Make your own massage oil to relieve aches and pains, for self-massage or to massage others. Homemade massage oils are great gifts, too. Choose a single base oil or a few carrier oils, and add up to 3-4 essential oils.
Base Oils for Massage Oil Blends
- Grapeseed oil is odorless and light and a good option for oily skin. You can use it on its own or blend it with other carrier oils. It contains some vitamin E and linoleic acid.
- Cold-pressed sunflower oil contains vitamins A, D and E, and vitamins from the B group. It is a light oil that is popular in massage blends.
- Sweet almond oil suits most skin types, is nearly odorless, and absorbs well into the skin. It contains B vitamins and vitamin A, and it is one of the most popular base oils in body oils and massage oil recipes.
- Cold-pressed olive oil is a great addition to a massage blend for aching muscles or for rheumatism. Because of its strong odor it is probably best to blend it with other base oils: use from 10% up to 50% of olive oil in the blend.
Macerated oils are made by steeping a herb in a base oil. These are often added to other base oils (for example, add around 20% of arnica oil into your base blend to make a massage oil for aching muscles). Useful macerated oils for massage blends include
- Arnica oil, made with the herb Arnica montana: a great choice for aching muscles, injuries, swelling, bruises, bumps, and all kinds of aches and pains. Don’t use on broken skin.
- Comfrey oil: useful for relieving aches and pains, scars, arthritis, bruises, burns and wounds.
- St. John’s Wort oil: made with the herb Hypericum perforatum, this herbal oil can be used to relieve sciatic pain and all types of nerve pain, shingles, wounds, burns and damaged skin.
Essential Oils for Massage Blends
Great essential oils for massage blends include the following:
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): a popular ingredient in blends for sports massage, Rosemary oil is good for tired, stiff or overworked muscles. It stimulates circulation and relieves pain, and may be helpful in arthritis.
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): relaxing to the body and the mind. Lavender oil relieves pain and tension, and is good for muscular aches and pains, headaches and sciatica. It relieves both physical and emotional stress.
- Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana): use for muscle aches and pains, sprains and strains. Sweet marjoram is a locally warming oil that relieves pain and improves local circulation.
- Ginger (Gingiber officinalis): a warming oil that boosts circulation. Ginger oil is often used to relieve stiffness in joints and muscles. A great oil to use in the winter months; helpful in arthritis, or to relieve muscle fatigue.
- Black Pepper (Piper nigrum): a stimulating oil – add a maximum of 1% to a blend. Another warming spice oil, good for relieving stiffness, aches and pains
- Eucalyptus (globulus/radiata): although known mainly tas a cold remedy, Eucalyptus oil is sometimes added to massage blends. It is good for relieving stiffness, for sciatic pain, for rheumatism, and for boosting up immunity during the cold and flu season. 1% in a blend is enough.
Read Choosing Essential Oils for Homemade Body Oils for a blending guide and tips on how to store your homemade massage blends.
Read more about essential oils: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy & Herbalism by Julia Lawless (Element Books, 1995)