapotement movements use the whole hand to perform plucking using thumb and finger tips, cupping using cupped hands and hacking using the side edge of the hand.

Derived from the French word tapoter, meaning ‘to tap,’ these quick rhythmic movements help to improve muscle tone and flexibility, stimulate circulation and relax your deeper muscles.

A typical Aromatherapy Massage would usually only include a combination of effleurage and petrissage movements as these are the most relaxing. A Swedish massage is more likely to also include tapotement.

What else can you expect?

Your massage therapist will provide you with a list of guidelines and instructions to ensure the full effectiveness of your aromatherapy massage.

Some of these are applicable before your massage and some after.

Your list may look something like this:

Before your massage:

  • Have a cool shower. DO NOT have a soak in a hot bath.
  • Don’t use deodorant or body spray (this will affect the oils)
  • Don’t consume a large meal beforehand.
  • If you are ill i.e. have the flu, a fever or a serious medical condition, DO NOT have the massage.
  • Don’t drink any alcohol

During your massage:

To ensure you are completely comfortable be honest with your therapist about the following:

  • Tell them how you feel about the lighting, temperature and sound of the room so they can adjust it until you are comfortable.
  • Tell them if their movements are too light, too heavy, too fast or too slow.

After your massage:

  • Lie still for a moment and give your body time to adjust before getting up
  • Drink a glass of water straight afterwards and continue to drink plenty of water or herbal tea for the rest of the day. This will help your kidneys to eliminate toxins.
  • Keep your body warm. Stimulating your circulation draws heat away from the surface of your body.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking.
  • Eat a light meal if you have the massage early in the day.
  • If they have used essential oils, which they probably have, avoid exposing your skin to sunlight. It’s also worth not showering until the following day if this is practical, as this will give the oils the longest opportunity to work their magic.

You may think this ‘to do’ list is a bit strange, but doing all of this can make a big difference to your experience and your body.

So the next time you feel like a massage or need help relieving stress/tension, why not leave it to the experts. It’s worth it, I promise!