Massages aren’t only a fantastic way to relax at the end of a long day, they’ve also been a fundamental part of many religions for hundreds of years. Massage is particularly common in religions like Buddhism, Hinduism and many of the eastern religions which are less common in the west.
Oils have many purposes, not only to smell great but also for muscle relaxation and stress relief. When it comes to massage, the goal is generally to relieve tension and to allow your body to heal. Massages are used extensively by athletes because they recognize that after putting in hard work, they need to stretch the muscles and skin tissue to allow it to heal fully.
What are Scented Body Oils?
Scented body oils or massages are used in almost every type of massage. These oils are strongly scented with smells which are thought to help the recipient of the massage to relax. Relaxation isn’t only the goal; it’s also important during the process because it allows the masseuse to apply the right pressure to the correct areas of the muscle to get the optimal results.
Properties of a Massage Oil
Not all oils are made equal, and some certainly aren’t ideal for use during a massage. The factors which you’ll want to consider include:
- Density – the oil should be pure and heavily filtered so that it’s not overly dense. You want a somewhat thin liquid which runs smoothly along the skin.
- Viscosity – massage oils shouldn’t be sticky like honey or syrup, and it shouldn’t run like water either. It should be a little stickier than water so that it glides smoothly but doesn’t drip.
- Absorption – the rate of absorption is important because if it’s absorbed too quickly, you’ll need to apply more, but if it lasts too long it can get messy.
- Moisturizing not drying – certain types of oils such as hemp oil can have a drying effect, while oils such as lavender and chamomile can be moisturizing and softening for the skin.
- Smell – the odor of oil is important because a strong or unpleasant fragrance can prevent you from relaxing and enjoying the massage.
- Purity – the purity and quality of any oils that you use are important. Filtered and refined oils will feel smooth and luxurious, while cheaper oils can leave a greasier feeling which doesn’t feel moisturizing but instead feels like it wets you.
What is the Purpose of Massaging Oils?
Massage is possible without oils, but oils can help to make the massage more comfortable and enjoyable. Oil will reduce the friction between the hands and the skin which can prevent rubbing and irritation, especially over long massages.
Outside of this, the benefits of oils which contain natural ingredients are widely reported. Essential oils can help with inflammation, skin aging, scaring and pain, which is why many quality massage oils will contain essential oils for these added benefits.
Are Certain Oils better than Others?
Some oils are great for massages, while others are less than optimal. This will depend not only on the quality of the oils that you buy but also the ingredients that they contain.
Choosing the Right Scented Oils for Your Needs
The three most popular types of oil for massage are almond, grape seed, and sunflower. Almond oil is widely used because of its amazing scent which can keep the recipient relaxed throughout the entire massage. It also spreads very easily and is nourishing for the upper layer of the skin. The smell of almond oil isn’t overly strong which can make it great for combining with other oils with different scents. With excellent spreadability and viscosity, almond oil is a popular choice.
Grapeseed oil is slightly less popular but also commonly used because it’s quickly absorbed by the skin and doesn’t leave any greasy feeling on the skin after it’s applied. While it doesn’t have a pleasant smell like almond oil, it’s still palatable and can easily be used as a carrier oil by combining it with other smells like rose oil or lavender.
Sunflower oil is incredibly common because it’s super cheap and can be found in any grocery store across the world. Sunflower oil spreads very easy and is a fantastic carrier oil because of its limited aroma. The only problem with sunflower oil is that it does have a slightly greasy feeling.
What’s the Difference between Essential Oils and Massage Oils?
Most massage oils include essential oils, but they aren’t necessarily the same thing. Essential oils are the distilled oils from natural plant materials, while massage oils often are a combination of many different oils to create the perfect lend for massages.
Most Popular Ingredients Used in Aromatherapy Massage Oils
There are more aromatherapy massage oils than we could list in the article, but some of the most popular oils are lavender, Ylang Ylang, tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil because they can help your body to relax and your mind to quieten.
Lavender is probably the most well known essential oil of the entire bunch because it’s used so heavily in a huge array of products. Lavender has a very distinct aroma, and it also has antiseptic properties as well as the ability to calm the mind. Lavender can be found in almost any cosmetic store as well as most health shops.
Ylang Ylang is far less common, but its effects are pronounced, and it’s the ideal ingredient for use in massage. It’s properties include the ability to sedate the body through the nervous system, as well as stimulating blood circulation slightly and the increasing the production of endorphins in the body.
Tea tree oil is also incredibly popular, and it’s typically applied in its concentrated form directly to the skin. Tea tree oil is known for antiseptic qualities, but most importantly it is anti-inflammatory which can help to heal the damaged skin and reduce inflammation during the massage.
Eucalyptus oil is used by a huge percentage of masseuses because it has strong anti-inflammatory qualities that allow it to treat sprains, body spams, and muscle tension. Given that many people choose to get massage’s to address these precise problems, it’s an incredibly useful oil for use during massages.