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woman being massaged with essential oil bottle next to her

Best Essential Oils for Massage

Essential oils each have a unique aroma and therapeutic properties that can influence your mood and nourish the skin when added to massage blends. When paired with massage techniques, essential oils enhance the calming and uplifting effects of massage. 

In this article, we will be discussing the benefits of essential oils in massage and how to choose the right carrier oil for dilution, as well as top essential oils, and different massage recipes that you can try out. 

History of Essential Oils and Massage

essential oil for massage in bottle with massage stones

Essential oils have been used by people for at least 6,000 years, with evidence of their use in ancient Egypt and Rome. These natural oils are obtained from various parts of plants, including flowers, stems, and leaves, and are obtained through methods like steam distillation and cold-pressing. The oils, in addition to their unique aromas, have been found to have therapeutic benefits like anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial activity.

While essential oils have been traditionally used to treat ailments like depression, skin infections, and other disorders, they have also been used for massage, baths, and in cosmetic formulations. In fact, aromatherapy, which involves the topical application or inhalation of aromatic plant extracts, has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its therapeutic effects.

Massage is a great way to use essential oils. It’s an ancient technique that has been used by people for healing and relaxation for many years. In traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, massage has been used as a part of a holistic approach to health and wellness. The massage techniques used in these practices are based on the principles of energy flow in the body. 

A massage technique used in traditional Chinese medicine is called Tui- na. This technique involves the use of rhythmic pressing, stretching, and kneading to stimulate the flow of energy in the body. Tui Na massage is often used to relieve muscle aches and relax the body and mind. 

In traditional Indian medicine, massage is often used as a part of Ayurvedic healing. Ayurvedic massage techniques are based on balancing out the body's energy centers. The massage techniques used in Ayurvedic healing involve the use of warm oils and rhythmic strokes to promote relaxation and relieve tension. Swedish massage is another popular massage technique used in the Western world. This technique involves the use of flowing strokes and circular motions to relax. 

Essential oils can be easily incorporated into massage oils or lotions, and the mixture can be applied topically to the skin. The massage therapist can then use their hands to rub the muscles and alleviate aches. 

Using essential oils during massage can improve the experience, as the aroma of the oils may help to calm the mind and reduce stress. In addition, the oils can be selected based on their therapeutic properties to help address specific concerns, like muscle pain, inflammation, or anxiety. For example, chamomile oil is well-known for its soothing properties, while peppermint oil has a cooling effect that may help to relieve muscle soreness.

Choosing the Right Carrier Oil

When it comes to creating a perfect massage blend, choosing the right carrier oil is crucial. Carrier oils are fatty-acid-rich oils that are used to dilute essential oils so they can be safely used on the skin. Essential oils are highly concentrated plant-derived products that contain potent compounds that can cause skin irritation if used directly on the skin. Therefore, choose a suitable carrier oil or cosmetic base to dilute them.

Carrier oils dilute essential oils and also provide additional benefits to the skin. Carrier oils are easy to apply and gentle on the skin, making them the best base for massage. Below is a guide to choosing the correct carrier oil that is best for your skin type and preferences.

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is a common carrier oil for massage and is great for all skin types. It is a light and non-greasy natural oil that is quickly absorbed into the skin. Jojoba oil is rich in tocopherols (vitamin E) and other minerals that nourish the skin. It is also an excellent moisturizer that helps keep the skin hydrated.

Sweet Almond Oil

Sweet almond oil is another popular carrier oil for massage. This oil is abundant in fatty acids that help nourish the skin. It is good for people with dry or sensitive skin as it is highly moisturizing and gentle on the skin.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a slightly heavier oil that is ideal for deep tissue massage. Its high fatty acid content moisturizes the skin. However, it is not recommended for people with oily or blemish-prone skin as it may clog pores.

Grapeseed Oil

Grapeseed oil is great for those with sensitive skin, as it may have anti-inflammatory properties to soothe redness and minor irritation. The texture of the oil spreads easily for optimal use and its moisturizing properties nourish the skin.

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is a thick oil that is best for deep tissue massage. This oil is perfect for people with dry or mature skin as it is incredibly moisturizing and high in fatty acids.

Apart from the popular carrier oils mentioned above, there are several other carrier oils that are great for massage. Aloe vera oil is a soothing carrier oil that is ideal for sensitive skin. It has anti-inflammatory effects that could help calm the skin. Marula oil has a unique floral scent and is rich in antioxidants that help repair the skin barrier. Rosehip oil has a calming and earthy aroma and is rich in vitamins that may help reduce the appearance of fine lines. 

Choosing the right carrier oil is a personal choice and depends on factors such as skin type, personal preference, and aroma. It is important to experiment with different oils to see which works best for you.

Top Essential Oils for Massage

Essential oils are the perfect way to improve the therapeutic benefits of a massage. While there are many essential oils that can be used for massage, some of the top choices include calming oils, which can help to soothe the mind and body. On the other hand, energizing oils can help to invigorate the senses and provide an uplifting effect. Choosing the right essential oil for a massage can help to create a personalized blend that leaves you feeling refreshed.

Lavender Essential Oil

The lavender species is part of the Lamiaceae family of plants with a distinct purple color. It is cultivated worldwide, especially in India. For centuries, it has been used for its medicinal properties to treat a range of ailments, including skin infections and stress-relief. 

Lavender Essential Oil has a beautiful floral aroma and is extracted from the lavender flowers using steam distillation. This extraction method involves heating the flowers with water to produce the oil that is collected during the condensation phase of the process. Lavender Essential Oil has multiple therapeutic properties, including anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic activity, both of which are great for massage blends. 

The oil's anti-inflammatory properties are due to its phytochemical composition, making it an effective choice for massage blends. When used in massage, this oil may help to soothe sore muscles and possibly reduce skin redness.

Lavender Essential Oil also has anxiolytic activity, which means that it has the ability to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Its anxiolytic effects are due to its composition of linalool. This makes it an excellent choice for use in massage blends designed to alleviate stress. When used in massage, this oil may help calm the mind and promote a sense of peace.

Cinnamon Essential Oil

The cinnamon plant is grown worldwide and the bark of the plant is used as a flavoring agent and spice in numerous culinary dishes. Extracted from the bark, Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil is a warm-scented natural oil that is ideal for calming massage blends due to its comforting aroma. Its spicy fragrance is primarily due to its composition of cinnamaldehyde. The essential oil exhibits multiple therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity

Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil can suppress the production of inflammatory cytokines on the skin, which is an ideal property for massage blends. Cytokines are proteins produced by cells that help regulate the immune system and inflammatory response. The anti-inflammatory activity of Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil may help alleviate muscle aches and redness.

Moreover, Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil also exhibits powerful antioxidant properties, protecting the skin against oxidative damage. The antioxidant effects of the essential oil is due to the presence of procyanidin compounds. Procyanidin compounds are known for their ability to scavenge or collect free radicals molecules, which are reactive substances that can damage skin cells and tissues.

Tangerine Essential Oil

There are approximately 17 species of citrus plants that are grown worldwide primarily in tropical regions. Tangerine Essential Oil is collected from the rind of the tangerine fruit grown from the Citrus reticulata plant native to China and Southeast Asia. The essential oil is obtained through cold-pressing, which is an extraction method that does not use heat to extract the oil, instead it compresses the rind to squeeze out the essential oil. This method retains the nutritional composition of the natural product.

Tangerine Essential Oil is known for its various biological properties, including possible anti-aging benefits. When applied to the skin, the oil may have anti-collagenase activity, which means that it may help protect the skin's collagen from breaking down. Collagen is a protein that contributes to the structural support and elasticity of the skin, and its breakdown is one of the causes of aging. Therefore, the anti-collagenase activity of Tangerine Essential Oil could potentially help prevent or reduce the signs of skin aging during massage. 

Tangerine Essential Oil is also an excellent oil for massage. Its citrus and uplifting scent may uplift the mood and improve mental clarity during massage sessions. Additionally, its nutritional composition and easy absorption into the skin make it an ideal choice for massage oils. 

Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense Essential Oil is extracted from the fragrant resin of the Boswellia serrata tree. The oil has a characteristic spicy and woody scent, ideal for massage blends to promote relaxation. The oil was commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat various ailments, including topical pain. One of the potential therapeutic properties of Frankincense Essential Oil is its analgesic effects.

The analgesic effects of Frankincense Essential Oil are likely due to its anti-inflammatory activity, possibly inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory substances such as NF-κB, COX-2, and TNF-α, ultimately relieving aches and pain.

This is great in massage blends because the oil can potentially soothe sore muscles and joints, providing relief from physical discomfort and pain. However, more in-depth research in humans is needed to verify this claim. By incorporating Frankincense Essential Oil into massage blends, it can help to relax the mind and improve overall well-being.

Neroli Essential Oil

Neroli Essential Oil is carefully derived from the flowers of the Citrus aurantium plant via steam distillation. The oil has a sweet, floral fragrance with subtle citrus notes and has been used in traditional medicine for its numerous beneficial properties. 

The oil's composition is primarily made up of linalool, limonene, and linalyl acetate, which are responsible for its many benefits. Research has shown that Neroli oil exhibits anxiolytic and sedative effects and has been found to influence the monoaminergic system in rats when inhaled. It may also have antidepressant effects due to its composition of limonene. 

A study was conducted on 81 postmenopausal women who inhaled Neroli Essential Oil, which resulted in decreased blood pressure and self-reported stress levels. This suggests that the oil may be great for relieving anxiety and stress. The calming properties of Neroli Oil make it a great addition to massage blends. It has a refreshing and uplifting effect on the mind and body, making it a wonderful choice for holistic treatments. The oil may have a positive effect on the central nervous system, helping to soothe and calm the mind.

Recipes for Essential Oil Massage Blends

Below are some simple recipes you can use to create your own personalized massage blends depending on your mood and preferences.

Relaxation Blend


  • 30 mL of Jojoba Oil
  • 5 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
  • 3 drops of Cinnamon Essential Oil


In a clean container, mix the oils together thoroughly. Once you're done, transfer the blend to an amber glass bottle, preferably with a dropper cap for easy application. You can use this blend to massage your body to promote relaxation and calmness.

Energizing Blend


  • 15 mL of Grapeseed Oil
  • 15 mL of Marula Oil
  • 5-10 drops of Tangerine Essential Oil


In a clean mixing bowl, combine the oils together. Transfer the blend to an amber glass container for safe storage. This blend is best used in the morning before starting your day to help energize the mind and promote mental clarity. You can apply a small amount onto your wrists, temples, or behind your ears for an invigorating aromatherapy experience.

Muscle-Relief Blend


  • 30 mL of Coconut Oil
  • 5-10 drops of Frankincense Essential Oil


Mix the oils well in a bowl until the oils are thoroughly combined. Transfer the blend to a glass container for storage. This muscle-relief blend is best used after exercise or before bed for deep relaxation and to soothe tired muscles. You can apply a small amount of this blend onto the affected areas and massage gently for a few minutes. The warming and soothing properties of frankincense may help ease muscle tension.

Skin Soothing Blend


  • 15 mL Rosehip Oil
  • 15 mL of Sweet Almond Oil
  • 5 drops of Neroli Essential Oil


Mix the oils thoroughly in a clean container. Store in a dark glass container to prevent degradation. This blend is best used in the morning and at night for calming facial skin redness. You can apply a small amount of this blend onto your face and massage gently. You can also use this mixture as a makeup remover through gentle massage.

Create Personalized Massage Blends With Essential Oils

woman's back being massaged with essential oils

Adding essential oils to massage blends is a fantastic way to reap the benefits of the therapeutic properties of these plant-derived extracts, as well as the soothing benefits of massage techniques. 

Not only can they influence your mood, but they can also calm or energize your mind, depending on the oil chosen. Also, choosing the right carrier oil will ensure an enjoyable massage experience. If you're looking for high-quality essential oils and carrier oils, consider purchasing from Wholesale Botanics. Many of our carrier oils and essential oils are excellent choices for massage, and we are committed to providing all customers with the best quality oils.

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