Massage involves working on muscles, other soft tissue and trigger points for pain. Massage oil lubricates the skin, making massage comfortable. Properties that make it easy to spread and remove, and its oiliness levels, are important to keep in mind. Essential oils can be used on their own or added to carriers to turn the massage into aromatherapy.
Five Organic Massage Oil Options
Checking the ingredient list is prudent as not all carrier oils are equal. Cold pressed extra virgin oil is the purest and the best, while sunflower oil, which is heat processed, keeps good only for a year. Most of the carriers possess nourishing and moisturizing properties, such as those derived from grapeseed, almond, olive, sunflower or safflower, which is suitable for dry skin or to slow signs of aging like wrinkles. In addition, some of the common carriers have additional benefits; for example jojoba treats dermal problems such as rosacea, acne, psoriasis and sunburn, while grapeseed lessens the prominence of scars.
Weleda Arnica Massage Oil has been sold for 93 years. Weleda sources its ingredients from bio-dynamic farms or the wild, and is certified by Demeter (bio-dynamic and organic certifier), and NaTrue (a "not-for-profit organization of natural and organic cosmetic manufacturers"), and the massage oil (and many other products) are certified Kosher. The company is a signatory of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Pact.
Weleda products have an impressive and long list of awards from Elle, Green Parent, Healthy Living, Pure Beauty, Mother and Baby, Good Housekeeping, and Natural Pharmacy in the last five years.
Arnica Massage oil gets a mention as one the top ten massage oils in 2014 by the Independent. The massage oil:
- Is made of a blend of olive and sunflower oils, with extracts of Arnica and a fragrance of rosemary and lavender
- Is good for aching and tired muscles
- Has organic carrier oils while the essential oils are natural
- Gives the best results when applied in small amounts to damp skin
- Costs under $30 for 3.4-ounce (100ml) when ordered from Amazon
2. Neal's Yard Remedies
Neal's Yard is based in United Kingdom with retail outlets in the U.S. Their products are certified by Soil Association Organic, the leading certifying agency in the UK recognized worldwide, and FairWild and Fair Trade. It is also certified by Cruelty Free International, PETA, and the Vegetarian Society.
The Geranium and Orange Massage oil is:
- Made of almond, wheat-germ and sunflower oils, and smells of geranium and orange
- Nourishing and softens the skin, and is recommended for healing skin and creates a soothing and uplifting sense of wellbeing
- 100% organic
- Light and non-greasy
- Priced less than $17 for a 3.4-ounce bottle; check shipping fees to the U.S. before ordering
Badger brand is certified by Cruelty Free International and the Gluten Free Certification Organization. Badger products have positive reviews in many magazines including Vogue, Organic Spa, Lifestyle, Natural Health, and Mother Earth Living. The company itself was included in the list of honorees for the 2015 B Corp Best for the World - Environment (listed as W.S. Badger Co., Inc.).
- Is made of extra virgin olive and jojoba oils, with aroma from extracts of lavender, bergamot, calendula, rosemary and other herbs
- Softens the skin and relaxes the mind, providing clarity and focus
- Is 100% organic and certified by the USDA
- Can be used by massage professionals, at home before bedtime, or after a shower
- Costs around $16 for a 4-ounce bottle
Éminence is a Hungarian firm more than 50 years old, that uses ingredients certified as organic and sustainable by USDA, Demeter, Organic Trade Association, and Leaping Bunny. In 2016 alone, Éminence has received good reviews in Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan, and Organic Spa. It won the Professional's Choice Favorite Skincare Line award from American Spa for the seventh consecutive year in 2015.
The Apricot Body Oil itself has won awards and accolades. It was named one of LNE's Best products for 2009 from Les Nouvelles Esthétiques & Spa Magazine and was also mentioned in Beauty Heaven. Apricot Body Oil:
- Is made of apricot, grapeseed, jojoba, seabuckthorn, and pomegranate seed oils and a Biocomplex, which is an anti-oxidant booster
- Moisturizes and revitalizes the skin improving its tone and texture, making it ideal for dry to normal skin; in addition, it is cooling and soothing
- Has 100% organic ingredients
- Is excellent for use at home or by professionals; the needed amount of oil is taken and warmed by the hands before application
- Costs around $20 for a 8.2-ounce (250ml) bottle when ordered from Amazon
5. Sacred Earth Botanicals
Sacred Earth Botanicals massage oil is suitable for people who are allergic or sensitive to perfume, and are looking for fragrance-free products. On the other hand, this can be used by massage professionals to create their own signature range of aromatherapy products or customize massage oils for their clients by adding essential oils.
- A blend of olive, safflower, sunflower, and jojoba oils, and the product has no other essential oils or fragrance
- Rich in Vitamin E and essential acids that nourish the skin and keep it hydrated
- 100% organic, certified by USDA and Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO)
- Silky smooth and non-greasy, with a little going a long way
- Offered in 2-ounce, 8-ounce, half a gallon, 1 gallon and 5 gallon containers; prices range from $5 to $315
The 8-ounce bottle received overwhelmingly positive reviews from individual customers on Amazon, while the one gallon flask received similarly positive reviews from professionals. Individuals liked it as it is odorless due to health concerns, while professionals preferred this brand because it was non-greasy, light and consistent in quality and could be used for clients allergic to perfume or coconut oil.
The Department of Health and Human Services (NCCIH) cautions people using anticoagulants against having massage, and recommends that pregnant women consult medical practitioners before having one. In addition, massaging wounds, tumors or fine skin should be avoided.
Users need to research various benefits and effects of different combinations of oils and choose the product that best serves them. If the massage and oils are used for therapeutic purposes, it is advisable to use it as a supplement and address the root cause of problems with medical help.