Essential oils are wonderful when they are used as part of a massage. Although I am not a professional massage therapist, I love to explore different uses for aromatherapy and essential oils. During a massage, the power of aromatherapy is received through both through inhalation of the scent and through absorption of the oil through the skin. Try adding a drop or two of lavender essential oil to your next massage, and see how relaxed both you and the person you are massaging feel!
When you use essential oils for a massage, you don’t want to use the essential oils “neat” (full strength). Many of them would irritate the skin if they were used full strength, and you’d spend a fortune on essential oils!
Instead, massage therapists who use essential oils use a carrier oil or a base oil and add a small amount of essential oil to the carrier oil. They can do that because one drop of an essential oil is very powerful, and can go a long way. You can experiment, but I have found 1 or 2 drops of essential per teaspoon (5 ml) of carrier oil is usually sufficient. Be sure to read up on whatever oil you are thinking of using, because there are a few that really should not be put on the skin at all deep conditioner.
There are many carrier oils to choose from, and I’ll talk about the ones I’m most familiar with. As with any substance, it’s a good idea to put a small amount of a new carrier oil on your skin (such as your inner elbow) to test it and make sure you’re not allergic to it. If you don’t have any redness or itching or other signs of allergic reaction after 24 hours, you can probably use that oil without any problem. I once discovered I am highly allergic to coconut oil using that method!
Here are 5 of the most common carrier / base oils:
Grapeseed oil: Grapeseed oil is a favorite of many massage therapists. It is light green and odorless. Grapeseed oil does not leave your skin feeling greasy! And very few people are allergic to it, but you should test it for yourself. Most people use grapeseed oil undiluted.
Jojoba oil (pronounced hoe-HOE-bah): Jojoba oil isn’t really an oil. It’s a waxy substance from the beans of the plant simmondsia chinensis. But it looks and feels like oil. Undiluted jojoba oil is usually my carrier oil of choice, because it doesn’t leave any oily residue or sticky feeling at all on the skin. Also, the best thing about jojoba oil is that it doesn’t go rancid! Because it’s not an oil, it doesn’t go rancid like oils. So if you make up a mixture of essential oils and jojoba oil, it will stay good for a long time. Jojoba oil is also really good for your hair and scalp, and that’s why you may see it in shampoos, especially those for dandruff and dry, itchy scalp.
Olive oil: If you’re going to use olive oil, try to buy cold-pressed extra virgin oil. My favorite brand is by Spectrum and I get it in the supermarket. Olive oil is wonderful for your skin and its moisturizing abilities are beyond compare. However, it does leave your skin feeling a bit greasy, and it has a distinctive smell. So many people dilute olive oil with a lighter oil, such as grapeseed oil.
Sweet Almond Oil: Sweet almond oil is one of the most commonly used oils in massage and in other skin applications of aromatherapy. It is known for its ability to soften and smooth the skin. I usually use sweet almond oil undiluted.
Vitamin E Oil: Vitamin E Oil is very, very thick and doesn’t spread out across the skin as smoothly and as rapidly as other, lighter oils. So, it is usually added in small amounts to other carrier oils. However, Vitamin E oil is great at keeping other oils from going rancid, and it’s a great anti-oxidant. So I usually add a few drops of Vitamin E oil to any massage oil mixture I’m going to store for a while, especially if the mixture isn’t made with jojoba oil.