When it comes to relaxation, there's not really anything more soothing and therapeutic than a nice massage. The kneading on your muscles helps to de-stress and relax your body, and the quiet time helps to invigorate your mind. But what if there was a way for massages to do triple duty -- to boost your concentration, relax your muscles, and relax you emotionally? Well, there is, and it's through the science of smell. So if you're wondering exactly what scents to use in your next massage to really relax and refresh you emotionally, then here's what you need to know.
The classic scent for relaxation, lavender is a very familiar flower to most people and has an instantly recognizable sweet, floral scent. Along with its much-lauded ability to help hurry tension headaches on their way, lavender is known to enhance relaxation, ward off depression and its associated ills, and to calm you to the point of sleep! Lavender is particularly helpful when used in head and facial massages but will aid you no matter where it is absorbed into your skin.
A scent with a rather unusual name (pronounced EE-lang EE-lang), ylang ylang are blossoms found in Indonesia and other islands in the South Pacific area. The scent of the essential oil that comes from ylang ylang is a flowery, earthy smell not unlike jasmine or neroli and is considered to have an overall calming effect on those who are exposed to it. Ylang ylang boasts of many benefits to using it in massage, including clearing up your skin, lowering blood pressure, and calming anxiety and depression. If your massage focuses mainly on your shoulders and back, ylang ylang is a good choice of essential oil to aid you in relaxing.
A must-have herb for cooks and chefs the world over, sage is a nice, almost spicy scent used in perfumes and liquors, as well as for more aromatherapeutic applications. The specific subset of sage referred to as clary sage is perfect for calming emotional turmoil, as it has been found to not only lower stress levels in the body but also to act as a sort of antidepressant -- perfect for the times when the winter has got you feeling rather blue. Clary sage is perfect for a massage that focuses more on your lower body -- you carry a lot of stress in your legs and feet -- but will work with any massage to calm your nerves.
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