Most Popular Aromatherapy Massage Techniques

From the days of the ancient Egyptians to this day, massage is the primary use for essential oils. Through an effective aromatherapy massage, essential oils get rapidly absorbed into the body and provide many therapeutic benefits. A skilled aromatherapist must incorporate various aromatherapy massage techniques so that the psychological and physiological benefits of essential oils will be enjoyed by the client. An effective massage also helps essential oils get absorbed into the bloodstream. Here are some key advantages of aromatherapy massage techniques:

Psychological benefits : Using the right aromatherapy massage techniques help people enjoy psychological benefits like – a feeling of well being, enjoy a soothing and calming state of mind, reduce nervous tension and as a source of uplifting moods and removing feelings of depression.

Physiological benefits : A good aromatherapy massage prevents edema, reduces fluid retention by enhancing drainage by the lymph glands, it restores body balance and provides a feeling of deep relaxation. It improves natural immunity, increases nutrient, oxygen supply to the blood since blood circulation improves during a massage. Since nerves are relaxed, energy levels are increased. 

Popular Techniques of aromatherapy massage

There are many aromatherapy massage techniques practiced all over the world. The right training is required to become a professional aromatherapist. Here we will see some of these techniques, the way they are performed and the benefits they offer the client.

Effleurage Aromatherapy Massage technique

This is the main technique that is followed and it involves gliding strokes that prepare soft tissues for further treatment by warming up muscles. A free-flowing, continuous technique is followed using the palms of the hands and applying a steady pressure.  Effleurage is French and it means to ‘glide’ or ‘skim lightly’. It is one of the popular Swedish aromatherapy massage techniques and apart from free-flowing strokes you can even use circular strokes with the palm or padded portions of the fingertips. There are four categories of effleurage massage:

  • Nerve-stroking also called feathering
  • Aura or ethereal strokes
  • Superficial
  • Deep effleurage

Benefits of effleurage massage technique include:

  • Improves general blood circulation by promoting venous flow
  • Improves lymphatic flow
  • Helps to absorb and remove waste products
  • Improves skin elasticity
  • Aids desquamation
  • The essential oils absorbed through effleurage provide nutrition to the tissues of the skin and improve capillary circulation
  • The soothing strokes provide a link to other massage movements
  • Clients gets soothed by the comforting touch of the therapists hands during effleurage

Petrissage Aromatherapy Massage Technique

This technique has a kneading motion and it is performed with hands that are supple and relaxed. Pressure is applied intermittently by one or both hands and it involves lifting tissues from structures below, applying pressure and then relaxing.

Benefits of Petrissage massage technique include:

  • Improves circulation
  • Removes waste matter from tissues
  • Blood supply increases and this Improves elasticity and tone of muscles
  • Helps tense muscles to relax and relieves the body of tension, pain and fatigue

Frictions Aromatherapy Massage Technique

Small movements using the pad of fingers characterize the frictions technique. Small movements using controlled pressure are used on smaller areas of the body.

Benefits of Frictions massage technique

  • Stimulates metabolism and circulation
  • Frees the skin from adhesions
  • Helps absorption of fluid collected at the joints
  • Fibrosis formation in muscle tissue is aided
  • Has an invigorating effect on the client

Vibrations Aromatherapy Massage Techniquearomatherapy massage technique

Trembling movements are used along the path of nerves. The fingertips or palmar surface of one or both pairs of hands is used during this massage therapy.

Benefits of vibrations massage technique include

  • Clears nerve paths of tension
  • Stimulates the nerves
  • Provides a soothing and sedative effect since it relieves tension
  • Client feels refreshed after a session

Neuromuscular aromatherapy massage technique

In this technique, alternating pressure levels are applied on tense muscles using fingers, elbow or knuckles. This massage improves release of endorphins and releases tension and pain in joints and muscles.  The muscle areas are first warmed up before deeper massage is performed.

Some of the conditions that get relief after this massage session include:

  • Sciatica
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Migraines
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Tennis elbow
  • Chronic pain
  • Lower back pain

Pressures massage Technique

Every part of the skin is subject to pressure using figures and thumbs. Most of the pressure is applied along nerve tracts and called ‘energy massage’.

Benefits include:

  • Clears energy blocks by stimulating nerve ends
  • Releases tension from nerve tracts and therefore eases nervous system congestion

Some other popular massage techniques

Fanning uses rhythmic and smooth effleurage movements on the back, legs, chest and arms. The stretching effect that is created eases tension from the muscles. It helps to improve blood circulation, eliminate body toxins, reduces build up of cellulite, tones tissues and muscles, cures insomnia, improves functioning of nervous and digestive systems and when combined with a healthy diet, fanning helps in weight loss. 

Tapotement uses rhythmic percussion movements employing the edges of the hand, tips of fingers or a cupped hand using the heels of palms or fingertips. Types of tapotement include beating, slapping, hacking, tapping and cupping. It is meant to stimulate the nervous system. 

Precautions while aromatherapy massage

All aromatherapists must follow these precautions before a massage session:

  • Do not start if the client has consumed alcohol, drugs or a large meal before the session
  • If the client has undergone recent surgery, get clearance from the doctor
  • Use only gentle techniques on a person who has suffered a stroke or heart attacks.
  • Do not massage if the client has cancer or an infectious disease, thrombosis or phlebitis.
  • If the client has varicose veins, avoid them during a massage.
  • Similarly avoid inflamed joints of clients suffering from gout, arthritis or rheumatism.
  • Pregnant women must get a doctor’s clearance before a massage.


Employing the right aromatherapy massage techniques help in improved absorption of essential oils by the skin into the bloodstream. This is an extremely effective way of enhancing the therapeutic benefits of essential oils and affects all the systems of the body in a positive manner.  Apart from this, just the simple pleasure of a soothing and relaxing massage eases away tension, depression and other stress of a busy lifestyle.