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February 8, 2013

Aromatherapy—Pathway to Relaxation

Simply stated, aromatherapy is the use of scent to treat your health and well-being.

Scent has played a role in the life of humans from early times. During the years between 7000 and 4000 B.C.E., Neolithic tribes discovered that heated animal fat absorbed the aroma of plants. From this discovery, these people began to use the plant-scented animal fat to flavor food, heal wounds and soothe skin, as well as relax muscles in what would be a precursor to today’s massage lotions.

Moving forward in human history, the use of essential oils most likely began almost one thousand years ago. Essential oils, the compounds that make up a plant’s fragrance, are commonly referred to as aromatherapy today. The Chinese are believed to have incorporated good-smelling plants into their lives and homes to promote well-being. Infused oils, such as cedarwood, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg and myrrh, were popular with the Egyptians who incorporated them into a variety of spiritual, medicinal, fragrance and cosmetic uses, including the embalming of their dead.

Today, the proper scent can reduce stress, ease depression, bring about a good night’s sleep, relax your mind or increase you energy level. Aromatherapy, in addition to the great emotional benefits just mentioned, also offers many healing benefits. Essential oils can be incorporated into treatments for everything from acne to varicose veins.

Muscle pain and stress can be treated with essential oils, including birch, chamomile, ginger, jasmine, lavender and rosemary. Looking for an aromatherapy answer to stress? Essential oils such as lavender, bergamot, marjoram, sandalwood, lemon and chamomile have been found to relax brain waves. Research has also shown that neroli, petitgrain, chamomile, valerian and opopanax (which is similar to myrrh) oils offer users a calming, sedating effect.

Massage Envy incorporates many essential oils in their massage offerings to treat aches and pains and anxiety, as well as to help calm the mind and spirit and increase circulation. Our four AromaTherapy blends—Aches & Pains, Anxiety Release, Lavender Garden or Mint & Rosemary—will naturally enhance any massage.

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