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Top Essential Oils for Massage Therapists (Relaxation and Pain Relief Massages)

By Jacqueline / April 1st, 2017

Essential oils are known for their healing properties, and as a massage therapist myself I’m aware of how beneficial they can be to bringing relief, or healing, to various body ailments.

Top Oils for Stress Relief or Relaxation Massage

Lavender Oil- soothing and calming effect. In a study published in 2013, 221 patients suffering from mixed anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder as well as restlessness and agitation, were given the lavender oil supplement, silexan, once daily at a dose of 80 mg/day.

The anxiolytic effect of lavender was superior to the placebo in 221 patients suffering from anxiety disorder. Lavender also improved similar symptoms such as restlessness, disturbed sleep, and somatic complaints and enhanced overall well-being and quality of life.

Just inhaling lavender (diluted to 10% concentration) for 3 minutes increases electrical activity in the brain and at the same time decreases anxiety and enhances your mood.

Rose Oil- some consider this the “queen of oils” when it comes to stress relief. It’s effective at helping with panic attacks, grieving and shock, and very settling to the emotional heart according to Dr. Axe.

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil- is known for relief from stress, anger, and frustration. A Korea study published in 2013 showed that the inhalation of ylang ylang reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure and also decreased heart rate. Overall, it  inhibits the sympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system that serves to accelerate the heart rate, constrict blood vessels, and raise blood pressure, and activates the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the involuntary nervous system that serves to slow the heart rate, increase intestinal and glandular activity, and relax the sphincter muscles.

Vetiver Essential Oil– beneficial to relaxation, anxiety, and ADHD management. A simple study was conducted where parents were asked to help their children smell vetiver oil right from the bottle a few times each day. Parents reported better attention and behavior from their children during the study period with vetiver compared to lavender and cedarwood essential oils.

Bergamot Essential Oil– Experts say bergamot oil can help lessen stress and anxiety levels of patients prior to surgery. It also helps relieve depression, and studies in rats shown bergamot essential oil to exhibit anxiolytic like behaviors by reducing corticosterone, the major stress hormone, response to stress.

*Add 10 to 12 drops of essential oil(s) to a 1 oz carrier oil of your choice or 20-24 drops to a 2oz carrier oil for a 2% dilution.
*Enhance relaxation effects by blending lavender, ylang ylang, and bergamot oil or Vetiver, lavender and rose oil.

Top Oils for Pain Relief 

Eucalyptus Essential Oil– has anti-inflammatory properties that are effective at bringing relief to sore muscles.  As study published in 2013 involving patients with osteoarthritis, it was found that just the inhalation of eucalyptus oil mixed with almond oil significantly decreased VAS pain scores compared with the control group. It was also shown to regulate blood pressure.

Ginger Essential Oil– According to Dr.Axe, ginger essential oil been shown to help lessen pain associated with arthritis, making it a great pain reliever by acting on vanilloid receptors, which are located on sensory nerve endings.

Results of a double-blind comparative clinical trial indicated that ginger was just as effective as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs mefenamic acid (250 mg) and ibuprofen (400 mg) in relieving pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea. Relief from pain and swelling has also been reported in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or general muscular discomfort when using powdered ginger as a dietary supplement for 3 months to 2 years.

Ginger oil can also be beneficial in prenatal massages since the most common use of ginger is to alleviate the vomiting and nausea or aches associated with pregnancy, as well as chemotherapy, and some types of surgery.

Helichrysum Essential Oil– the anti-inflammatory properties of helichrysum oil has been shown to decrease muscle pain, improve circulation and support healing of nerve tissue which makes it an effective natural treatment for fibromyalgia, arthritis and neuropathy. It also helps rejuvenates skin by aiding with healthy skin renewal when mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba oil and applied to the skin.  Helichrysum essential oil is also known to treat headaches/ migraines.

*Add  add 10 to 12 drops of essential oil(s) to a 1 oz carrier oil of your choice or 20-24 drops to a 2oz carrier oil for a 2% dilution.

If you’ve had any experiences with these oils or others not mentioned that you find beneficial, please let me know in the comment section below.


Axe, Josh. “5 Natural Fibromyalgia Treatments That Work.” Dr. Axe. N.p., n.d. Web.
Axe, Josh. “The Top 7 Essential Oils for Anxiety.” Dr. Axe. N.p., n.d. Web.
Axe, Josh. “Top 5 Essential Oils for Arthritis.” Dr. Axe. N.p., n.d. Web.

Banks, Suzanne R. “13 Essential Oils To Reduce Stress.” Mindbodygreen. N.p., 10 Feb. 2015.

Bode, Ann M., and Zigang Dong. “The Amazing and Mighty Ginger.” Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd Edition. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2011.

Butje, Andrea. “What Dilution Is Right for Essential Oil Massage Blends?” The Aromahead Blog. Aromahead Institute, 28 Feb. 2017.

Deckard, Angela. “The Top Benefits of Helichrysum Essential Oil.” Healthy Focus. N.p., 16 July 2015. Web.

Koulivand, Peir Hossein, Maryam Khaleghi Ghadiri, and Ali Gorji. “Lavender and the Nervous System.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2013.

Jun, Yang Suk, Purum Kang, Sun Seek Min, Jeong-Min Lee, Hyo-Keun Kim, and Geun Hee Seol. “Effect of Eucalyptus Oil Inhalation on Pain and Inflammatory Responses after Total Knee Replacement: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2013. Web. 01 Apr. 2017. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3703330/>.

Jung, Da-Jung, Jun-Youl Cha, Sung-Eun Kim, Il-Gyu Ko, and Yong-Seok Jee. “Effects of Ylang-Ylang Aroma on Blood Pressure and Heart Rate in Healthy Men.” Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation. Korean Society of Exercise Rehabilitation, Apr. 2013. Web.<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3836517/>.

“Medical Definition of Parasympathetic Nervous System.” MedicineNet. N.p., n.d. Web.
“Medical Definition of Sympathetic Nervous System.” MedicineNet. N.p., n.d. Web.

Mercola, Joseph. “The Blissful Benefits of Bergamot Oil.” Mercola.com. N.p., 19 May 2016.

Zielinski, Eric. “5 Proven Health Benefits of Vetiver Oil (ADHD Included!).” DrEricZ.com. N.p., n.d. Web
Zielinski, Eric. “Controlling Arthritis and Inflammation with Essential Oils.” DrEricZ.com. N.p., n.d. Web.


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