The best oils and balm for your massage

Nothing beats a great massage to relax and unwind, but the type of oil or balm you use can make all the difference. Here’s the pick of the bunch.

There are many options when it comes to soothing oils and hydrating creams you can use when getting a massage.

However, each type will have a different effect, so we took a look at which ones to try at your next appointment.

Almond oil

Ballarat naturopath Jacqui Fernandez says this plant-based oil is commonly used by practitioners, as it’s jam-packed with vitamin E and will leave your skin feeling amazing after your rub-down.

“Almond oil is the main base oil I use because it’s a really nice feeling oil on the skin,” Jacqui says.

“It also has a very good consistency, although we do need to make sure our patients don’t have any allergies first.”

Research suggests almond oil is well suited to all skin types and can improve skin elasticity, so anyone can give it a whirl.

Vitamin E creams and oils

An essential nutrient, vitamin E is a popular skincare ingredient with anti-ageing and skin repair properties.

It also makes an excellent massage oil, especially for dry skin areas, according to Jacqui.

“We mainly use it when massaging the feet, because they can be dry and this cream is very nourishing and has antioxidants too,” she explains.

Magnesium massage oil

Naturally U, Melbourne massage therapist and myotherapist Joel Phillips says magnesium plays an important role in the body.

Its various effects include regulating our muscle function.

“It’s a nutrient for the muscles that wires them for relaxation,” Joel says.

“If you don’t have enough magnesium in the muscles then it’s difficult for your muscles to switch off, so I like using magnesium blend.”

Heating creams

Tiger Balm, Deep Heat or Fisiocream – these are just a few common brands people will encounter in the massage world.

Typically, these use ingredients such as menthol and camphor, and their application encourages blood flow to the muscle, which can leave clients with a slight burning sensation.

However, it’s this heat that helps these creams and balms reduce muscle tightness and spasms, and Joel says some clients like the sensation the cream creates on the skin.

“It can feel nice. Some clients like it because it makes them relax,” he says.

However, Jacqui says some people “find it to be a bit too hot”, so it will need to be diluted or avoided for people with sensitive skin.

Essential oils

There’s nothing like walking into a massage room and having the sweet and calming smells of an essential oil greet you at the door.

Many professionals also like to use it on the skin.

It’s believed that essential oils can have health and mood effects.

Jacqui says the smell of lavender will help you relax during your massage, while peppermint oil can be good for muscle aches and pains.

However, she recommends testing for allergies before using.

Also, some oils are not recommended for use during pregnancy, including aniseed, sage, rosemary and peppermint.