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Spa Facts and Commonly Used Terms

Want to know more about a career in the spa services industry?

Here are just a few concepts and commonly used terms you'll come across in the spa business.

Aromatherapy Is...aromatherapy1

  • the inhalation and application of volatile essential oils from aromatic plants to restore or enhance health, beauty and well-being.
  • a unique branch of herbal medicine that utilizes the medicinal properties found in the essential oils of various plants.
  • the use of oils extracted from aromatic plants to enhance health and beauty.
  • used on the skin, inhaled, or mixed into bathwater. Specific oils, or combinations of oils, are employed to give specific effects such as calming, pain relief, or energizing.
  • refreshing and relaxes the skin while soothing the mind by helping to induce a sense of well-being. Each individual essence is used to produce a specific beneficial effect.
  • applied to the skin—often in massage—or through inhalation. The oil or combination of oils can be used for medicinal, meditative, restorative or relaxation purposes.
  • essential oils extracted from plants which are either inhaled or absorbed directly through the skin to calm emotions and harmonize moods. It is also used as a supportive treatment for respiratory problems, skin disorders, and immune deficiencies.
  • therapeutic use of essential oils to balance, rejuvenate and relax the body, mind and spirit. Aromatherapy may help improve the quality of life on an emotional, physical and spiritual level.


Common Essential Oils

aromatherapy2BASIL - stimulating; uplifting
BERGAMOT - uplifting; calming; antiseptic; avoid in sunlight
CEDAR - meditative; calming; respiratory aid
CHAMOMILE - sedative; anti-inflammatory; soothes; relaxes
CLARY SAGE - euphoric; helps menopause; helps concentration
CLOVE BUD - antiseptic; energizing; mental stimulant
CYPRESS - stimulant; helps sore muscles; good for cellulite; revitalizes
EUCALYPTUS - decongestant; stops infections; increases circulation; helps arthritis
FENNEL - detoxifying; suppresses appetite; tones muscle; restores moisture
FRANKINCENSE - warming; helps dry, mature and sensitive skin; centering; calming
GERANIUM -astringent; cell rejuvenator; anti-depressant; balancing
GRAPEFRUIT - purifying; refreshing; skin/hair rejuvenator
JASMINE - relieves muscle spasm/pain; regulates skin oil; excellent to lift spirits
JUNIPER - relieves muscle spasm/pain; effective for cellulite
LAVENDER - most versatile oil; calming; healing; cools burns; safe for kids; sleep aid
LEMON - antiseptic; purifying; softens skin; avoid sun
LIME - purifying; refreshing; stimulating 
aromatherapy3MARJORAM - analgesic; warming; calming; headaches
MYRRH - meditative; cooling; fortifies
NEROLI - aphrodisiac; calming; skin rejuvenator; purifying
ORANGE - refreshing; purifying; restores skin balance
PATCHOULI - warming; aphrodisiac; curbs appetite
PEPPERMINT - stimulating; eases motion illness; energizes; fever reducer
PETIGRAIN - refreshing; mind stimulant; aids memory
PINE - disinfectant; clears congestion; aids circulation
ROSE - soothes; reduces depression; helps skin
ROSEMARY- stimulates; aids joint/muscle pain; increases blood pressure; helps stay alert
SANDALWOOD – meditative; aid to dry skin; soothing
SPEARMINT - energizing; purifying; mental stimulant
TEA TREE - anti-fungal; stops infections; insect repellent
VETIVER - calming; reduces anxiety; natural deodorant
YLANG YLANG - aphrodisiac; relaxes


Do not use undiluted oils on the skin; dilute with a carrier oil. There are a very few exceptions to this rule, however, for example non-irritating oils like Lavender or Tea Tree oils can be used undiluted on burns, insect bites, pimples and other minor skin eruptions so long as you do not have sensitive skin. A skin test is necessary for oil sensitivity. Keep oils away from eyes and mucous membranes. If redness, burning, itching or irritation occurs, stop using immediately.