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The History of Aromatherapy in NY Corporate Chair Massage

Many people use aromatherapy with corporate chair massage. We, at the New York Chair Massage Company – www.eventschairmassage.com – have been doing so for over forty years. Unfortunately few massage therapists know the history of this important corporate stress management tool.

Giovanni Gatti and Renato Cayola conducted the earliest scientific investigation of the power of aroma to influence emotions and the nervous system in the early 1920s. These Italian physicians published a report, “The Action of Essences on the Nervous System,” which explored the effects of different essential oils on anxiety and depression. After exposing study subjects with oils taken both orally and through inhalation they measured changes in their blood circulation, pulse rate, depth of breathing.


Their results showed for the first time that scents could quickly influence the brain. The study also showed clearly that inhalation of the aromatic oils brought about a much quicker affect than oral administration. Clearly the oils entered the system at a quicker rate when inhaled than through the slower absorptive process of the digestive system. Doctors Gatti and Cayola made note of which oils seemed to have the greatest influence on what we would now classify as manic or depressive patterns.  The essential oils which they identified as sedatives, and most useful for reducing anxiety based, manic behavior included asafetida, chamomile, melissa, neroli, opoponax,  petitgrain, and valerian.

They identified the stimulating oils, best for the treatment of depression, included angelica, cardamom, fennel, and lemon, fennel. The researchers also discovered to their surprise that some essences though stimulating in smaller doses, were sedating when used in larger amounts. They concluded that:


The term aromatherpy was coined in  1937 in Rene•Maurice Gattefosse’s  classic work  “Aromatherapie”  and much research on oils had been conducted since then.  In 1962,   R. W. Moncrieff carried out a systematic study into the effect of aromatic oils aromas on the brain. Using an electroencephalogram (EEG) machine in two different studies he monitored and recorded the brain wave changes to 17 different natural odors.  He found the odors significantly influenced the EEG levels, increasing alpha activity with some oils indicating relaxation, and increasing beta in some subjects indicating stimulation. This important research was later built upon by other researchers.


Important research concerning the influence of essential oils and emotional health was conducted in the 1970s by Prof. Paolo Rovesti of Milan University on patients who had been diagnosed with hysteria or nervous depression.

Apparently the best approach to aromatherapy involves creating a pleasant smelling blend of different oils.  Combinations of oils bring different therapeutic properties to the process and also tend to have a more pleasant aroma than individual oils.  Interestingly the scents we associate with food as well as the scents of aromatic oils stimulate the part of the brain that is responsible for feelings of both discomfort and well being (the limbic area).  It is for this reason that great interest has focused on the inhalation of plant oils as an alternative to anti-depressant medication.

According to Professor Rovesti the brain, will generally reject unpleasant odors, and thus they do not have the same access to the central nervous system as those that have a pleasant scent. Rovesti concluded that the clients acceptance of a scent was as important as choosing the most biochemically appropriate therapeutic fragrance.


Professor Rovesti found the aromatic oils of lemon, orange, verbena, jasmine, ylang ylang and sandalwood to be most effective against the symptoms of depression. Among the anxiety relieving oils which Professor Rovesti found to be effective were bergamot lavender, lime, neroli, petitgrain


In the 1970s, Prof. Torii of Toho University, Japan, created a research program with the aim of specifically defining those oils possessing a sedative effect on the nervous system and those with a stimulating effect. Using an EEG and a measuring device called a CNV (contingent negative variation curve), an electrical brainwave pattern was created.  According to the results (the reading of the EEG trace) lavender had a sedative effect on the nervous system and jasmine a stimulating one.

Interestingly Professor Torii also found in further research that certain oils (specifically geranium and rosewood and less so valerian) could be either stimulating or sedating, depending on the state of the individual. This unusual quality is known by herbalists as an “adaptogen” effect.  This effect is common with various herbs including; Siberian Ginseng.  Adaptogens produce a balancing effect, essentially restorative on depressed patients as well as on those manic, agitated or prone to hyperactivity. Much more important work has been done over the years on the effect of aromatic oils on the brain.





Our group the, the #1 NYC Massage Company

( www.eventschairmassage.com )  uses aromatherapy to deal with emotional stress on the job.



    The New York  Chair Massage Company was  the official Onsite Chair Massage Provider for the  Learning  Annex Real Estate Wealth Expos” between 2005 – 2009. At these events we gave chair massage sessions to  thousands of attendees in nine cities who came to hear Tony Robbins, George Foreman, Robert Kyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad), Barbara Corcoran (NBS’s “Shark Tank” and other speakers.”

                         Lewis Harrison, LMT – Director




What our clients say about us.

“They are amazing…. I recommend them to anyone who wants less stress and more energy.”

Jack Canfield Co-author, Chicken Soup for the Soul


If you enjoyed this blog I recommend this wonderful massage book and success card deck.

Order it by clicking below.





Lewis Harrison – RealUGuru, is a master lifehacker, writer, mentor, success and wealth coach, content-rich, motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur specializing in problem solving and strategizing  based on game thinking, applied game theory and Game Thinking.

He is the author of over twenty-two books published in five languages.


Don’t forget to tune to the RealUGuru Radio show every Thursday 4-6 PM EST  at WIOX 91.3 FM or on your smart device at WIOXRadio.org.

WIOX is a diverse station that broadcasts original programming including presentation from NPR, the BBC, Democracy Now etc.

If you are interested in business success in life coaching, stress management or corporate chair massage you need to read Lewis’ recently published business books.

You can find books on game theory and business success here:



This course and all the offerings on www.RealUGuru.com  focus on the application of applied game thinking, gamification, decision science, positive psychology, happiness,  and visionary thinking to solve basic, complex and extreme problems. He is the creator of a free course on business success and human potential.

Here is a short interview with Lewis;



Today’s stress management blog is presented  by a grant from Events  Chair Massage –www.EventschairMasssage.com –  a company that offers Corporate Chair Massage and Stress Management Services to meeting planners, event planners, party planners and HR for Trade show booths throughout the United States.


Below is a chair massage demo that shows techniques our corporate chair massage therapists use to massage their clients’ upper back, shoulders, and neck — using elbows and forearms, with minimal use of the thumbs.