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What Are Massage Oils and What Benefits Do They Offer?

Category: Health
Massage therapist putting massage oil in their hand for use on a massage client

When you’re getting a massage, you might have noticed your massage therapist will often apply oil to their hands before the massage. This substance is massage oil, which offers many benefits for massage clients.

Commercial massage oils are often broken down between carrier and essential oils. Within those two groups, there are specific oils like sweet almond or peppermint oil.

Each massage oil serves a different purpose during a massage. Some massage oils work to soften the skin, while others may help with reducing inflammation. Massage therapists will select massage oils they think are a good fit for your massage.

Let’s dive in deeper at some of the types of massage oils and the benefits they offer.

Carrier oils

Carrier oils are base oils that will dilute essential oils and, more or less, carry them to your skin. Carrier oils are used because essential oils are potent and can irritate your skin when applied directly.

Carrier oils also stay fixed on the skin better than essential oils. Carrier oils will not quickly evaporate from the skin and tend not to have strong, overbearing smells. They might have faint sweet, or nutty aromas, though.

Some common carrier oils used for massages include the following.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil alone can be tricky to use since it’s pretty slippery. However, when combined with other oils or similar substances, it can reduce the amount of slipperiness, making it perfect to use for a massage.

Coconut oil’s soothing properties can work best when giving a more relaxing massage, like a Swedish massage. It can also help with moisturizing skin.

Sweet almond oil

Also known as just almond oil, sweet almond oil is a popular carrier oil used for nourishing dry skin. Sweet almond oil is full of vitamins A and E, which are great for treating acne and healing sun damage.

Sweet almond oil can help reduce the appearance of scarring from injuries or surgery. It may also help prevent stretch marks.

Jojoba oil

Jojoba oil is another carrier oil great for skin care. It can leave skin soft and smooth and won’t clog pores.

Jojoba oil has been said to mimic the skin’s natural oil, sebum. This property of Jojoba oil can help reduce the skin’s production of oil, which is helpful in acne reduction.

Essential oils

Essential oils are extracted from plants to capture the plant’s essence, such as the plant’s aroma or health benefits.

They are generally extracted through distillation, cold pressing, or solvent extraction. When the essential oils have been extracted, they are combined with carrier oils to prepare them for use.

Like carrier oils, essential oils offer various benefits during a massage. Some can help improve sleep, while others might help treat a headache.

Here are some common essential oils used in massages.

Lavender oil

Lavender oil is a popular essential oil used in massages. It has a fresh and sweet aroma and can perform various functions.

It has soothing properties that can help the body relax and destress. Its calming properties can also help manage insomnia and mental health disorders like depression or anxiety.

Peppermint oil

Since peppermint oil is a stimulating oil, it’s not necessarily advised to help with relaxation or to help calm you. However, peppermint oil has several healing properties that are useful in a massage.

Peppermint oil might be used to help treat headaches, reduce inflammation, and soothe certain types of body pain. Peppermint oil can help with opening up sinuses, which is helpful if you’re struggling with allergies or have a cold.

Geranium oil

Geranium oil has a fresh and floral scent that has relaxing properties. It can aid in reducing stress, tension, and help improve overall cognitive function.

Geranium oil also has rejuvenating properties. It can help improve blood circulation and muscle contraction, which help with toning your body.

What to keep in mind with massage oils

When you get a massage, you should see what massage oils your massage therapist has on hand. There are many massage oils out there, and we only covered a handful in this article. There’s plenty more to be discovered.

Massage oils have many benefits to offer, but they should be viewed as a compliment to your massage experience. They are more like an enhancement to an already good thing and they’re not the end-all-cure to any ailments you have.

With the right massage oils, your massage experience will be even better. You can have a truly memorable massage.

For your next massage, consider Happy Head. We have various massage services offered at our many locations.

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