Why Massage Oil?
A lot of people think grabbing some hand cream or body lotion would do just fine for a massage, or worse (shudder) doing a “dry” massage. If you want this massage to be sensual, deeply relaxing, and a way to completely spoil your partner, you need real massage oil; something that will absorb a bit into the skin, soften it, but also allow you to keep smooth, steady movements with your massage.
If massage is an art form, then massage oil is the medium. Learning to make your massage oil not only saves you money, but allows you to orchestrate the massage, and leave a signature scent at the same time. The key is in learning the basics. Once you have the foundation, and once you have experimented with your style and preferences, you’ll be able to surprise your partner with the massage of his or her lifetime.
A Brief History
Oils and aromatherapy have been around for a long time. Just look in the Bible. Remember when Mary Magdalene anointed Jesus’ feet? Not only was she applying essential oils, but was doing so through massage. Mary knew the power of massage. It’s a way to relax, relieve stress, show interest, and “rev the motor”, so to speak.
Oils have been around a lot longer than Biblical times, though. About 2700 years before the birth of Christ, the Chinese were using herbs and burning oils.
The Egyptians used oils in the mummification process, then eventually applied the same herbs and oils to everyday life. Cleopatra used the exotic Jasmine oil to distract Marc Antony during business meetings (Ladies, take note!). In India, practitioners of Ayurveda, a form of medical therapy, employed the use of aromatherapy and massage. Greeks used oils for aromatherapy, cosmetics, and medicine. Romans utilized the oils after baths, and the Aztec had a vast array of herbs and plants. In 980 AD, in the Far East, the art of distilling alcohol led to the development of more modern-day perfumes. I believe it wouldn’t be too far-reaching to say that nearly every culture at one time or another took advantage of nature’s resources and used oils and massage.
Introduction to Essential Oils
I believe that massage using essential oils is one of the most luxurious sensations in life. As I said before, the massage itself, along with the scents, is magical enough, but what I think makes massage with essential oils so special is the care that is being shown by the masseuse.
When your partner takes the time to select, mix, and then apply oils to your body, he or she is telling you that you are worth the time. Your partner is telling you that you’re worth spoiling, worth pampering, and that he or she thinks you’re beautiful.
Psychologically, essential oils and massage do as much for the soul as the physical benefits, which are no small things. The main focus of this composition is information on essential oils used for massage. Keep in mind that all these oils are used for other medicinal reasons and in other ways than massage. Some essential oils should not be used on mucous membranes or internally at all. Some are fine for some people, but others might find the sensation too intense. As you set about experimenting with essential oils, remember that a little goes a long way (a few drops total in your massage oil is plenty), and while you want to create a blend unique to you, your signature scent so to speak, you also don’t want to mix too many essential oils at one time and create a sensory mishmash.
For your base oil, you should choose a light oil with a pleasant aroma. My favourite is almond oil, but you MUST NOT USE ALMOND OIL OR ANY OTHER NUT-BASED OIL ON SOMEONE WITH NUT ALLERGIES. Ask, don’t assume. The last thing you want is for your massage partner to go into anaphylactic shock.
Here is a partial list of base oils:
- Sweet Almond – This oil can be used 100%. It’s light in texture and color and has the added benefit of helping with itching, dryness, soreness, and inflammation. Be aware of possible nut allergies.
- Avocado – This oil should be used at only 10% (90% should be another oil, such as sweet almond). This base oil is rather heavy and leaves a waxy feel on the skin.
- Avocado Pear – Again, though this oil is good for dry skin, it should be used at 10% and mixed with another base oil.
- Borage Seed – Another 10% oil that should be mixed. It’s good for premature aging, stimulation and regeneration of skin, multiple sclerosis, and eczema.
- Cocoa Butter – This needs to be warmed, as it is solid at room temperature, but it is excellent for dry skin.
- Coconut Oil – This, too, needs to be warmed from its solid-state, but the aroma is wonderful.
- Corn Oil – This oil can be used 100% and is good for all skin types. It’s rather heavy, but also soothing and easily accessible.
- Hazelnut – This oil can be used undiluted and on all skin types. It is also an astringent.
- Jojoba – This base should be diluted to 10%. It’s a wonderful help in psoriasis, acne, and inflamed skin, but can be used on all skin types. It’s also good for the hair.
- Peanut Oil – Edgar Casey sang the wonders of this oil. He recommended it for all types of ailments. Peanut oil can be used undiluted and on all skin types, but be aware that it has a very strong aroma of peanuts and can feel quite heavy on the skin. Again, be aware of any possible nut allergies in your partner.
- Safflower – This can be used undiluted and for all skin types.
- Sesame Oil – This should be diluted to 10%, but is wonderful on all skin types. It is especially useful for psoriasis, eczema, and arthritis. It also has a strong aroma, though, so smell it before trying it.
- Soy Bean – Another oil that can be used undiluted and on all skin types.
- Sunflower oil – Again, another oil that can be used undiluted and on all skin types.
- Wheat germ – While good for psoriasis, prematurely aging skin, and eczema, as well as all skin types, it should be used at 10%.
Let’s Mix and Match
Once you’ve selected your base oil, you want to transfer it into a dark, glass bottle. You want to avoid plastic, and you want to keep it safe from sunlight.
Select your essential oils, keeping in mind how the scents will work together, and add just a few drops of the essential oils to your base oil. Cover tightly and gently shake it up so the oils can blend, then LET IT SIT for several hours. Go back and check it, see how it smells once it’s had a chance to blend and mature. You can then adjust it as you like.
Massage oil is best used to heat up slightly. You don’t want it scalding hot, but just a bit above body temperature. Rather than pouring it on, I prefer to pour some into a shallow bowl and dip my fingers in as I go along. Be very generous with the amount you use. The more the better, I always say.
Remember that essential oils have their properties, and you should keep those in mind. Some are relaxing, some heat up on mucous membranes, some are refreshing and invigorating. If you suffer from high blood pressure, avoid hyssop, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Licorice is also known to elevate blood pressure, but it’s not often used as a massage oil! Diabetics should avoid angelica. For those of you who enjoy tanning beds or outdoor tanning, you should avoid bergamot, lemon, grapefruit, ginger, lime, orange, and the other citruses. These can make you hypersensitive to ultraviolet waves. As for pregnancy, as with any other substance, discuss the use of essential oils with your midwife or doctor ahead of time. Better safe than sorry!
It’s all in the details when it comes to blending essential oils. My all-time favorite massage oil is a combination of lavender oil, clove oil, cinnamon, peppermint, and rosemary oil, in a base of sweet almond. This blend not only smells awesome but also produces just a touch of heat. And as a bonus, it also tastes great! By the way, the combination of sandalwood and chamomile is an excellent relaxing oil mixture. In general, men tend to enjoy spicy, woody smells, while women are known for favoring floral scents. A blend of both, then, would be an ideal massage oil that would please both partners in a heterosexual relationship. This, however, is a general statement. I’m a woman, and I prefer the spicy aromas over the floral ones, and I know some men who love the scent of some flowers. Regardless, you might want to try a mixture of jasmine and sandalwood (both very exotic oils), or rose and frankincense.
Here are a few other combinations:
- For relaxation, try clary sage, lavender, and lemon.
- Chamomile is excellent for sleep, so try a mixture of chamomile and sandalwood, or chamomile and lavender to help you relax.
- Ginger and, believe it or not, black pepper, are great for sore, achy muscles.
- For an uplifting massage, try a blend of lemon, mint, and geranium.
- How about bergamot, peppermint, and lemon?
- Lavender, orange, and peppermint is a very cooling combination, as well, and gives a nice floral scent.
- For romance, there are several mixtures you can try. Bergamot, sandalwood, and jasmine for one. The Kama Sutra recommends jasmine and grapefruit. Ylang-ylang, lavender, grapefruit, lemon, and neroli are also great together. If you’re ambitious, go for a combination of rosewood, neroli, lavender, thyme, and cinnamon or clove.
In closing, experiment with essential oils, see what combinations please you and your partner. Keep in mind that scents are strong memory triggers, and whatever massage oil blend you choose will become your signature scent.
Slow down, enjoy your senses, and enjoy each other.