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Best Oils for Bodywork & Massage

On a quest to find the best oil for massage! Although oil isn’t necessary for a good massage, I prefer to include it as part of the combined bodywork method I offer. Oils have been used throughout history to care for the skin.

​Mexico: jojoba oil

​India: coconut oil

​Morocco: aragan oil

​Greece: olive oil

​Iran: almond oil

​Armenia: sesame oil

​China: castor oil

​Russia: sunflower oil

​Congo: baobab oil

Skin Care

Skin care extends far beyond treating yourself to a facial occasionally. Our entire bodies are covered with skin, an organ composed of three different layers. The skin functions as a barrier for our precious internal organs, contains our blood and tissues, and facilitates communication throughout our bodies.

Love the Skin You’re In

When you know more about the vital functions of the skin, the most massive organ in the body, you can better care for it. Healthline explains how the skin is up there with the heavy-hitter organs like the heart and lungs, perhaps even more powerful, making the skin a…superhero!

The skin is a superhero organ for its ability to:

  • provide immunity

  • cover and protect internal body parts and functions

  • release sweat

  • synthesize vitamin D

  • make melanin

  • allow us to differentiate between textures, temperatures, and more via touch

Why oil?

Natural, organic, plant-derived oils have many health benefits. According to the National Library of Medicine, “Plant oils have been utilized for a variety of purposes throughout history, with their integration into foods, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products. They are now being increasingly recognized for their effects on both skin diseases and the restoration of cutaneous homeostasis.”

The National Library of Medicine summarize the benefits of oils as:

  1. Increase hydration

  2. Antioxidant effects

  3. Anti-inflammatory properties

  4. Anti-microbial properties

  5. Promote wound healing

  6. Anti-carcinogenic

You can check out a helpful chart that breaks down the benefits of different types of oil and the best oils for the skin.

What about essential oils?

Essential oils are so important to my practice that they’ll get their own special blog post! These magical natural extracts require a carrier oil to be used as aromatherapy for massage. Any of the oils discussed in this article make great carrier oils.

Which oil is best for my skin?

The type of oil that’s best for your skin depends on your skin type, climate, age and diet. Renewed Health Oils offers this breakdown of oils by skin type.

Oily Skin – The best carrier oils to use if you have oily skin include sunflower oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil and grapeseed oil are good.

Dry Skin – You want carrier oils that are the best moisturizers if your skin tends to be dry. The best ones include olive oil, avocado oil, and sweet almond oil.

Mature Skin – For the mature adult, sesame oil, rosehips oil, jojoba oil, apricot oil and almond oil work well.

Sensitive Skin – For those with sensitive skin, the best carrier oils need to be mild. Try using sweet almond oil, apricot oil, jojoba oil, or sesame seed oil.

Normal Skin – The best carrier oil for skin that is normal includes coconut oil, hempseed oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, or sweet almond oil.

Jackie’s Favorite Oils

My quest to find the best oils for massage and bodywork is one of my favorites! I traded fractionated coconut oil for solid coconut oil to increase the fats and overall “oiliness,” but didn’t love how lumpy it could be in the cold. After trying a few oils at my favorite local shop Indira Imports, I felt like Goldilocks. Jojoba oil was a little too slippery, avocado oil too smelly, and grapeseed oil too dry. I settled on almond oil, and am loving it! It absorbs well, but provides good surface lubrication. Almond oil has very little smell and is gentle enough to use on all skin types.

Use caution with almond oil if you or a client has nut allergies. Always ask clients about any allergies and preferences in oil before applying. And test the oil on yourself! If possible, find a local store that knows their ingredients well. Enjoy your quest to find the best oil!

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