The general purpose of massage oil is to reduce friction and produce longer, more even motions. Combining certain oils with certain extracts, however, can expand this experience beyond just muscle relaxation.
When buying oils for massage, there is no single “best” choice. Although every bottle may try to persuade you that its ingredients are exactly what you need, specific kinds of massage oils and extracts are good for specific kinds of results.
Lighter ingredients tend to absorb into skin more quickly, while heavier oils may have a greater risk of staining your fabrics. Depending upon the aim of your massage, you will want to pick different ingredients for rubbing into a pair of weathered feet versus a thoughtful partner massage.
If you`re looking for more of an “all-purpose” oil, some safe bets for a base are almond, grapeseed, and apricot kernel oil. All of these are nourishing and neutral enough for any occasion.
- Almond: skin softener.
- Grapeseed: helps to regenerate skin.
- Apricot Kernel Oil: skin toner.
Some heavier oils, like peanut, olive or avocado are a bit thicker and harder for the skin to absorb. They can be mixed into a base oil for the whole body or used on their own for a massage that won`t require frequent re-application.
- Peanut oil: remedy for arthritis; check for allergies first. Peanut smell.
- Avocado oil: high content of vitamins A and E.
- Olive-oil: All-around nourishing.
Other Remedy Oils
Oils with some more specified uses can be combined or used directly on problem areas. Or, if an oil has a shorter shelf life, mixing it with something longer lasting may help it keep longer.
- Jojoba (liquid wax): deep conditioner for skin, hair and nails; quickly absorbed.
- Sesame: antiseptic, antioxidant.
- Emu oil: anti-inflammatory; anti-bacterial.
- Sunflower: light, non-greasy; shorter shelf life.
- Safflower: moisturizing; shorter shelf life.
Something to keep in mind is that although a carrier oil is the backbone of a good massage concoction, even a neutral base can be made very versatile by adding essential oils. The difference between an essential oil and a pure oil is that essential oils are made by diffusing concentrated amounts of a plant`s aromatic compounds into a liquid form. The resulting oils are very strong – often too strong to be applied directly to the skin.
Adding essential oils can add an element of aroma therapy to your massage, setting the mood for the atmosphere you would like to create.
- Rejuvenating: myrrh, cedar-wood, fennel, cypress, tea tree.
- Relaxing: orange, patchouli, chamomile, sandalwood, rose.
- Rousing: eucalyptus, lemon, pine, peppermint, ylang ylang.
It only takes a few drops of essential oil to scent your massage. Try having several scents available and adding them to each individual session, depending on how you`d like it to feel.