Massaging with oil is an enriching experience that can help you unwind after a stressful day, safely reap the many benefits of essential oils, plants, or herbs, and generally become more aware of yourself and the present moment.
You can apply massage oil directly to the skin after a relaxing bath or at-home spa day. You can also use massage oil as a way of diluting essential oils and avoiding the adverse skin reactions that can occur when applying an essential oil directly to your skin.
Here are six massage oils (and a few extra) that will nourish your skin as well as your mind:
Jojoba oil is one of the more easily absorbed oils, making it a favourite of aromatherapy enthusiasts looking for a carrier oil for their essential oils. With jojoba oil, you can add a few drops of an essential oil like lavender or rose before applying the oil to the skin. Jojoba oil itself has antibacterial 1and anti-inflammatory properties, and is especially known for its ability to heal the skin, as well as the scalp. If you have skin conditions such as eczema or dandruff, jojoba oil is thought to help heal and soothe dry, flaky skin.
Arnica oil is another soothing oil with particularly potent anti-inflammatory and pain relieving qualities. This is the ideal oil for tired and sore joints, including sprains and bruises. This is a highly medicinal oil, as arnica flowers have been shown to help with a variety of medical conditions.
Fractionated coconut oil is a more stable version of coconut oil, giving the product a much longer shelf life and a lighter weight than can be found in the usual extra virgin coconut oils. Like jojoba oil, coconut oils make for great carrier oils for essential oils. These oils also contain antioxidants and are popular choices for hair care.
You might be surprised to learn that this pantry staple has uses beyond the kitchen. In fact, the vitamins and healthy fats in olive oil make it an incredibly rich massage oil, particularly when combined with essential oils to offset its characteristic scent. This is another one that’s also popular for hair care.
Full of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, sweet almond oil is extremely nourishing for the skin and well-absorbed. It’s also excellent for nails, making it a terrific pedicure choice post-foot spa.
If you or someone in your house has nut allergies, apricot kernel oil is a massage oil that is nut-free and known for its high vitamin content. It’s often used as a carrier oil, as well as for dry skin.
Honourable Mentions: Sunflower Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Sesame Oil, Avocado Oil
There many massage oil options available to you, all with their own healing properties and skin benefits. Sunflower, grapeseed, sesame, and avocado oils are all frequently used oils, but some of these oils have a short shelf life, are heavy (leaving you feeling greasy rather than relaxed), or are more likely to stain towels or other fabrics than oils like arnica. However, they still have high concentrations of vitamins and minerals, their own benefits (like decreased anxiety or greater circulation), and many people love these oils. It’s worth trying out a variety of massage oils before to figure out what you like best.
There has also been great interest lately in infant massage. The gentle touch of infant massage is said to not only calm, but to stimulate a young baby’s physical and mental development. If you have a little one, choices like grapeseed and avocado are popular for providing light massage to a baby. Edible massage oils are best for infant, just in case your baby accidentally eats the oil.