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Video:Tips for Using Massage Oils

with Missy Anderson

Massage oils can intensify the experience and help relax muscles more easily. Watch this About.com video for some tips on using massage oils at home like how to choose, apply, and store massage oils.See Transcript

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Transcript:Tips for Using Massage Oils

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 today to talk to you about using massage oils at home.

Considerations for Home Massages

Massage is a very healthy way to relax your body, and when done correctly can have substantial healing effects. Whether you'll be giving or receiving a massage, consider the following. First and foremost, take the physical health of the recipient into consideration and don't overdo it. Injuries, strains, and other impairments could be exacerbated if massage is used incorrectly or too much pressure is applied to the wrong area. Reading a book on massage therapy or watching online tutorials can aide you in performing certain techniques. I would also encourage you to consult your primary care physician before allowing a friend or family member to massage you, especially if you've experienced any past physical trauma.

Use Oils for the Type of Massage

When using massage oils at home, choose one that's right for the type of massage that you plan to give. If you want to give an aroma therapy massage, apricot oil mixed with a little Jojoba oil will absorb nicely into the skin and is good for relieving asthmatic stress. However, if you want to give a Swedish massage with a little deep tissue work, a thicker oil like sweet almond will work best.

There are dozens to choose from in all price ranges, so take a little time and choose one that's right for your massage needs. Health food stores generally have a fair selection of individual oils and essential oils that can be used for massage, but you can also find them online. If you're looking for massage oils that are blended with two or more types of oil, stores that specialize in skin care products and spa products will most likely have what you're looking for.

Preparing the Massage Oils

Regardless of the oil you choose, be sure to follow the directions on the bottle or container. Essential oils often require dilution with either water or a carrier oil, like Jojoba. You can also mix oils together to experiment with different textures, treatments, or smells depending on the type of massage you're giving.

Use caution: Take allergies into consideration. A person with nut allergies, for example, should not use an oil with nut extracts in it.

Once your oil is prepared and ready for use, you'll want to heat it up so it spreads smoothly and won't be jarring when applied. You can place the oil container in a bowl of hot water for 15 to 20 minutes before the massage, or heat it up in a pan until it's warm – just be sure to test it out before using it.

Applying and Storing Massage Oils

As you begin to massage, keep in mind that you don't want to over-apply your oil. Doing so can make it difficult to gauge pressure, and leads to sloppy form and movement. Start with a little and add more as you go until you find the perfect balance. You really just need enough oil to lightly coat the area being massaged so your strokes are smooth and gliding. Properly storing your massage oil is key to its shelf-life and most should be kept in the refrigerator when not in use.

Many oils will go rancid after awhile and some do so much quicker than others. If you plan to have your massage oil around for awhile, choose one that contains Vitamin E, or add Vitamin E capsules to it to help elongate its use.

Now relax and enjoy your massage. Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com. 

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