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What Is an Aromatherapy Wrap?

By Rebecca Harkin
Updated May 21, 2024
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An aromatherapy wrap can be a small, heated pad with a scented pouch or a full body wrap using towels infused with scented essential oils. Many practitioners of holistic medicine believe that scent has the capacity to treat diseases, injuries, and mental conditions. During this soothing, thermal therapy, the heat relaxes the body and releases the scent while the liberated fragrance reduces stress. Different scents are used to treat different conditions.

Fragrant wraps vary based on the type of treatment. When used in the home, an aromatherapy wrap is usually designed to wrap around a part of the body, such as the neck or shoulders. Some of these wraps designed for home use are either filled with flax seed or rice mixed with an aromatic herb. Heating the at-home, aromatic wrap releases the herbal scent.

Other styles of home aromatic wraps come with a hot pack and a separate small, fragrant pillow. The scented pillow is placed inside the wrap near the hot pack to activate the scent. No matter which type of filling is used, the wraps are heated in the microwave.

In a spa, an aromatherapy wrap treatment is much more elaborate. Typically, several large warm and soft towels permeated with fragrant, essential oils are wrapped around the entire body. The wrap is then left in place for about 30 minutes to allow the heat to penetrate and the scent to be released. During the aromatherapy treatment, the heat in the wrap soothes the muscle aches in the body, and the perfume of the aromatic oils relaxes and relieves the patient's stress while the essential oils help to soften and moisturize the skin.

Aromatic wraps can be used to treat many different diseases, injuries, and psychological problems. An aromatherapy wrap is often used to mitigate the side effects and stress of chemotherapy or to relieve the pain associated with arthritis. Sports injuries, muscle strains, or muscle spasms are also often relieved through the use of aromatherapy. Heated fragrant wraps may also relieve psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia, enough to reduce the doses of medication needed to treat these conditions.

The scent selected to be used inside an aromatherapy wrap typically depends on the medical condition being treated. For example, ginger, allspice, and juniper berries are used to abate joint and muscle pain. Peppermint scent can relieve nausea and is often used to combat the side effects of chemotherapy. Lavender is frequently employed to reduce anxiety and insomnia.

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Discussion Comments

By MrsPramm — On Jan 11, 2015

@pleonasm - I usually only do this at a salon and it's actually one of the reasons I like my salon so much, that they do a spot check before each session. They never skip it or assume that it's safe and I really appreciate that kind of diligence.

By pleonasm — On Jan 10, 2015

@Iluviaporos - Actually, I would recommend that everyone do a spot check before putting this kind of thing on their skin, whether it's a ready-made aromatherapy wrap or one they have made at home. You might have an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients, and warm oils are going to be absorbed very quickly, so a full body wrap in particular could end up being very dangerous if you are allergic.

Remember that often essential oils are mixed into base oils to dilute them, which could be made from nuts or seeds which are common allergens. But even if you aren't aware of a prior allergy you should still check to make sure.

By lluviaporos — On Jan 09, 2015

If you're planning on making one of these to use at home remember to check the purity of your aromatherapy oils. If they are pure essential oils then they probably need to be diluted before putting them against your skin. This is particularly true for oils like peppermint which can burn.

The scent might also be overwhelming and could hurt your eyes or nasal linings if it's too pure.

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