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How to Incorporate Essential Oils into At-Home Massages

woman's hands on soft surface

Massages can be some of the most relaxing experiences you can have. Whether you prefer a light touch or deep tissue work, the relief and rejuvenation they offer can be tough to top. You could opt to go to a massage parlor or spa to have a professional work on you, but that can get  expensive really fast. At-home massages can be a great alternative to get you the relief you’re looking for. With all the resources available online, it shouldn’t take long for you or anyone else in your household to improve your execution of various techniques. Want to make it even better? Try incorporating essential oils.

Choosing Your Oils

To start, you’ll need to choose the oils you want to use. Consider what you’re trying to accomplish and allow that to guide your choice. For example, Lavender oil is known for its relaxing aromatherapy benefits while Peppermint and Wintergreen oils are known for their topical cooling and warming effects, respectively. If you have a specific intention for the massage, it’s important to take that into consideration when choosing the oils that you want to incorporate into the massage experience. How you intend to use them can influence this decision as well.

Ways to Use Them

There are a few different ways you can use essential oils during a massage. Diffusing oils allows you to experience the aromatherapy benefits they offer. This can be a great option for massages that are intended to provide emotional or mental healing and relaxation. If you want to set a certain tone for the massage, you can set up the diffuser in the area ahead of time so it will be pleasantly scented for you or whoever is receiving the massage when you’re ready to go.

The most obvious way to incorporate essential oils into an at-home massage is to use them topically in the carrier oil or lotion you opt to use. Once diluted in the oil or lotion, have whoever is giving the massage warm it in their hands before applying it to the skin. This will make the experience more relaxing and enjoyable for whoever is receiving the massage and may help them reap more of the benefits of the oil itself.

coconut oil bottle in a coconut

Lotions and Carrier Oils

The highly concentrated nature of essential oils means that it’s generally best to dilute them with a carrier oil or lotion before applying it topically. Aim for a 2-5% dilution in the oil or lotion you use. Unscented lotions can be a great option to use to dilute an essential oil for the purposes of a massage. The hydrating effects of the lotion can be beneficial for the skin while allowing the essential oil to do its work. Lotions generally contain emulsifiers that allow the water and oil ingredients to mix without separating. This allows you to add in essential oils and for them to mix in well with the lotion instead of separating from it.

Carrier oils serve the same purpose – to dilute the essential oil so it is safe to use. There are a variety of carrier oils you can choose from. Olive oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, fractionated coconut oil, sunflower oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, and rosehip oil can all be used as a carrier oil. You might even find some of them lurking in your pantry. When choosing your carrier oil, consider that the aroma of the oil may have an impact on the scent of the essential oil. You may find it best to choose oils that have little to no scent to avoid altering the experience. Some absorb into the skin better than others too, so you try a little of each and find your favorite!

A Sensitive Topic

While essential oils are crafted with the intention of being a safe way to elevate your life, some cause sensitivity and need to be used with caution. Make sure you are familiar with the essential oil’s effect on your skin before lathering your whole body in it. Some people are more sensitive than others, so don’t get frustrated, just find what works for you! Do a spot test with just the oil to see how your skin reacts. Once you know it works well with your skin, dilute a small amount of your chosen essential oil with your carrier oil. It’s okay if you can handle a couple of drops straight on your skin. And it’s okay if you need to dump in a couple of tablespoons of carrier oil in order to use a single drop of lavender. Everyone has different skin sensitivity and tolerances, just start out slow and remember: better safe than sorry!

Essential oils can be a wonderful way to elevate any massage experience. Whether you’re looking for physical relief or mental rejuvenation, there’s an oil for you out there. Take a moment to brush up on your massage techniques with your favorite at-home masseuse or masseur while you’re out there researching the best oils for you. When it comes time for the massage, you’ll be glad you did.

Check out our variety of oils for soothing relief that can be a great addition to any massage.