Oil, like many aspects of making sure you a great massage, is one of personal choice. However it is one area that is often forgotten about when customers are thinking about what they would like to have for their massage. As well as the obvious one which you are probably thinking about as you read this, "what smell do I like?" there are several other more subtle but important factors to consider!
Let's look at some of those in turn:
Without getting all technical on you, the generally regarded best method is cold pressed expeller pressed extraction. Under this extraction method the natural fatty acid profile of your chosen oil is kept intact, rather than unnaturally altered as it can be using other extraction methods. Equally important, probably obviously, is that extracting the oil from fresh produce results in a better quality oil than when extracted from rotten produce!
Some manufacturers mix artificial scents into the oil. We recommend staying natural - especially since there is such a wide range of amazing fragrances available from natural essential oils.
Most massage treatment oils will comprise of two or more natural oils: the base oil which is the majority of the oil in the bottle, provides the overall lubrication qualities and also acts as a 'carrier' for one or more 'essential' oils, which provide additional natural fragrances or therapeutic benefits.
Two of the most popular carrier oils are:
By far the most widely used base oil in massage treatments. Great lubricating qualities, but does not penetrate the skin, thus making it ideal for carrying out long massage treatments. It's softening and nourishing qualities are especially suited to dry, sensitive or even slightly irritated skin. Not good for nut allergy sufferers!
A much lighter oil than almond oil, and often used for people who suffer from nut allergies. Grapeseed oil is not as lubricating as almond oil and does have a tendency to seem to 'disappear' but at the same time it does not leave an oily feeling on the skin which some people prefer.
Five of the most popular essential oils are:
Most of us will be familiar with lavender's herbaceous sweet scent but you may not know that it is also widely regarded as having powerful general therapeutic, antiseptic and calming qualities. It is the most widely used essential oil and has been used for many centuries.
A fresh scent, hygienic will widely accepted antiseptic cleansing qualities, this pure oil is a favourite to add into your massage oil mixture if you have been suffering from agitated skin.
Highly calming, both fresh and woody, you will most probably have experienced this scent when visiting a high-end spa. Quite a powerful fragrance, so not for those who like lighter scents. Incredibly refreshing and calming.
Sweet and deep, this heavily fragranced oil comes from the small yellow flowers of the Chinese Bitter Orange tree. A very popular fragrance in luxury spas, it creates an atmosphere of instant calm and has traditionally been used both as an aphrodisiac and a headache cure ... perhaps many have used it for both benefits on the same day!
The Queen of essential oils (costing around £50 for just 10ml), comes from the small white flowers of jasmine climber plants. You may be wondering why it is so expensive, if it is from the relatively common Jasmine shrub? It is because of the complicated and extensive extraction process required to produce true high quality 100% jasmine oil. It is believed to be great for the skin, increasing elasticity and reducing scar or stretch marks. The scent is beautiful but strong, so should be used in moderation mixed with a standard base carrier oil.
Two of the most popular alternatives to using oil for a massage are cream and powder. Both cream and powder are good choices for massage when the external temperature is hot and the client wishes to cool down. The third option of course is to use nothing as all and receive what is known as a 'dry massage'.
Creams are usually preferred to oil when the client wants a cooling massage. Cooling creams usually contain extracts of aloe vera, menthol or lavender, all of which posses natural soothing properties.
Massage with powder is less common in the West but often found in the East. Treatments such as Ayurvedic massage commonly use herbal powders which are believed to enhance the therapeutic properties of the massage. Elsewhere, such as in Turkey, talcum powder is a popular choice as it allows the body to be massaged without leaving oily residues or stains and is not heavy.
Our mobile massage therapists in London bring oil with them and this is included in the cost of your treatment. They usually have almond oil but always please feel free to have your own favourite choice of oil for your therapist to use. Hopefully the tips in the article above will help you choose one which suits you best. Not all treatments require oil. A Thai massage for example can be done clothed and without oil but if you prefer an oil based Thai massage then we recommend you try our Thai Oil Combo.
Finally, remember for a really great massage experience it is worth spending some time to ensure you have prepared the environment to benefit all five senses. Scent and touch are enhanced by use of the right oils. Enhance the sense of sound by playing the best music for massage, soothe your sight by using candles and keep a cold glass of water nearby (and perhaps some fresh fruit or high-quality chocolate) to enhance your taste buds during your sensory and physical relaxation session.