Massage & Bodywork

March/April 2013

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Rose Thyme While roses are usually grown for ornamental purposes, they also have benefits for the massage therapist as well, providing fragrant and edible flower petals, as well as healthful rose hips. Try this: Float rose petals in a bowl of water under the massage table to provide a sensory experience for clients while they are facedown. Dry your rose petals to add to scrubs, body wraps, or other treatments. You can even create one-of-a-kind client gifts with homemade potpourri sachets. Hint: Grow the most fragrant varieties to reap the most health benefits from your roses, as fragrance is drawn from the essential oils within the rose. Rosemary This shrubby, perennial herb is one of my favorites and has a sharper fragrance that stimulates, invigorates, and aids in concentration. Rosemary is also popular as a hair or scalp treatment. Try this: Infuse oil or water with fresh rosemary for 24–48 hours before using the liquid in a scalp massage. Hint: Never harvest more than half to two-thirds of the shrub in any given year if you want it to survive until the following year. Thyme has a warming, restorative scent and can be used for disinfecting. It's also known to help lift the spirits of those struggling with moodiness. The herb is an easy-to-grow perennial in many climates, making it one of the best choices for massage therapists. Strawberry Strawberries are used therapeutically thanks to the antioxidant properties of the berries and the health benefits of the leaves. In fact, strawberry leaves are one of the best sources of vitamin C available and have astringent properties. Try this: Create a facial massage treatment using strawberries and strawberry leaves in a salve or cream. Hint: Alpine strawberries will grow in pleasing clumps that make a nice border along a path or sidewalk and will bear smaller fruits year-round as compared to other types of strawberries. Try this: Infuse a base oil with fresh, chopped thyme leaves for use in your oil warmer to create an uplifting atmosphere in the massage room. Hint: Use thyme under and around other larger perennials in the garden landscape, as it makes an excellent ground cover. Angela England lives with her husband and five children in rural Oklahoma. Author of Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less) and founder of, she stays busy empowering others to live more intentionally. Find out more about her writing at Allergies, Overstimulation, and Common Sense When we use herbs for a particular benefit, we are saying that they have an effect on the body. We have to use caution then, because not every effect is desired at every time. Chamomile, for example, can induce an allergic reaction in clients with allergies to ragweed. Eucalyptus may be too stimulating for clients with epilepsy, and those prone to anxiety may want to avoid energizing herbs as well. Use common sense and always let the client know what you're using in a session. When working with a client with potential contraindications, get preapproval from the client's primary health-care provider. See what benefits await you. 63

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