Massage Oils

Massage Oils

ELAP recommendations: Massage Equipment and Enviroment: Conditions: Having completed 2.5 hours of instruction on equipment and session environments, the learner is expected to:
• Demonstrate knowledge of the key terms and concepts related to massage
equipment and session environments, including types of equipment and features,
lubricants, supplies, and factors for creating a comfortable, inviting, and safe
session space, on a graded assignment.
• Correctly set up, organize, adjust for comfort and safety, sanitize, and properly use
massage equipment, lubricants, and supplies related to the practice of massage
therapy on a practical evaluation.

Massage Oils are usually introduced in massage school. When in practice, most massage therapists move to using lotions as they are absorbed better and don’t leave the client feeling greasy.

The primary use of massage oils is to reduce the friction between the massage therapists hands and the clients skin. Oils are derived from nuts, seeds or vegetables and may have additives like Vitamin E to reduce rancidity. Oils stain sheets and massage table linens as well as floors around the massage table when drops of oil inadvertantly land on the floor. Oils in sheets create a high risk of fires in the dryer.

Oils are emollient, which means that they soothe, soften, and make supple. This helps with hard, dry, rough, non-resilient skin. Hand in hand with softening is the property of moisturizing. Moisturizing oils are said to be humectant which means to retain and preserve moisture. Demulcent oils help to soothe sensitive skin that has been damaged, and vulnerary oils act to heal injuries and wounds. Astringents aid in tightening and toning the skin. Tonic oils invigorate and stimulate. ~ Feeding the Skin. By Kondañña (Barry Kapke) Originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine, December/January 2006.

Type of OilProperties of Massage OilsUses of Massage Oils
Sweet Almond OilColor: very pale yellow
Ingredients:  glucosides, minerals, vitamins, proteins
penetrates skin and nourishes
One of the most popular massage oils: good for most skin types especially for dry, itching skin. Can be used 100%. Often used as a carrier oil for aromatherapy
Apricot Kernel Oilcolor: pale yellow
Ingredients: vitamins, minerals
relieves stress
good for all skin types
especially for skin that is prematurely aged, dry, sensitive or inflamed
can be used 100%
Avocado Oilheavy green color
Ingredients:  Vit A, E
High in chlorphyl and  carotenoid pigments 
good for most skin types
commonly used in fascials because of their
    heavy; use in 10% dilution with base oil
Borage Oilcolor: pale yellow
Ingredients: gamma linolenic acid, vitamins, minerals
eczema, psoriasis
Castor Oilcolor: light yellow
very thick, sticky
cleanses lymphatic system
use on dry, cracked feet
use on scar tissue
use in poultice (wool flannel cloth)
Coconut Oil (fractunated)color: light yellow
solid at room temperature; needs to be warmed.
thick, heavy
good for all skin types, especially dry, cracked skin
Emu Oilcolor: light yellow
assists in collagen formation
good for all skin types: may block pores is some; watch for reactions
used for arthritis, bursitis, sore muscles, bruising, eczema, keloids
Grapeseed Oilcolor: none or very pale green
Ingredients: vitamins, minerals, proteins
highest in linoleic acid
good for all skin types
can be used 100%
Jojoba Oilcolor: dark  yellow
Ingredients: protein, minerals
From a bean of a desert shrub
helps prevent oxidization of essential oils
waxy-solid at cold temperatures
assists in breaking down sebum in plugged pores
highly penetrating
balances the brain and pituitary
Used to treat skin disorders, eczema, acne
keeps longer than most oils
good carrier oil
Use full strength or in dilution with other oils
Kukui Nut Oilcolor: none
Ingredients: linoleic and linolenic acid
slightly warming effect
light, dries fast
antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory
helps keep oil from going rancid
good for all skin types
usually an additive

People may have nut allergies
Olive Oilcolor: green
Ingredients: proteins, minerals, vitamins E, calcium ,copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, carotene
relieves stiffness
good for all skin types
can be used 100%, but rather thick: diluted is best
Extra virgin and cold pressed  recommended.
Peanut Oilcolor: pale yellow
Ingredients: protein, vitamin B and niacin, minerals
smells like peanuts
check to see if client is allergic to peanuts
good for all skin types
especially dry skin
use for bursitis, arthritis
make sure it’s organic
Sesame OilColor: dark yellow
Ingredients: vitamin E,  lecithin, amino acids
antiseptic, anti-fungal
prevents premature
aging of skin purifier
thought to be the most stable of oils in terms of spoilage.
May want to use odorless 
good for all skin types, except for red, rashy irritated skin
can be used on dry cracked skin
rheumatism, arthritis
destroys ringworm, scabies and most fungal skin diseases.
can be used 100% but diluted to 10% is best (can be too warming)
Safflower Oilcolor: pale yellow
Ingredients: protein, minerals, vitamin E, linoleic acid
blood cleanser
quickly turns rancid
good for all skin types
can be used 100%
Wheat Germ Oilcolor:pale yellow
Ingredients: Vitamin E, proteins, minerals, other vitamins
help prevents oxidization of essential oils
Check for wheat allergies
Use in 10% dilution with base oil
good for eczema, psoriasis, aging skin