Massage can have both physical and psychological benefits.
It can help with stress, physical discomfort, muscle tension, blood circulation, stress, headaches and more.
Beyond that, a massage can produce feelings of caring, connection, and comfort – whether with yourself (self-massage), or another person.
Facial massages, for example, can increase blood flow to the skin. And generally speaking, massages allow the body’s skin to absorb the nutrients in an oil or cream more easily, while also helping to reduce the build-up of dead skin cells.
Such exfoliation tightens pores and improves the skin’s texture.
Why use body oil for massages?
Oil or lotion is important in many types of massage for reducing friction with your skin. Body oils are lightweight and will not leave you feeling sticky or gooey.
They allow your hands, or the other person’s hands, to glide seamlessly over your body.
Beyond that, body oils can soften the skin. Plus they usually smell lovely, for added relaxation.
It is important to note that body oils are different to essential oils, which are direct and pure extracts from plants and seeds.
A body oil normally consists of a carrier oil, with essential oils added, as well as other enriching substances.
No doubt a partner, professional, friend, or other person can provide you with a massage.
But sometimes, when you are at home and your legs hurt, or you feel like a little self-care and relaxation, and a self-massage is the way to go.
One of the best massages you can give yourself is to the neck and upper chest area. You can do this massage sitting up if you prefer, and it is great for relieving stress.
Start by using all eight finger tips and pressing down on the line of your collar bone, and repeat ten times.
Cup your hands and move them down the back sides of your neck and along your shoulders. Put your fingers in a Vulcan hand salute v-shape, and then your fingers on either sides of your ears, then move them down along the sides of your chin.
Similarly, you can give yourself a really relaxing face massage. These are especially helpful when you are struggling to sleep.
Start out by using a lot of pressure then gradually move to very light strokes. Trace the features of your face. Put the pads of your fingers in a line down the middle of your forehead and move outwards towards your hairline. Do a similar movement under your eyes. Press down around ten times on the pressure point between your eyebrows.
What sorts of massage and body oils are there?
You can use just one body oil, or you can mix and combine, or use different oils and scents as you go along – it is totally up to you.
This oil, beyond the soothing smell, is also moisturising. For best results, apply it sparingly to the skin before going to bed. Wait until your skin is touch dry (i.e. the oil has been absorbed) before moving around.
This body oil can be used anywhere on the body, and includes beneficial and natural ingredients such as almond oil, chamomile flower oil, and jojoba seed oil.
Almond oil is great for skin hydration. It can be used in babies (babies really love a gentle massage). It is highly recommended to consult a qualified aromatherapist or healthcare professional prior to use on babies.
Most of us think of massage as something we pay someone to do for us in a spa or receive in a medical setting.
However there are plenty of good reasons to bring massage into your home.
Soothing for body and mind, massage helps us to relax and unwind after a hard day. It also centres and grounds, reminding us how important it is to treat our body with care and attention.
Massage encourages circulation, bringing vital nutrients and oxygen to different parts of the body and helping to ease muscle strains and areas of tension.
Reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increasing serotonin and dopamine, massage also helps relieve feelings of stress and, according to research, even has a positive effect on the symptoms of depression.
You do not need to pay through the nose to enjoy these benefits. A simple self-massage at home can be enough to help you feel pampered.
Massages are many more times more pleasant with the soft glide of a good quality massage oil.
While a simple olive or castor oil will do the trick, investing in a quality, natural massage oil allows you to enjoy a favourite aroma and target concerns.
The best body massage oil will not dry out or become uncomfortable on the skin, making a massage more pleasant, without the drag and catch of dry hands.
Most aromatherapy or ayurvedic body massage oil products combine essential oils with a carrier oil, allowing you to experience balancing, soothing aromas without the risk of exposing skin to the damage essential oils can cause when undiluted.
If you are feeling the stress of the day in your muscles choose an arnica massage oil.
Known for its skin soothing capabilities, arnica oil is a gently warming massage oil that deeply penetrates for a muscle relaxing effect.
For those concerned about the appearance of their skin, an oil that targets stretch marks is a great choice.
Particularly popular with pregnant women, oils such as Weleda stretch mark oil can help to minimise the appearance of burgeoning tiger stripes when used regularly.
Massage is particularly beneficial during pregnancy but it is extremely important to check that oils are suitable for use during your stage of pregnancy.
Where you can, be sure to use an organic massage oil so you know exactly what you are putting onto your skin.
Free from GM and unnatural pesticides and fungicides, a good organic oil feeds your skin with natural goodness.
Many people choose to create their own oils by simply adding a drop or two of a favourite essential oil to a carrier such as coconut, almond oil or avocado oil.
Jojoba massage oil is especially popular as a carrier because it is long lasting and great for your skin.
Creating your own massage oil allows you to choose an aroma that you love or create a blend that targets specific concerns – perhaps you will choose lavender for a soothing, sleep aiding massage before bed, peppermint to ease muscle tension or clary sage to clear away the stresses of work.