Is there anything more relaxing than a massage? The services of a skilled therapist are in high demand, and for good reason. The soothing hands of a talented masseuse can work out the stress of our long and busy days like few things can, easing tense muscle areas or sore spots, improving our relaxation and our rest.
Massages come in many forms, but a key element to almost all of them is the use of proper massage oil. The right oil is vital; it plays a key role not only in lubricating the hands and other contact points of the masseuse but also in setting the mood. Properly used, a massage oil provides a tone-setter, another element of enjoyment for the experience. The wrong oil dries too quickly or turns rancid, ruining an otherwise lovely experience into one that sees you hastening for the hot towel to wash it off.
Essential oils and carrier oils play a key role in these mixes. So what are the key ingredients?
Fractionated Coconut Oil
While coconut oil might conjure images of something heavy and sticky, fractionated coconut oil removes the long-chain triglycerides that lend this oil these attributes. Fractionated coconut oil is light and quick-drying, and it lacks the coconut scent that you’ll find in its heavier unrefined version. Particularly in massages that must target certain areas with gusto, it is the massage oil of choice. Remember, best not to use it with clients who suffer from coconut allergies.
Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet almond massage oil
One of the most common massage oils, Sweet Almond Oil has been a staple of the industry for many years. Pale yellow in colour, it is not as easy on white sheets or towels as coconut, but a more oily texture makes it better suited to longer-style massages or heavier efforts. Just ensure that your client does not suffer from a nut allergy, have them try a patch test first.
Derived from an African seed, Shea butter has been growing in popularity among masseuses for many years. One of the reasons is, oddly, one of its downsides - because it tends to feel somewhat greasy, it is employed typically on smaller areas, where one patch of skin or muscle is in need of particular attention.
Be aware that Shea butter contains allergens - so avoid this one if you suffer from an allergy.
One of the favourites of the India scene, Sesame has been employed by masseurs there for millenia. Its strong odour and greasy texture means it is often combined with lighter oils, typically coconut, for a striking blend of light and heavy. One of our favourites.
A staple of the steam room, eucalyptus is one of our favourite scents. Derived from the leaf of the eucalyptus plant, the delightful scent of this product is enjoyed by people around the globe. As an essential oil, adding a few drops to your favourite coconut or jojoba mix can provide a lovely addition to your experience.
Jojoba carrier oil
Technically, jojoba carrier oil is actually a wax, extracted from the seeds of the plant. It comes without a greasy sensation and won’t stain your sheets, but due to its tendency to dry relatively quickly, is often mixed with another carrier oil that won’t dry up as quickly.
Perhaps the best element of a massage with grapeseed oil is related to its amazing texture. You are treated to a non-greasy and silky-smooth texture that is incredibly well-suited to longer-form massages. Be wary, however, of how badly it stains your white sheets.