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 Oils for Massage Therapy
(Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy)

 Oils have been used in massage treatments throughout history.  Homer wrote about an " oily medium" used for massage as early as 1000 B.C.   Plato and Socrates wrote of " anointing with oil and rubbing to ease pain". 






Today there are many types of oils with many uses.  It is necessary to experiment with the many types and try them on a variety of skin types to develop your own sense of use and personal preference.

The purpose of using oil in a massage is to facilitate the gliding over the client's skin.  The various oils contain ingredients for nourishing the skin and promoting health.  Essential oils (fragrant oils distilled from plants, trees, roots, seeds) can be added for further enhancing the treatment.

When buying oils, look for cold-pressed or expellier-pressed ( made with the least amount of heating and processing) as they last longer.  ( A rancid oil can cause free radical damage to your self 

and client.)  Keep large quantities of oils refrigerated or in a cool place (below 65 degrees) when not in use to delay spoilage. Vitamin E added each month to the oil will help prevent spoilage.  Use about 300 IU of vitamin E per pint of oil. A rancid oil will have an unusual smell to it and taste bitter.

These are the basic oils and can be used in combination or alone.  Essential Oils can be added for additional therapeutic purposes. (See additional information on Aromatherapy)
Sweet Almond
  • color: very pale yellow
  • Ingredients:  glucosides, minerals, vitamins, proteins
  • penetrates skin and nourishes
  • anti-inflammatory
  • light

  • good for most skin types
  • especially for dry, itching skin
  • can be used 100% 

Apricot Kernel Oil
  • color: pale yellow
  • Ingredients: vitamins, minerals
  • relieves stress
  • balancing
  • good for all skin types
  • especially for skin that is prematurely aged, dry, sensitive or inflamed
  • can be used 100%
  • heavy green color
  • Ingredients:  Vit A, E
  • good for most skin types
  • heavy; use in 10% dilution with base oil
Borage Oil
  • color: pale yellow
  • Ingredients: gamma linolenic acid, vitamins, minerals
  • regenerative
  • penetrating
  • stimulating
  • eczema, psoriasis
Castor Oil
  • color: light yellow
  • very thick, sticky
  • cleanses lymphatic system
  • draws out toxins
  • breaks up scar tissue
  • use on dry, cracked feet
  • use on scar tissue
  • use in poultice (wool flannel cloth)
Coconut Oil
  • color: light yellow
  • solid at room temperature; needs to be warmed.
  • thick, heavy

  • grounding
  • good for all skin types, especially dry, cracked skin
Emu Oil
  • color: light yellow
  • anti-inflammatory
  • 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 Oil
  • color: none or very pale green
  • Ingredients: vitamins, minerals, proteins
  • highest in linoleic acid
  • non-allergenic
  • good for all skin types
  • can be used 100%
Jojoba Oil
  • color: dark  yellow
  • Ingredients: protein, minerals
  • From a bean of a desert shrub
  • helps prevent oxidization of essential oils
  • waxy-solid at cold temperatures
  • antibacterial
  • 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 Oil
  • color: none
  • odorless
  • 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
Olive Oil
  • color: green
  • Ingredients: proteins, minerals, vitamins E, calcium ,copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, carotene
  • warming
  • relieves stiffness
  • heavy
  • good for all skin types
  • can be used 100%, but rather thick: diluted is best
  • Extra virgin and cold pressed  recommended.
Peanut Oil
  •  color: pale yellow
  • Ingredients: protein, vitamin B and niacin, minerals
  • anti-inflammatory
  • thick
  • 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 Oil
  • Color: dark yellow
  • Ingredients: vitamin E,  lecithin, amino acids
  • antiseptic, anti-fungal
  • nourishing
  • 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 Oil
  • color: 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 Oil
  • color: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

Additional additives include:

  • Aloe Vera- soothing to skin irritations, burns

  • Evening Primrose- 10% dilution

  • Flax seed- assists with grounding client

  • Calendula- Anti-viral, soothing to irritations

  • Cayenne- for increasing circulation

  • Arnica- for muscle soreness, trauma, bruising

  • Hazel Nut oil- astringent, heavier;

  • Grape seed extract- anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal

Basics of Aromatherapy ] Essential Oils vs Fragrance Oils ] Books- Aromatherapy ] Aromatherapy 12 Basic oils ] Aromatherapy Resources ] Aromatherapy Precautions ] [ Aromatherapy- Carrier Oils ] Ethics Issues and Aromatherapy ]











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