Which is the best massage oil?

There really isn’t any one answer to this question.  Some people have allergies and their own preferances.

I know of someone that is allergic to mineral oil.  This is why it’s always important to take the time to get to know your clients and ask them if they have any allergies.
I personally am allergic to almonds.  I had the pleasure of recieving a delightful massage as a birthday gift this past year.  The only problem was that my friend used almond oil. I was itchy all over!

Let’s take a look at some different kinds of oils and learn about them.

1) Sweet Almond Oil

This is a very popular oil.  It glides easily over the skin and is absorbed quickly into the skin, but not so quickly that you have to keep reapplying it.  I avoid this oil because of the prevelance of nut allergies.

2) Jojoba Oil

This oil is actually a wax from the seed of the jojoba plant.  This is a great oil for clients suffering from back acne as it has antibacterial properties.
It has a pretty good shelf life and is nicely absorbent. This is the oil I prefer to use as it absorbs essential oils nicely and I do like to add them to the jojoba  to customize  the healing experience with each individual client.  The drawback that I notice with this oil is that it does absorb a bit too quickly and I have to keep reapplying it.

3) Sunflower Oil

This is my favorite oil by far.  It is inexpensive, non-greasy and won’t leave the client feeling oily when they are done with their treatment.  Extracted from sunflower seeds, this oil  is rich in the essential fatty acid linoleic acid, as well as palmitic acid and stearic acid. These are  all components of healthy, glowing  skin. The amount of linoleic acid in skin depletes  with age and can be worn down by daily cleaning with soaps and cleansers.  It can go rancid rather quickly and should be stored in a cool, dark place.  Adding some drops of Vitamin E can extend the shelf life.  One thing to note is how high it is in Vitamin E which helps regulate hormonal cycles.  Anyone suffering from Pre-menstral Syndrome will often find relief in taking two tablespoons of the oil a day.  Please be sure to ask your clients if they have any allergies to the suflower plant as this will cause an allergic reaction if used to give a treatment.

4)  Sesame Oil

Sesame oil is considered sacred and special  in Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India. It is used in a every day in Ayurvedic self-massage called abhyanga, as well as shirodhara.
According to Ayurveda, sesame oil is very  useful for nourishing and detoxifying and for ailments associated with the vata type, such as nervousness, poor circulation, constipation, bloating, and very dry skin..
Sesame oil is a very  thick oil that can  leave skin feeling oily, so it should  be blended with lighter massage oils. The unrefined oil has a strong aroma. Some like it, some do not.

5) Olive Oil

Olive oil is mostly associated with cooking, but it is sometimes  used for massage. It is a heavy oil with a greasy  texture and strong  aroma that many associate with the kitchen stove, so it’s usually not used on its own for massage.
One study compared topical olive oil with sunflower oil and found that olive oil had no effect on epidermal barrier function, whereas topical sunflower oil resulted in significant improvement in the skin barrier.  This is one oil that I won’t use for my clients as I find it to be too greasy and very hard to clean up.

5) Grapeseed Oil

Grapeseed oil makes a good  massage oil. It has no odor, and it has a creamy texture without being too oily or greasy. Having said that, most grapeseed oil is extracted from grape seeds using a solvent (rather than being pressed from the seeds), Some aromatherapists say that this makes it an inferior oil for aromatherapy massage.