Aromatherapy and Massage

WHAT IS AROMATHERAPY?  WHY IS IT USED IN MASSAGE?

      Why do I use sometimes use it in massage?  I’m sure by now you realize I don’t always use essential oils during massage, but I often do, letting you choose the scent that calls to you most.  
      Therapeutic quality essential oils are derived from plant flowers, leaves, stems, roots or bark and can have great healing properties.  A lot of our pharmaceuticals originated from plants.  Did you know that aspirin was first found in Willow bark?  But that was not what I wanted to explain to you today.  How can something you smell be healing, either emotionally or physically?  How does that work?  It starts with the olfactory system in our nostrils with a mucus-covered tissue called the olfactory epithelium.  Though only a few centimeters wide, it contains more than 100 million olfactory receptor cells that have different shapes and capture different scents-one will only capture piney scents, another only flowers or vanilla, for example.  From there the olfactory receptors bundle together to form the olfactory nerve that carries this information to the limbic system in the brain.  The limbic system is responsible for adrenaline flow, emotional behavior, long-term memory and motivation.  Aromas can trigger certain physical responses, such as the smell of fire can trigger a fight or flight response, or the scent of roses can bring up a memory of your Grandmother and can make you feel comforted.  The oils in a plant have several chemical constituents that affect the brain in different ways, such as Basil is a anti-depressant and increases dopamine (also has antibacterial properties, but that’s another subject).  Lemongrass is neurosedative, Eucalyptus is a neurostimulant.  Plant oils can affect, by smelling them, how we feel. They can also affect how we feel physically.  Isn’t nature fascinating? 

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