Best Massage Oil, According to 7 Experts

Massage oil enables your hands to glide over skin without causing any friction, and while there are plenty of lotions and oils to choose from, not all of them measure up.

That is why we asked experts to recommend some of the best and most effective massage oils out there:

Jill Nelson, BS, LMT, CLT

Jill Nelson

Licensed Massage Therapist

Jojoba Oil

In my opinion, the best massage oil is jojoba, which is actually a liquid wax (it will solidify in cold temps). Jojoba is known to be the closest thing to the oil our skin produces.

Therapists like different oils for different reasons. I like a good, lasting glide with oil that is light. When massaging a larger area, such as a person’s back, I don’t want to have to keep applying oil so that I can do massage effectively (and have it comfortable for the client). I apply oil as I start massaging a person’s back & twenty minutes later, I still have a good glide with minimal reapplication.

In addition, jojoba is not a nut oil, which is a concern for people who may have a nut allergy. Jojoba is non-allergenic. It’s a great base oil to which I add organic essential oils.

Jojoba also does not oxidize or go rancid, is non-comedogenic (does not clog pores so it won’t contribute to the creation of pimples) & it is absorbed into the skin so clients do not feel oily after a massage.

Renata Nunes

Renata Nunes

Physiotherapist | Acupuncturist and Massage Therapist

Skin is our biggest sensory organ, so we can understand how a massage is so relaxing. Our feet and hands have a complex number of nerve receptors and for this reason, massage of the feet and hands provides a sensational feeling of comfort and well being.

Vegetable oil

For both feet and hands, I use vegetal oil and essential oil. Vegetable oil moisturizes the skin and also helps the slip of the massage maneuvers. Essential oils, each essence has an active product and can be used to treat a specific symptom. The most important thing is should be natural to works effectively.

Many patients come to me with heel pain, more specifically with the diagnosis of plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. The pain may be acute or chronic and gets worse in the morning when you take the first steps and after standing up.

In this case, I recommend myofascial release, or rather a myofascial mobilization. For this technique, I use a small amount of vegetable oil: sweet almond oil, grape seed oil or arnica oil. I add a few drops of essential oils such as peppermint, ginger or lemongrass.

Sweet almond or grapeseed oil

I also assist patients with peripheral neuropathy caused by Diabetes Mellitus for example. In this case, the patient presents tingling, burning sensation and decreased the sensitivity of the feet, as well as dryness of the skin. For these patients who are looking for me specifically for foot massage, I work with Reflexotherapy.

Reflexotherapy is based on the application of pressure to certain points of the feet (“reflex zones”) that correspond to the organs and systems of the human body.

In this case, I use sweet almond or grapeseed oil for better skin hydration and add a few drops of lavender and chamomile essential oil

When it comes to hands, people come to me for joint pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis and also pain from Quervain’s tenosynovitis. In both cases, I use the massage associated with physiotherapy. For the massage technique, I use vegetable oil and add a few drops of chamomile, eucalyptus or basil essential oil.

Contraindications to foot and hand massage include open wounds, fractures, skin allergy and during pregnancy certain specific points on both feet and hands should be avoided. For this reason, is important to search for a specialized professional.

Contraindication to essential oils must also be taken into consideration for pregnant woman, nursing mothers, and babies.

Jazmin Light

Jazmin Light

Couples Massage Instructor, SexyWellness

Jojoba Oil

In over 30 years of working with Massage, I tried dozens of oils. Jojoba oil is my all-time favorite. It has lovely gliding and nourishing properties. It also absorbs easily into the skin. Most important, it doesn’t go rancid. It’s pricier but well worth it.

Plant-based oils are healthy for the skin and great for a massage but you need to use them up while they’re fresh. All nut and seed oils turn rancid in a short amount of time. They can also make your sheets and towels smell bad.

Petroleum-based oils deplete our skin’s natural oils and thus can be pro-aging. Avoid these! Read labels.

Some plant oils have an undesirable smell from the get-go. I don’t know anyone who wants to smell like olive or sesame oil — as if they’ve been working in a restaurant for ten hours.

I have a very keen sense of smell. As a child, I’d sniff everything from food, leather wallets, and Barbie dolls, to tape recorders. People called me “The Sniffer.” My mom used me to figure out what foods to throw away from the fridge, saying, “The nose knows!”

Jojoba has a very neutral fragrance. But it’s also wonderful to add a couple of drops of essential oil to the massage oil if desired.

Citrus notes are usually men’s favorite, whereas ladies often choose the flowery, smoother scents– rose, amber or geranium.

Ashley Dwyer

Ashley Dwyer

Owner, Fire & Ice Therapeutic Massage

Soothing Touch Herbal Lavender

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$12.28 ($1.54 / Fl Oz)
Buy on Amazon
03/06/2024 09:05 pm GMT

It is water-based instead of oil-based so it doesn’t stain your sheets or leave a heavy residue. It also doesn’t leave a strong smell. I am allergic to bio tone and it eats the skin off my hands.

I am also a fan of Simply Earths fractionated coconut oil. I like to add just a couple drops of my favorite essential oil and make my massage experience more personable to my client.

Sarah Monreal

Sarah Monreal

Owner, Wayfare Wellness

Lavender Oil

I use essential oils with many of my massage therapy clients, and one of my favorites is Lavender essential oil. It’s one of the most popular essential oils out there, and with good reason!

Not only does it fill the room with a sweetly crisp aroma to create a more soothing atmosphere, but it also helps relieve muscle tension and promotes relaxation within the body. Which means, it amplifies the pain relief and relaxing aspects of massage therapy, so our clients leave feeling more satisfied, relaxed, and happy.

There are also numerous claims that lavender oil can act as an anti-depressant, anti-septic, and anti-inflammatory. It has also been reported that lavender can improve sleep, boost stamina, and increase energy levels as well. It feels like it’s a one-in-everything essential oil!

K.D. Gates

K.D. Gates

Holistic Skincare Expert | Licensed Esthetician | Founder & CEO, Celsaderm Skincare

If you’re seeking; affordability, a sensual yet viable slip, deep penetration, and a boost of hydration; then grapeseed, sweet almond, and sunflower seed oils are your superstars of choice!

Being non-fragrant emollients, these natural plant oils are perfect for all skin types and light enough to glide over the skin without leaving a greasy residue.

Equally, these multi-talented besties offer more than stress relief; they feed the skin with potent antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Two nutrients have proven to nourish neglected areas, heal unseen damage, soften surface texture, and eradicate dry skin.

Adina Mahalli


Certified Mental Health Consultant, Enlightened Reality | Relationship Expert, Maple Holistics

Muscle Relief Massage Oil

$9.99 ($1.25 / Fl Oz)
Buy on Amazon
03/06/2024 07:40 pm GMT
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If you’re looking for a natural way to relieve muscle pain Maple Holistics has formulated a plant-powered, therapeutic-grade massage oil that’s cruelty-free to heal aches and pains.

The healing aromatherapeutic qualities of lavender, rosemary, and lemon essential oils work in synergy to relax and reinvigorate both body and mind. All of these oils are touted for their anti-inflammatory properties to soothe and alleviate your aches.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of using massage oil?

Using massage oil during a massage can greatly enhance the experience for both the person receiving the massage and the person giving it. Some benefits of using massage oil include:

Reduced friction: Massage oil helps reduce friction between the therapist’s hands and the client’s skin, allowing for smooth, gliding strokes.

Enhanced relaxation: The aroma of essential oils in the massage oil can create a calming atmosphere, promoting relaxation and stress relief.

Improved skin health: Massage oils often contain ingredients that nourish and moisturize the skin, leaving it feeling soft and supple.

Increased circulation: The act of massaging with oil can stimulate blood flow, improving circulation and overall well-being.

Pain relief: Some massage oils contain analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to alleviate muscle and joint pain.

How do you choose the right massage oil for you?

Selecting the right massage oil for you depends on your individual preferences and needs. Consider the following factors when choosing a massage oil:

Skin type: Select an oil that is suitable for your skin type. For example, people with sensitive skin may benefit from hypoallergenic or fragrance-free oils.

Allergies: Be aware of any allergies you may have to specific ingredients, and avoid oils containing those allergens.

Purpose: Consider the purpose of the massage. For relaxation, choose oils with calming scents like lavender or chamomile. For pain relief, opt for oils containing analgesic properties, such as eucalyptus or peppermint.

Consistency: The consistency of the oil should be appropriate for the type of massage. Thicker oils work well for deep tissue massages, while lighter oils are ideal for Swedish or relaxation massages.

Budget: Massage oils come at various price points. Choose an oil that suits your budget without compromising on quality.

Can massage oil be used with any type of massage?

Massage oil can be used with most types of massage, including Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone, and aromatherapy. 

However, some types of massage, such as shiatsu or Thai massage, traditionally do not use oil, as they focus on manipulating muscles and joints through clothes. 

When using massage oil, ensure that it is suitable for the specific massage technique and the client’s preferences.

Can massage oil stain clothing or bed sheets?

Yes, massage oil can stain clothing and bed sheets. To minimize the risk of staining:

• Choose a water-soluble or easily washable oil.
• Use a massage table or place a protective sheet or towel beneath the person receiving the massage.
• Encourage clients to wear loose-fitting, dark-colored clothing that can be easily cleaned.

How should massage oil be stored?

Proper storage of massage oil can help maintain its quality and extend its shelf life. Follow these tips for storing massage oil:

• Store in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
• Use airtight containers made of dark glass or plastic to prevent oxidation.
• Keep containers tightly sealed to avoid contamination and evaporation.
• Label containers with the date of purchase and expiration date (if available) for easy reference.

Are there any potential side effects of using massage oil?

While massage oil is generally safe to use, some individuals may experience side effects, such as:

Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to certain ingredients in massage oil. Symptoms may include redness, itching, or rash. Always patch-test a new oil on a small skin area before using it for a full massage.

Sensitivity: People with sensitive skin may experience irritation from fragrances or other ingredients. Choose hypoallergenic or fragrance-free oils if you have sensitive skin.

Staining: As mentioned earlier, massage oil can stain clothing and linens. Take precautions to minimize the risk of staining and treat stains promptly.

Contraindications: Certain essential oils used in massage oil blends may not be suitable for pregnant women, people with specific health conditions, or those taking certain medications. Consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns about using a particular oil.

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