Ping Center adds aromatherapy service for massage enhancement

Some scents in college can be off-putting, such as pungent residence hall bathrooms or the wafting body odor from an unhygienic roommate. Ping Center has a solution for that.

The center will now provide a variety of smells that will not only be pleasing but could also cure students’ everyday health problems.

Because of possible health benefits, massage therapists at Ping Center have started to incorporate the option to use aromatherapy during sessions. The addition is typically completed through the use of blended essential oils during the appointment.

Fitness Director Marissa Dienstag said people are moving toward massage as an option to cure ailments, and the option allows for more personalization in treatment.

“They can go a little bit further into what the problem is,” Dienstag said. “(Massage) gives out one-on-one attention … (Aromatherapy) takes that one step further.”

Jennifer Cochran, a massage therapist at Ping Center, said that essential oils can add value to complement any massage and can treat a wide variety of ailments, such as congestion and anxiety.

“We talk to our clients when they come in and assess their needs,” Cochran said. “We then come up with a custom blend and mix them into a carrier oil … I think it’s something that everyone should try at least once.”

According to a study published by the University of Maryland Medical Center, essential oils have been used for therapeutic purposes for almost 6,000 years, becoming popular in the United States in the 1980s.

The study also states that aromatherapy massage allows the oils to absorb through the skin and for the receiver to breathe them in, along with the additional physical therapy associated with the manipulation of muscles and tissues.

Meg Nicol, a junior studying biological science, said that she has used aromatherapy before, especially when under stress.

“I believe that aromatherapy does have its merits,” Nicol said. “The human brain stores smell much like memory. So, ‘positive scents’ will release relaxing or stimulating neurotransmitters, making you feel better.”

Three of the more popular scents are lavender, which promotes relaxation, peppermint oil, which leads to an energy boost, and eucalyptus, which alleviates sinus issues and sore muscles, Cochran said.

Aromatherapy adds $6 to the price of an hour-long massage, putting the price tag at $60. The additional cost covers the purchasing of essential oils.

Cochran said that although she thinks it’s reasonable, essential oils might not be an option that people want every time they get a massage and that instead they might take advantage on specific occasions such as during exam weeks.

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