Overused and overextended muscles cause tension. Any movement we make, no matter how small, involves muscles tensing and flexing. Any activity that entails repetitive movement from tapping away on a laptop to swinging a golf club, or during periods of stress and anxiety, can result in tight muscles that are ‘stuck’ in a tense state. Once these muscles refuse to relax they weaken and circulation of blood and lymph is impaired.
Once a muscle becomes inflexible it is very difficult to release it. Painkillers and muscle relaxants can be useful but they do not heal the muscle, they just reduce the discomfort felt. Massage is one of the best ways to manage muscular tension in the body, especially when combined with essential oils. Massage helps to release and stretch the ineffective muscles and loosens connective tissue. Kneading, pressing and rubbing areas of muscular tension results in the stimulation of the circulation to the area, this increased blood flow brings with it energy producing nutrients and oxygen. Massage not only relaxes and softens the muscles it helps to increase mobility and flexibility and to reduce pain as endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers) are released.
Used in conjunction with massage carefully chosen essential oils can provide two benefits; they penetrate deep into the muscle tissue and encourage the contracted muscle to expand, in turn relieving the physical pain, but they can also help with the emotional stress that results in physical tension.
There is a long list of essential oils that can be of benefit when massaging tense muscles. Any essential oils considered a relaxant will be of use, as will oils that have analgesic or anti-inflammatory properties. Some essential oils, such as eucalyptus and rosemary, have a cooling effect when applied to the skin, helping to take the heat out of inflamed muscles. Other oils are chosen for their rubefacient effects, that is a substance when applied topically to the body causes dilation of the capillaries and an increase in blood circulation, oils that fall into this category are sweet marjoram and ginger.
In my practice I have found that the main areas tension affects the muscles is lower (sacra)l area of the back, the upper back and neck , jawline, facial muscles and scalp. I have put together a special Aromatherapy Tension Busting Treatment that concentrates on all these areas.