Oils and lotions are a crucial part of any massage. To celebrate Earth Day, we looked into how massage therapists use natural oils and herbs from Mom Nature herself to enhance the massage experience. While natural and organic massage oil and lotion blends can be purchased ready-made, we spoke to two Zeel Massage Therapists who blend their own oils and lotions – many of which have other beneficial properties besides just facilitating a great massage treatment. It’s something you can do at home too.
Find your base
New York-based Zeel Massage Therapist Michelle Britto starts with 100% unrefined organic shea butter, a fatty substance extracted from shea nuts, which grow in Africa. Not only is shea butter safe for all age and skin types as it won’t clog pores, it’s extremely moisturizing. Britto ads “It’s rich in vitamins. It’s even great on acne, eczema, stretch marks and rashes! It’s really as wholesome and earthy as it gets.”
Bay Area-based Zeel Massage Therapist Sienna Wildwind says she started making her own massage lotions with natural and organic products to ensure a high-quality experience for both herself and her clients. “The skin absorbs what we put on it,” Wildwind notes.
Wildwind is a fan of coconut oil, easily attainable at your local Trader Joe’s.. “I start with coconut oil, because it smells good and is easy to get. It has a very long shelf life.”
Make your own
It can be fun to experiment with your own massage recipes. Here’s how Wildwind does it. “In order to make it, I blend jojoba, coconut, cocoa butter and beeswax, and then add a few drops of lavender. You can find these at any good health food store or by mail order. I encourage you to try making your own blend, because it’s easy and then you get it just right for you.”
“Melt the wax and solid oils in a double boiler to prevent burning, and then add the liquid oils. Test little bits on a spoon to see how the hardness is before pouring out into your container. Always wait until the end before adding essential oils, because they are damaged by high temperatures. Using some vitamin E as a preservative is a good idea, and store in the fridge what you won’t be using right away.”
Different essential oils and herbs have varying properties, besides just smelling great. Says Britto, “Rosemary moisturizes while supporting collagen development (which fights skin-damaging agents), mint soothes muscles, lavender aids in sleep, and gardenia is known for love and peaceful energy.”
One note of caution – homemade oils and lotions are more likely to leave marks on your sheets, says Wildwind. “Commercial massage creams wash out of sheets much more easily than oils.” That said, the advantages of organic and natural hand-blended oils are many. Why not try your hand at special environment-friendly blends of your own this Earth Day?
Suggested Reading: Try Lavender Oil (and Other Essential Oils) For Better Sleep
Marcy is the SVP of People and Communications at Zeel. In addition to overseeing the humans of Zeel, Marcy has written about workplace topics for more than 20 years both at Zeel and as VP of Content for Vault.com, a career information web site and publisher.