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  • Aromatherapy massage


    Relaxation for a healthy body and mind
    Liz Buckles, MSc, MIFPA Holistic Aromatherapist
Indian Head Massage

Massage is a very fundamental, instinctive and primitive form of healing through communication between human beings: whether it may be a reassuring hug between friends or a mother’s rubbing her child better when they fall over. They all form healing on a physical and emotional level. Massage strokes can benefit the superficial and deep muscles and may also affect the organs underneath, but even when massage aims to give physical benefits, there is usually a general feeling of well-being that results and lasts over a period of time. When one person touches another in a loving way, there is a release of the hormone oxytocin (in both people). This is the hormone released in breast-feeding mothers, it is the hormone that ensures the bond with and love for the infant is secured. When released through touch in both men and women, in gives us a feeling of well-being and of being nurtured.

Massage treats the whole person, communicating a sense of peace and tranquillity, and developing a feeling of being in touch with our inner selves and an inner contentment. Often after a number of massages people find that they are more aware of their bodies and more able to relax, switch off from their thoughts and retreat from the stress of their day, relieving mental and emotional tension that frequently manifests as muscle tension.

Massage is a fundamental part of aromatherapy practice, and aromatherapy massage techniques that I have been taught are a combination of many different types of massage: Swedish (soft tissue) massage, shiatsu (acupressure) massage, Indian head massage, manual lymph drainage, holistic and therapeutic touch. 

Relaxation can take many forms; a warm bath, a stroll in the country, yoga, a sauna, reading a good book, meditation, breathing exercises and, of course, massage. Through the act of relaxation we stimulate a part of the brain (the parasympathetic nervous system) that slows down the heart rate, the rate of breathing, lowers blood pressure and stimulates digestion and immunity.

Massage can be one of the most effective ways to learn how to relax. To switch off, unwind from the overwork, rush and worries that can overtake us, to be encouraged to breathe easily and slowly, to have the tension eased out of muscles to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure.



Swedish massage: This consists of:

Effleurage- the application of both superficial and deep pressures 

Petrissage- kneading (intermittent pressure using one or both hands, which help to increase circulation and produce a toning effect on muscle tissue), friction (concentrated movements that exert a controlled pressed over a small area) and vibration (fine trembling movements to stimulate the nerve pathways). Hacking andcuppingactions can also be used to make this a stimulating and invigorating massage.

Shiatsu massage: The word shiatsucomes from the Japanese shi, finger, and atsu, pressure, and is applied using the principles of Chiand yin/yang, by affecting the energy flow of the meridians. There are two ways of applying pressure, either simple pressure with the thumbs most often, or with small circular movements Aromatherapy makes use of certain acupressure points, but the specific points used tend to vary from one practitioner to another.

Indian head massage: This is one of the oldest known therapies, having been in use for around 4,000 years: it was originally practised in India on the head and hair, but has come to encompass the neck, shoulders, upper arms, face and ears, and incorporates Ayurvedic elements of chakra energy balancing. It focuses on the Heart Chakra and Upper Chakras. The actual strokes used are the same as in Swedish along with cupping, hacking and champi, which I often incorporate in my massage if I feel it is necessary on the upper back.


Each therapist tends to use their own individual style, and there are overlaps between each technique used. Therapists use intuition, care and a nurturing approach, and the trusting relationship that exists between therapist and client is often what facilitates the healing process at whatever level. 


Often it doesn’t actually matter which techniques are used, far more important is that the therapist uses a holistic approach and takes into account the whole person: mind, body and spirit. 


Battaglia, S., 2004. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy.2nded. Virginia: Perfect Potion.


Davis, P., 1999. Aromatherapy, an A – Z.Essex: The C.W. Daniel Company Limited.  


Hoare, J., 2010.The Complete Aromatherapy Tutor.NY: Octopus Publishing Co.


Mehta, N., 1999.Indian head Massage: discover the power of touchThorsons, London.


Tisserand, R., 1985. The Art of Aromatherapy(revised edition) Essex: The C.W. Daniel Company Limited. 


Aromatherapy Oils

Liz Buckles, MSc, MIFPA Holistic Aromatherapist

Tel: 07921 574533

Aromatherapy Oils
Liz Buckles

Based in Huntington, close to York, I am a fully qualified Aromatherapist, with a Diploma in Holistic Aromatherapy.

I am a Member of the International
Federation of Professional Aromatherapists (IFPA)

International Federation for Professional Aromatherapists

“I felt the whole experience was a two way process. It was good to be given different options for oils and then talk through the benefits of combinations. It really felt as if it was tailored to my exact needs. I was impressed by the level of knowledge of my therapist, and she was able to communicate it very well to me.”

“The blend smelled lovely, and was comforting, warming, exactly what I needed for my calf strain.”

“After the massage, the pain had virtually disappeared. This was my first ever massage and I was really impressed by the results.”

“I feel relaxed, less tense, muscles feel freer, head and shoulders feel lighter, and I feel more accepting and patient”.

“It was a very holistic experience”.

“The whole experience has been wonderful. Liz has a very confident and soothing touch. Her touch is firm and vey enjoyable. The choice of music also reflects the calming atmosphere. The warmth of the soft towels and ambience of the room is another lovely touch.”

“I particularly enjoyed the back, head and foot massages. Afterwards I felt much more relaxed and very comforted, and I felt very comfortable and safe throughout the treatment. The communication during the consultation was good and I liked being involved in the choice of oils. It was relaxing, calming and made me feel happy.”

 “I particularly liked the fact that you made sure I was warm, by covering the parts of me that weren’t being massaged, and that you discussed the choice of oils with me.”

"Thanks for all the wonderful relaxing aromatherapy sessions. it really has helped me a lot, especially with you being such a good listener as well. in the early days when I was really anxious and stressed, I probably really bent your ear, so thanks!"

"You really helped me with my leg - got me back to walking again!"

"That was a fascinating talk, thank you."

"I really enjoyed your talk, so interesting!"

"I just wanted to send a brief note of thanks for your very kind time and expertise you shared at our monthly team meeting in York on Thursday. It was a fascinating talk, masterfully squeezed into the short 30 minute window we had available. The team enjoyed the session and found the information incredibly helpful so I wouldn’t be surprised if you get some follow-up queries."

“Many thanks for the massage oil mix, I really like the aroma of the oils you mixed for me, I found them very subtle, probably because I’ve been using neat lavender oil on my pillow but now I have used them a few nights the aromas are becoming more apparent and I do seem to be having more settled nights, I still wake throughout the night but that is the discomfort in my legs but I do go back to sleep now, a huge improvement . Thank you.”