We often see the addition of “Aromatherapy” when a Thai Oil Massage treatment session is offered. Yet in fact, Thai Oil Massage and Aromatherapy are two distinct modalities.
Thai Oil Massage is about giving deep pressure, gliding, rolling, stroking, rubbing and stretching movements using the palms, thumbs, elbows and knees in combination with the application of (warmed) base oils (not necessarily special oils or so-called essential oils).
A Thai Traditional Oil massage is, like a Traditional Thai Massage (without oils), based on the concepts of traditional Thai healing bodywork, that is—working, opening, and stimulating the so-called Energy Lines, also called the Sip Sen or Sen Lines.
Aromatherapy massage is based on the idea that adding scented plant oils and/or plant essential oils to a base oil addresses specific ailments or needs of the receiver. Essential oils can have medical properties such as relaxing, calming, soothing, energizing, stress-reducing, balancing, anti-inflammatory, and so on, and mixed with a base oil can stimulate a healing process.
For one part the scent of the oils (inhaled) is believed to have healing or relaxing properties (depending on which oils are used) and secondly, certain oils originating from specific plants, herbs and/or flowers penetrate the blood stream when rubbed on/into the skin releasing their healing properties in the inside of the body.
Aromatherapy is said to address a variety of discomforts or ailments, such as burns, fevers, cuts, headaches, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, fractures, infections, insect bites, jet lag, sore muscles, physical exhaustion, stress, rashes, sleepiness, sprains, swellings, and many more…
Today, we often see Thai Oil Massage treatments that are in reality a mix of Western Oil Massage, Indian Ayurvedic Massage techniques, Thai Traditional Oil Massage, knowledge of Western Essential Oils and the Ancient Traditional Plant and Herbs knowledge of Thailand. The receiver typically gets the massage session undressed on a table.
Of course, the list of herbs, plants and flowers used in scented or essential oils is sheer endless, but to give some examples, think of chamomile, lavender, geranium, ylang ylang, sage, rose, rosemary, eucalyptus, pine, or tea tree, and the like.
Each plant or herb has its own specific qualities and (healing) properties and the knowledge and application of properties, extracting and application is key to a successful therapeutic Thai Oil Massage and Aromatherapy session.
However, when applying oils, certain contraindications may apply for people with infectious skin diseases, open wounds, bruises, inflamed skin, unhealed wounds, and the like. Moreover, mind that this treatment is given as a massage, which means that the general Thai Massage Precautions & Contraindications apply also.