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The Most Common Massage Oils for Your Shelf

November 14, 2014 Massage Therapy, General 0 Comments

Many massage therapists use scented aromatherapy oils such as lavender or jasmine during a massage, but you have to make sure you have a good base oil with which to mix these in order to give the best, most relaxing massage. Your base oil not only lubricates the skin for the massage itself, but it can also nourish your clients' skin and make it healthier. The following are some of the most common massage oils you can try when you're getting started as a massage therapist:

The Most Common Massage Oils for Your ShelfOn the Sweet Side

One of the most commonly used base oils is sweet almond oil, which is known for its relatively inexpensive price and its ability to be absorbed into the skin. The fragrance of the oil itself is light and pleasant to most, but it can still be combined with aromatherapy scents. However, there is one major drawback to this oil: It should not be used on someone who has a nut allergy.

Another very popular oil is apricot kernel oil, which has a very similar texture and consistency to sweet almond oil, though it costs a bit more. It makes a great alternative to sweet almond oil and is a great backup if you're working with clients who are allergic to nuts. If you use it universally as your base, you may save money in the long run since this vitamin E-rich oil has a long shelf life, which may compensate for the slightly higher cost.

The 'Kitchen' Oils

Many have tried simple oils found in their kitchen for a massage, but these tend to be less than ideal. Olive oil, for example, tends to be too heavy and leaves a greasy feeling on the skin; plus, its scent is strongly associated with cooking. Sunflower oil has a lighter texture that absorbs more readily and provides healthy skin benefits, such as linoleic acid. However, it carries a short shelf life, so it may not be practical, especially for new massage therapists with fluctuating client levels. If you're determined to give it a try, start by squeezing a few capsules of vitamin E oil into the bottle to help extend its shelf life.

The coconut oil used for massages is not the same cooking oil that solidifies when it is cool, but rather a "fractionated" version containing only certain parts of the full oil. It has a price point comparable to sweet almond oil but a much longer shelf life, and it won't stain, like many of the most common massage oils.

Other Alternatives

Jojoba oil is very popular, particularly among those with acne, since it seems to have antibacterial properties. It also has a long shelf life, but it can be a bit expensive. It absorbs into the skin so well that you may need to use much more of it than other oils. Consider mixing jojoba oil with a cheaper base oil such as sweet almond or apricot kernel oil to make it last longer and save money.

With its neutral fragrance, grape-seed oil has a very light texture that won't leave your clients feeling greasy or overpowered by a strong odor. Some purists may scoff at a man-made oil, but even mineral oil can yield pleasant results as a base oil.

There are many great options for massage base oils, so feel free to experiment to find out which mixtures you and your clients like the best. It never hurts to have a few alternatives on hand to give your clients options and individualize their therapy.

Photo credit: Flickr

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