Probably the most popular oils used for massage are sweet almond, sunflower or grapeseed. There’s a pretty big range of oils available for massage therapy so how about changing from the usual suspects and experimenting with different types of vegetable oils? Pure vegetable oils have amazing therapeutic properties and can greatly enhance the massage we’re giving, as well as providing a good ‘slip’ over the skin.
Jojoba, for example, is actually a liquid wax, and leaves the skin feeling ultra- smooth and silky. It’s particularly good for facial massage and can be equally as beneficial to oily skin as well as dry skin.
Avocado, so yum and good for us when we eat them, and so good for us when we apply the oil to our skin (make sure it’s the unrefined version and that means it is a gorgeous sludgy green colour and not pale yellow)…perfect for dry skin or mature skin, acting as an emollient.
Do check out Borage and Hazelnut oils as they are both great for dry skin. Rosehip can be used to help reduce the appearance of scar tissue and for burns as it helps stimulate skin cell regeneration.
Calendula, St John’s Wort and Comfrey can all be used as anti-inflammatory agents, so helpful for eczema, psoriasis, burns and even arthritic joints.
By the way, do use pure vegetable oils and not mineral oils or refined vegetable oils. Refined oils have to be heated at really high temperatures to extract more oil from the raw plant material and nutrients are destroyed in the process. Then usually the colour is stripped and the oil is deodorised (that means the odour is stripped from it). Sounds nice, eh?
Another thing to be aware of is that it isn’t possible to produce ‘pure’, unrefined versions of some vegetable oils. St. John’s Wort, Calendula and Carrot are what are known as macerated oils. This means that that the raw plant material is steeped in another carrier oil during extraction. So really what you end up with is a mixture of, for example, Calendula oil and the original carrier oil.
For massage, some of the more viscous carriers would benefit from being mixed with a lighter oil like sweet almond or sunflower. Otherwise they tend to absorb into the skin too readily.
Enjoy getting well oiled
Doreen and Dympna
Accredited massage and aromatherapy courses in London