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Hi, I'm Missy Anderson, Licensed Massage Therapist and owner of Barefoot Body Works in San Luis Obispo, California.I'm here for About.com, and today we're going to talk about massage oils using information from their Alternative Medicine website. While you may prefer lotion or massage gel when working on your clients, oils serve multiple purposes, and can really enhance your client's experience both from practical and medicinal perspectives.Before beginning any massage, you need to review your client's health history to determine whether or not they have any allergies that may be triggered by the massage oils you plan to use. A simple questionnaire filled out prior to the massage will give you the information you need, so take the time to review this with your client prior to getting started.Probably the most popular oil amongst massage therapists is sweet almond oil. You'll find that it's light yellow in color and on the oily side, so it won't absorb too quickly. Any massage technique that calls for long, gliding strokes will be much easier with this type of oil, so if you're doing Swedish or even Hot Stone Massage, sweet almond oil will be ideal. As massage oils go, it's one of the more reasonably priced options; however, if your client has any sort of nut allergy, you'll need to choose an alternative.
If you're looking for oils with a long shelf-life, choose one that's rich in Vitamin E. A good example of this is apricot kernel oil. It's a bit more expensive than some of your other options, but has a similar color and texture to sweet almond oil, and it won't affect individuals who suffer from nut allergies. While it works well for just about any massage, I'd also recommend it for aroma therapy massages due to its sweet, fragrant scent.Another hypo-allergenic option with a long shelf-life is Jojoba oil. While you may find it to be on the expensive side, Jojoba oil is believed to have anti-bacterial properties and is very light and silky. If you know that a particular client is prone to acne breakouts, using Jojoba oil for their massage can greatly reduce this risk. Because it absorbs quickly, Jojoba oil is often used as a carrier oil when giving aroma therapy massages or working with essential oils. However, fast absorption means that you have to reapply it rather frequently during the massage.
If you're looking for an oil that won't stain sheets, try fractionated or light coconut oil. As it's not whole coconut oil, you'll find it's quite light and non-greasy. It's comparable in price to sweet almond oil, but has an indefinite shelf life which is great for those of us who like to buy in bulk. Like Jojoba oil, fractionated coconut oil makes a great carrier oil, but it absorbs quickly. Finally, sunflower oil is a wonderful option, particularly if you have a client with dry or damaged skin. Sunflower oil contains linoleic, palmitic, and stearic acid, all of which when reintroduced to the skin can help rejuvenate it. It's very light and is sometimes used as a carrier oil, but tends to go rancid rather quickly. Like almond oil, sunflower oil may cause allergic reactions in some, so be careful when using it.
Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.
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