If you’re thinking of booking an aromatherapy massage, you may be wondering what oils are used for the session and if it’s a pre-blend of essential oils, or if you’re expected to tell the therapist what oils you want – if you have a limited knowledge of aromatherapy massageessential oils that can seem overwhelming (especially if you can only think of lavender, and it’s an aroma you’re not too keen on!) There’s no need to worry though, because if you see a clinical aromatherapist then the oils are going to vary from each appointment – the aromatherapist choosing the oils is part of the service that you’re paying for!

So, how do you decide what essential oils to choose?

Aromatherapists don’t just pick any old oils for your massage. During the initial consultation we go through a medical consultation and that will usually give an indication about which type of oils to use. If you’re looking for pain relief, an aromatherapist is likely to choose from a different batch of oils compared to those which are mainly to aid sleep. If you say you need to sleep and you want pain relief, then we’ll be choosing an oil with analgesic and sedative qualities, so our choice may be different again.

During subsequent sessions you’ll find that I have a chat with you beforehand – we’ll catch up on how things went after the last session, what you’ve been up to, and anything that’s still an issue at the moment. This is actually a fact finding mission for me. I’m interested in all of these things, but often while you’re talking I’ll have an oil pop in my head which is based on something you’ve just told me. Sometimes, I may ask you if you want to be relaxed, alert, refreshed, as that will affect my final choice of oils that I pick for you. Regular clients often think about this just before their appointment, and some have a list of words to help me choose their blend – we then usually have a few oils which fit the descriptions!  Once we have your chosen oils, you’ll smell them to see if it’s a good blend for you and check you’re happy with what’s been chosen.

What if I don’t like the blend?

If you’re having a massage and you smell the blend and it’s not quite right, it’s fine to say. You’re going to be smelling the oil for some time after and it’s important you like the aroma! If it’s a clinical aromatherapy session where the oils are being specifically chosen for a purpose, then we may have a chat about what we’re trying to achieve, if they’re the best oils for the job, and if it is bearable or needs to be changed. If you smell a blend for massage and you’re not happy with it, then I may ask you to mention a word which describes the offending aroma. Even though you may think ‘earthy’, ‘pungent’, ‘strong’ aren’t very descriptive, often it’s enough for me to essential oilsknow which is the offending oil. We can then remove it and try the blend without the oil, or add an alternative.

Can I choose my oils?

Sometimes people may say they have a preference to an essential oil and I may ask if you want it in the blend if I think it’s going to be a good addition. I also get some people who don’t like a particular oil, and that is fine too. It doesn’t mean I won’t use it in a blend though! Sometimes I place the oil in a blend and with the combination of the other oils it is more acceptable and people are surprised they found the aroma pleasant, while on other occasions they can spot there’s an oil in the blend they’re not quite liking and we’ll change it.

So, the next time you’re thinking you’d like to try an aromatherapy massage you now know you’re paying for your aromatherapist to produce an aroma you like



Louise is an holistic therapist who owns Therapy Centre, Bristol BS14 9HB, a clinic offering a range of holistic and beauty therapies. Louise offers reflexology, aromatherapy, holistic massage, Indian head massage, reiki, baby massage and story massage. She is a mum of two boys and when she is not working she enjoys getting outdoors with her family.  For further information about Louise, visit louise-morgan.co.uk