Massage is considered to be one of the oldest traditions for healing. Various ancient cultures, such as Egyptians, Ancient Greeks and Indians - believed in the therapeutic use of massage to treat various ailments. 

Many cultures have used aromatic oils and resins for thousands of years. These were sometimes burned to ward off evil spirits or ritual practices, but oils and resins were used primarily for their healing properties and how these affected the mind and body. 

But not many people know the types of massage oil available and how they can be used to relieve stress and bodily pains. 


What can massage help with?

Massage tends to be used for general relaxation and well-being or to address specific pains or injuries such as a limited range of motion from a sporting accident. Research suggests that massage therapy may benefit both your body and mind. 



Muscles that are sore, tired and aching can benefit from a massage, as it helps in reducing the soreness and can increase your range of motion, along with many other benefits. 

Muscle injuries such as a sprain or a strain can be benefitted from massage and are often prescribed by doctors as part of the muscle recovery process. 

Another health benefit that massage provides the body is by encouraging circulation to muscles; this causes a rush of blood, giving oxygen and nutrients like calcium and iron to the massaged areas. Specific massages such as a deep tissue massage can help break down knots and even scar tissue caused by injury.



Massages can promote emotional well-being, relaxation and a sense of calm. Studies suggest that massage can also be beneficial in helping to reduce the feeling of depression. In addition to this, massages have been known to reduce levels of cortisol (otherwise known as the “stress hormone”) in the body whilst the level of dopamine and serotonin (the “happy hormone”) increases. 

There are many areas of the body that can be benefitted from a massage, including the back, neck, scalp, hand and feet. 


The types of massage oils

There are various massage oils available on the market to make massages more pleasurable. These are: 

A comfortable and smooth massage. Using oils during a massage allows the hand to glide over the skin, which gives the recipient a more relaxing experience. Massage oils help the hands not to drag over the skin whilst the masseuse is massaging with long strokes such as the petrissage, a kneading movement. 

Aromatherapy benefits. Some massage oils provide a secondary use of aromatherapy to both parties of a massage. Some essential oils, like lavender, can add to the relaxing benefits of massage therapy. 


What makes a good massage oil?

The best kind of massage oil will allow the masseuse to glide their hands across the skin without the oil becoming sticky or drying out. Find a massage oil with an enjoyable fragrance, or use a fragrance-free oil. A good massage oil would also be non-irritable for the skin and not stain your clothing or bedding. 


Our favourite massage oils

Coconut Oil: Coconuts and oils have a variety of nutrients for the body. Coconut oil is perfect for targeted muscle massage and is also used for deep tissue massages. This is because coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides that make this oil stable, letting it stay on the skin for longer. Coconut oil is non-greasy and is a light oil with an abundance of Vitamin E, which moisturises the skin, reduces the signs of ageing and can also help ease psoriasis. 

Sweet Almond Oil: Almond oil was traditionally used as a drink alongside milk to help improve health and memory. This oil has a sweet smell with a yellow appearance and is slightly greasy, which is easily absorbed by the skin. Almond oil is very mild and is not irritable for the skin, which means this is the perfect oil for all skin types. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, almond oil assists with rashes, itching, eczema and psoriasis. Almond oil is typically used in massages for sore muscles and mild pains.

Apricot Oil: This oil type has one of the most extended shelf lives for oil. Apricot oil is perfect to use on the face, damaged skin, inflamed skin and dry skin as it’s considered a very light oil. Furthermore, apricot oil has high Vitamin E and A levels with a rapid absorption rate into the skin. Apricot oil is the preferred oil by massage therapists, especially for aromatherapy. It is mainly used to help tighten the skin due to its known ability to reduce fine lines and stretch marks. 

Olive Oil: Mediterranean cultures have used olive oil for thousands of years as a massage oil for various treatments. Olive oil is typically used for cooking due to its health benefits; however, its massage properties are equally as good. This is a heavy oil, and it is rich in omega-9 and omega-6 fatty acids, which is why olive oil is perfect for helping reduce dry skin, muscle spasms and pains, along with assisting any inflammation of the joints. Olive oil can also assist in reducing stress and providing overall relaxation. 

Sesame oil: Sesame oil (also known as Gingelly oil or Til oil) is a heavy oil and is generally warmed and mixed with herbs before use. It is typically used to strengthen ligaments, muscles and bones. Sesame oil can also help reduce skin damage caused by the sun and UV rays. This oil type can also be found in Taiwanese medicine because of its anti-inflammatory properties.  

Sunflower Oil: This oil is most commonly used for cooking in India and can be purchased from almost any supermarket. Sunflower oil has the highest percentage of linoleic and oleic acids, meaning that sunflower oil assists in creating smooth skin. Because of sunflower oil’s properties, massaging with the oil can enhance cell repair and the regeneration function of the skin cells. When regularly massaged with sunflower oil, the skin achieves a radiant glow. 


How to use massage oils

  1. Ensure hands are washed and clean so that bacteria and other dirt particles are not rubbed into the skin. 
  2. Deciding where to start first. Determining the body part, to begin with, will indicate how much oil should be used. For example, if it’s an area like the back, this will need more oil than you would on the feet. 
  3. Add the correct amount of oil to the palm of the hand. Rub the hands together so that the massage oil is evenly spread. If more is required, that’s okay. Just add more to the hands until they no longer feel dry.
  4. Start the massaging process. It may become apparent that more oil is required due to that dried out feeling of the skin. Apply more as pervious mentioned before continuing the massage. It’s much better to add more than massage someone with dry hands. If too much oil is applied, grab a hand towel and remove the excess oil from the skin. 
  5. If an additional item such as a machine gun is going to be used, ensure that the item is appropriate for use with massage oil. It will be okay to use with oil in most cases, but it’s better to be sure.