The 13 golden rules of massage with essential oils
1. Wash your hands thoroughly before AND after any aromatic massage.
Even if it's a short one! Before, for hygiene, and after, to avoid keeping essential oils on your hands. You might forget and put your fingers in your eye area. Trust me, it’s unpleasant!
2. Safety test.
Do you have sensitive skin and don't know how it will react to an aromatic massage? You have heard about allergies to essential oils and you are afraid of a skin reaction?... Some skin types are more reactive than others and deserve to be tested by applying a small "sample". Simply put 2 drops of the mixture on the inside of the wrists or on the inside of the elbow. Some people recommend covering the area with a bandage and removing it after 12 hours: if there is no redness, there is no danger of using your aromatic massage oil on larger areas of the body. But in fact, the bandage doesn’t do much, especially if you are also reactive to its "glue"! It's up to you: with or without bandage, the important thing is that your skin is not irritated, red or itchy. This is called the safety test.
3. If you prepare your own mixtures, use only high-quality raw materials (essential oils and vegetable oils).
For essential oils:
Not all are of equal quality. Aim for "100% natural, 100% pure and 100% total” oils. These terms guarantee an essential oil that has not been denatured or "mixed" with other substances - synthetic or natural - of lesser quality: you are sure to benefit fully from the active principles. “Organic” (ecological and organic cosmetics) goes even further, provided it is controlled by a recognised certification body, such as Ecocert, for example. Something else to consider: the EOBBD (Essential Oil Botanically and Biochemically Defined) label proves that the variety, species and botanical chemotype of the essential oil are known, referenced and analysed. Preferably buy your essential oils and vegetable oils in pharmacies or chemists, where guarantees of control can be provided on request and where traceability is total. Beware of less secure channels, such as the Internet (unless it is a brand known for its quality such as Puressentiel) or street vendors.
For vegetable oils:
Cold extracted and organic is ideal. Your skin deserves no less. It would be illogical to provide it quality essential oils in a mediocre oil medium...
4. For safety reasons, it is not advisable to use essential oils on pregnant women and young children.
In reality, this restriction of use mainly concerns the internal route, and only a few essential oils could really be dangerous. But, in the absence of advice from a specialist, please comply with this safety "ban".
In particular, no stomach massage for pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers! On the other hand, you can use specific products for children (e.g. "Rest & Relax" or "RESP OK®" balms) without any risk, as they are specifically designed with essential oils that are both gentle and active. And relieving a mother-to-be's backache with an aromatic lavender massage can only do good!
But be careful!
Avoid essential oils with a high terpene content, which can cause seizure disorders in young children. This is the case with lemon, cinnamon (as well as many spices), pine, clove, anise, fennel, thyme, oregano, camphor essential oils and mint.
5. The atmosphere and the feeling of confidence are as important as the precision of the gesture.
If you are massaging a relative, a child, a friend... you will easily be forgiven an approximate movement, but not a room that is too cold, too bright or noisy, for example. Take your time, make the "receiver" comfortable, listen to the other person (or to yourself in the case of self-massage), provide soft music if necessary, and don't think about anything else than what you are doing.
6. Warm up your hands before you start massaging.
And be sure to warm your oil, either in your hands or by immersing the bottle in warm water. Nothing is worse than cold hands and cold oil on the skin! Of course, it shouldn't burn either: don't heat your bottle in the microwave!
7. Whether you are massaging your own body or that of a loved one,
If you don't know which way to put your hands or gestures, continue to massage slowly in the direction of the muscle, following the natural curvature of the muscle; for example, for the calf, along the leg from bottom to top, not perpendicularly. And let your instincts guide you!
8. During the massage, avoid removing your hands from the body.
Always maintain contact with the person being massaged. If you need to take more oil, take hold of the bottle with one hand, but leave the other hand flat on the skin of the person being massaged.
9. Never apply essential oil to mucous membranes.
Mucous membranes are all areas of the body that are covered with a thin layer of moist skin (eyes, nostrils, mouth, genitals).
10. A massage should NEVER hurt or aggravate pain.
In all cases of chronic illness, very old or weak people, seek advice from a health professional before engaging in aromatic massage.
11. In case of splashes of essential oil in the eyes, rinse quickly and gently with a vegetable oil.
Do not use water (unless this is your only option in the absence of vegetable oil). The principle is to dilute the essential oil as much as possible in the vegetable oil. However, an essential oil cannot be diluted with water!
12. Never impose a massage.
A person who does not wish to be massaged will probably not benefit from the session.
13. After an aromatic massage, do not rinse!
Wrap yourself in a warm, cosy bathrobe for at least 10 minutes, then get dressed or... go to bed depending on the time of day.
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Extracts from Automassages aux huiles essentielles - Guide visuel by Isabelle Pacchioni published by Leduc.s