MASSAGE THERAPY NEWS & REVIEW:
By Columnist Matthew Nikitakis – Massage Therapist:
It’s 2:30 p.m and that report is due at 5. It doesn’t help that someone scheduled a staff meeting at 3. As the minutes tick by, you can feel the stress tightening into knots in your stomach. Sound familiar?
Work and stress often go hand-in-hand, but one seldom-used tool to help manage it is Essential Oil of Sweet Orange. Known for its sweet, fruity scent, orange oil can have a sedative effect on the nervous system, making it an effective stress buster. But how can you make it work for you in a work environment? Let’s take a look.
Option #1: USB Diffuser
Few people feel comfortable lugging in a dedicated oil diffuser to their work place, not to mention that the rest of your office may not appreciate the scents wafting from your work station. A neat little solution is a USB diffuser. Shaped like a small USB drive, they usually sport a small spot on top for you to add a drop or two of oil. It plugs into the front of your computer and uses heat generated by your USB port to diffuse the calming scent into the air around your workstation.
The benefits of using one of a USB diffuser with your orange oil? It fits in your pocket or purse, can spread just enough scent to relax you without choking the rest of the office, and are usually fairly inexpensive (you can find them at various online retailers). Try blending a drop of sweet orange with a drop of cinnamon for that extra little kick.
Remember not to overdo it though! Mr Robert Tisserand, leading expert on essential oil safety, recommends diffusing oils in intervals of 30 to 60-minutes and then stopping for at least the same amount of time for the greatest therapeutic benefit. And in a day, 2-3 sessions are usually adequate. This way, the nervous system doesn’t get a chance to grow too accustomed to the scent and start to dull the effect.
Option #2: Aromatherapy Massage
“At work? How?” There’s actually two ways of benefiting from orange oil in massage during a workday. Option number one is to schedule in a massage at a clinic during your lunchbreak. Massage chains in particular will often offer an aromatherapy treatment, and you can request a short 30-minute massage using sweet orange oil to get a professional relaxing boost. (On a personal note, I love using orange-infused massage oil on my clients – it’s calming for them AND for me!) But what about when your schedule just isn’t forgiving enough to fit a massage in outside the office?
Self-massage can be a fantastic stop-gap. Certain essential oil manufacturers produce massage oils with sweet orange in them (often in combination with other oils such as lavender, frankincense and cedarwood.) Keep a bottle in your drawer at work, and simply massage half a teaspoon of oil into your temples, around the jawline and into the neck. Even a five minute self-treatment can work wonders when you’re stressed, and you get to wear the benefits of the diluted orange oil while you work!
Lastly, though, just a note of caution. Citrus oils contain coumarins, constituents that often make them phototoxic (in plain English, they can damage the skin if the skin is exposed to the sun within a given time period after application). While there is no evidence to suggest that ‘expressed’ sweet orange oil is phototoxic, other varieties of the oil may not be so forgiving. So when using sweet orange oil in a skin application, always check with the manufacturer as to whether the oil is ‘expressed’ or ‘distilled’ – if it’s distilled, skip it. To be on the safe side, exercise caution if you have to go out in the sun after applying orange oil products to the skin, even for expressed oils. No sense in adding skin damage to your stress list, right?
On a final note, always use essential oils according to their safety instructions, and if in doubt, consult a professional aromatherapist. Sweet orange oil, when used appropriately and discreetly, can be a great weapon to break out when stress comes calling at home or at work. Enjoy a little bit of zing today.
Matthew Nikitakis is a massage therapist based in sunny Cairns QLD. With a passion for helping people to relax and recuperate that started in his teens, he now focuses on assisting people in high-stress jobs by providing in-office therapy in Queensland under his own brand, Matthew’s Corporate Massage.
Disclaimer: The information published in this column are based on the author’s own professional and personal knowledge, and opinion. This information and opinion is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.