When you want to relax, relieve pain or just escape from the everyday stress of the world, there's nothing better than a relaxing, pain-relieving, luxurious body massage.
Using 'touch' to heal has been a practice used by ancient civilizations for centuries.
As early as 5000 years ago, Eastern and Western cultures spanning from India, Egypt, China and Japan to Greece and Rome, discovered that massage could help to alleviate pain, accelerate injury healing, prevent ailments, and promote relaxation.
Today massage therapy finds its roots in ancient techniques, such as traditional Ayurvedic massage that originated in India or Swedish massage that was introduced in the United States in 1858, by Per Henrik Ling, a Swede, who created the method based on his knowledge of martial arts, gymnastics and ancient techniques from China, Rome, Egypt and Greece.
Massage continues to be a popular treatment of choice today for deep relaxation, correcting health issues, and aiding as a complementary therapy for other treatments.
In fact, there are many types of massage styles practiced today. Lomi lomi massage with its long, kneading strokes, Thai massage that combines gentle stretches with Yoga postures, Shiatsu massage that works with pressure points, deep tissue for muscle stiffness and pain, and many more!
In most spas today, therapists often use essential oils as an adjunct therapy to the actual massage, resulting in what is known as an aromatherapy massage. Essential oils are concentrated plant molecules that are known to have scientific physical, mental and emotional effects and can truly elevate any massage experience.
In this guide we'll look at how using essential oils for massage can be an excellent way to combine both the benefits of massage and the healing properties of essential oils to optimize your overall health and well-being.
We'll also share 28 massage oil recipes so you can relax, relieve stress, alleviate pain and create your very own deluxe spa experience right from the comfort of your own home!
What is Essential Oil Massage?
Essential Oil Massage Benefits
Essential Oils and Carrier Oils for Massage
How to Use Essential Oils for Massage
Essential Oil Massage for Relaxation
Essential Oil Massage for Pain
Essential Oil Massage for Romance
Essential Oil Massage for Stress
Essential Oil Massage for Scalp
Essential Oil Massage for Feet
Essential Oil Massage for Skin
Essential Oil Massage for Colds
Essential Oil Massage for Weight Loss
Essential Oil Massage for Women
How to Buy Essential Oils
An essential oil massage or aromatherapy massage basically combines 'aroma,' using healing scents and natural fragrance, with 'therapy,' the actual therapeutic massage technique.
In an aromatherapy massage, essential oils are added to the massage oil and applied topically, and/or diffused in the air. During the massage, the potent, healing essential oil molecules pass right through the blood/brain barrier, having profound effects on the mind and body.
A study in Germany's Ruhr University concluded that, "aromatherapy proponents suggest that essential oils may affect a number of biological factors, including heart rate, stress levels, blood pressure, breathing, and immune function."
Directly affecting the brain's limbic system, essential oils can transform how the mind and body respond to emotions, pain, mood, pleasure and more, making them incredibly powerful in complementing the massage therapy to relieve stress, alleviate pain and bring relaxation.
There are incredible benefits in receiving an essential oil massage, and it doesn't necessarily mean you need to head to your local spa. You can benefit from creating and using your own aromatherapy massage oils right from home!
Whether it's using self-massage techniques or getting your partner involved, there's no excuse not to experience the amazing benefits of combining essential oils with massage therapy.
Most people think that aromatherapy massage is simply for relaxation, but that's just the tip of the iceberg!
Here are some lesser known benefits of essential oil massage:
Essential oils are potent and strong! Also being volatile in nature, essential oils evaporate fairly quickly.
When using essential oils for massage you will need to combine them with a carrier oil (a base oil that 'carries' the essential oil). There are many different types of carrier oils such as, coconut oil, argan oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, sweet almond oil, tamanu oil and more.
Creating the right blend of carrier oil to essential oil ensures that the healing benefits of essential oils can be absorbed into the skin safely and easily.
When mixing essential oil blends for massage, mix them slowly, drop by drop. Inhale as you go, until you find the aroma that works perfectly for you.
The type of carrier oil you choose also matters since carrier oils have their own incredible medicinal properties. Containing natural fatty acids and therapeutic compounds, carrier oils complement essential oils wonderfully by providing their own healing benefits during massage therapy.
There are many different techniques for receiving the full benefits of essential oils in massage. Depending on what you are trying to achieve you can use essential oils in one or more ways below:
Full-body massage: This involves mixing and creating a blend of one or more essential oils to carrier oils. For example, a blend with peppermint oil might be created to relieve pain in deep tissue massage, or adding lavender essential oil to a carrier oil can provide immense relaxation.
Head and scalp massage: A scalp massage is excellent for rejuvenating blood circulation in the scalp and relieving tension. The medicinal properties of both carrier oils and essential oils will also help scalp conditions such as dryness, dandruff, itching and more.
Face massage: Rubbing a little carrier oil infused with an essential oil into the palms of your hands and cupping the face will provide an instant, soothing effect. Carrier oils such as organic argan oil and jojoba oil are also amazing for the face and skin!
Foot massage: A foot massage or rub is a great way to unwind and relax. Since feet have larger pores they absorb essential oils fairly quickly and it gets into the bloodstream a lot faster.
Ear massage: Did you know there are over 200 acupuncture points on the ear? Stimulating these points can activate the respective organs restoring balance in the body. With a little essential oil blend, using both the thumb and index finger gently massage the earlobe using a small circular action.
Now let's take a look at the many different ways to use essential oils for massage and explore 28 massage oil recipe blends!
There's probably at least one aroma that you can relate to that truly transports you to another world and puts you at ease. Although everyone has their own personal favorites, there are some popular scents that literally exude relaxation!
In an experiment with 40 healthy participants, a lavender and bergamot essential oil blend caused "significant decreases of pulse rate, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure," with participants rating "themselves as 'more calm' and 'more relaxed' than subjects in the control group."
When it comes to relaxation, lavender does seem to be the number one essential oil of choice. But there are certainly others. Try the soothing essential oil blends below for a truly relaxing home massage experience.
Relaxation massage oil recipe blends:
Note: For the blends below add essential oils drop by drop to a 1 oz glass bottle filled with a carrier oil such as jojoba oil, sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil. Shake gently and use for massage. Store in a cool, dark place. Alternatively, you can also omit the carrier oil and just add the essential oils to your diffuser for an aromatherapy massage.
For all recipes using lavender essential oil, buy therapeutic-grade lavender oil only, not lavender fragrance or scent, which comes nowhere close to the healing benefits of 100% pure lavender oil.
1. Intense relaxation blend
Use this blend for a deeply relaxing full-body massage
2. Sweet dreams blend
This blend is excellent for promoting relaxation and restful sleep
3. Balancing and grounding blend
Calming massage blend to balance moods and emotions
There is quite a bit of evidence to prove that essential oils get absorbed quickly into the bloodstream after topical application with visible effects.
Blending essential oils with carrier oils during massage is a great way to alleviate joint and arthritic pain and relax sore, cramped and strained muscles. The healing effects of the oils can continue long after the massage as well.
In a spa setting, you'll see offerings for a sports or deep tissue massage where a trained massage therapist will use deep tissue massage techniques to release trigger points and relax tired, overworked muscles, providing pain relief. You may not have the luxury for going for regular massages but you can certainly mix up some amazing massage blends at home to address joint and muscular pain, for self-massage or partner assisted massage.
For example, peppermint essential oil, with its high concentration of menthol, is a natural analgesic (pain-reliever), anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. It can provide lasting pain-relief for sore muscles and can calm muscle spasms, and numb aching pain. No wonder peppermint oil is a key ingredient in many over the counter muscle rubs and pain-relieving gels!
Pain-relief massage oil recipe blends:
4. Sore muscle relief blend
Therapeutic-grade peppermint oil for instant, cooling relief
Blend in a small glass bottle and massage into aching muscles to numb pain and provide a soothing, cooling effect.
5. Aching joint pain relief blend
Reduce inflammation and soothe painful joints
Massage into painful joints at least twice daily.
6. Invigorating inflammation relief blend
Strong, invigorating pain-relief for joint pain and sore muscles
Add essential oils to carrier oil in a dark, glass bottle and mix well. Massage well into joints and sore muscles to relieve pain and inflammation. Store in a cool, dark place.
7. General aches and pains relief blend
Full-body massage blend to relax sore muscles and unwind
Mix essential oils with carrier oils and massage well into aching muscles, paying special attention to the back, legs, hands, shoulders and feet for a complete full-body massage experience.
Nothing works better than an intimate massage to really help to set the mood. Light some candles. Initiate pillow talk. Get out your favorite essential oil blend!
Some essential oils are known to be natural aphrodisiacs, and can calm, relax and gently stimulate. Inspire romance in the bedroom by experimenting with the sensually aromatic massage blends below:
8. Beautifully sensual blend
Balance emotions and stimulate the senses
Mix essential oils with carrier oils and enjoy your sensually aromatic, full-body relaxing massage experience!
9. In the woods romantic blend
Woody, sensual and arousing aromas
Mix essential oils with carrier oil and soak in this earthy warming aroma to arouse the senses!
10. Luxurious floral blend
Build intimacy with deeply floral aphrodisiac oils
This blend of popular aphrodisiac essential oils sets the perfect tone for a romantic evening!
Essential oils are excellent for reducing stress, improving focus and mental clarity, calming irritability and improving insomnia. When combined with massage, either through being inhaled via aromatherapy or applied topically, essential oils can be extremely effective when used in massage to relieve stress and anxiety.
Depending on what you are trying to achieve, for example, increased mental clarity or a goodnight's sleep, the massage blends below will help you achieve your stress-relieving goals.
11. Uplifting stress relieving blend
Warm and fruity aromas for bringing mental clarity
Try this uplifting massage blend to invigorate, cheer and ease stress and tension.
12. Mind and body relaxing blend
Calm thoughts, promote relaxation and aid sleep
A soothing relaxing massage with this blend will instantly calm, relax and help to unwind. Make sure to rub a few drops on the wrists, behind the ears, on the temples and the soles of the feet before you head to bed.
13. Wake me up with citrus blend
Tart, citrusy notes to kill fatigue and get on with the day
Scalp massage is known to increase blood circulation by stimulating hair follicles, thereby promoting hair growth.
But that's not all. A good head rub can be incredibly beneficial to alleviate scalp conditions such as itchy scalp, dandruff, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.
Scalp massages also help to trigger and release happy hormones such as serotonin, boosting mood and decreasing stress.
Adding a few drops of essential oil to a nourishing carrier oil during massage can do wonders, and take the benefits of a head massage to a whole new level. The properties of the essential oils deeply absorb into the hair follicles accelerating relief from scalp conditions and promoting hair growth and relaxation.
Let's explore some fantastic essential oil blends that are amazing for scalp massage:
14. Stress headache relief blend
Alleviate stress, tension headaches and soothe migraines
Massage your scalp, temples and back of the neck with this blend for cooling relief from a throbbing headache.
15. Itchy scalp relief blend
Massage treatment for scalp psoriasis, dandruff and dry scalp
Massage well into the scalp, rubbing deeply into the roots. Leave overnight for best results.
16. Hair growth blend
Moisturizes, heals scalp conditions and promotes hair growth
Combine and massage into the scalp, rubbing in well, to facilitate absorption deep into the hair follicles. Repeat every alternate day for noticeable results.
Did you know your feet have 72,000 nerve endings? No wonder a good foot rub can be incredibly relaxing. The feet are full of pressure points that are connected to each of the body's internal organs and systems.
You don't have to be a reflexology professional to give someone a foot massage. Pamper your partner or let them help you unwind at the end of a long day with a relaxing foot massage.
Since the feet have large pores and no sebaceous glands, by adding essential oils to carrier oils during foot massage can provide immediate benefit as the oils absorb quickly through the feet and enter the bloodstream.
Foot massages are a great way to nourish the feet, soothe cracked heals, relieve tension and stress, promote better sleep, alleviate headaches and much more!
17. Invigorating foot therapy blend
Deodorizes and stimulates, treats athlete's foot
Make sure to wash and dry feet before massage. Excellent for self-massage for athlete's foot and other fungal conditions.
18. Relaxing foot rub blend
Sensual, nurturing and relaxing to unwind
Show your partner how much you care by using this amazing blend for a romantic foot rub. The favor might just be reciprocated!
19. Cracked heel treatment blend
Deeply nourish, moisturize and soften
Soak feet in warm water for 10 minutes, dry with a towel and massage in this healing blend.
20. Achy feet to happy feet blend
Alleviate pain, reduce swelling and relax
Rub into sore, aching feet at the end of a long day to rejuvenate aching feet.
The skin is the body's largest sensory organ! A massage is a great way to nourish and provide healing goodness to the skin. A full-body massage using nurturing essential oils can be incredibly beneficial to the skin and also help to alleviate skin conditions such as dry skin, eczema, fungal infections, psoriasis and more.
Depending on the carrier oils and essential oil combinations used, regular massage with essential oils can help to soften and rejuvenate the skin, improve circulation, moisturize, promote cell regeneration and provide anti-aging benefits.
Try these blends below to plump up dull skin, control skin inflammation, and get smooth, feel good to the touch soft skin!
21. Relaxing moisturizing blend
Soften dry skin while calming the body and mind
A regular massage with this amazing blend will not only relax the mind and body but will provide dry skin relief in the long winter months.
22. Anti-aging face massage blend
Reduce fine lines and slow down premature aging
Dab the blend onto wrinkle prone areas of the face and gently massage in. Repeat every night.
23. Psoriasis and Eczema healing blend
Get relief from skin conditions and promote healing
Combine ingredients and massage onto the affected areas to relieve redness, itching and irritation.
Being run down with a cold and congestion is usually accompanied by body aches and pains, a chesty cough, fatigue and tiredness.
A full-body massage might not be the best idea when you're under the weather, simply because your body needs rest, not added exertion. Also lying face down (with all that congestion) and a stuffy head, can be incredibly uncomfortable.
However, there are some areas that can gain benefit from massage when you have a cold, especially if you use the right essential oil blends, which can provide much needed relief for cold symptoms.
24. Congestion relief blend
Loosen mucus and relieve chest and nasal congestion
Massage the blend onto the chest and back and under the soles of the feet twice a day (preferably right before bedtime).
25. Cough relief blend
Calm chesty coughs and loosen chest mucus
Massage the blend onto the chest twice daily. Store in a dark glass bottle, in a cool place away from direct sunlight.
Inhaling certain essential oils have been proven to aid in weight loss by helping to reduce cravings and curb binge eating.
A 2005 study concluded that rats that inhaled "the scent of grapefruit oil" for 15 minutes, thrice a week demonstrated reduction in "appetite and body weight."
Another 2013 study documented that when blended with grapefruit oil, lemon oil supports the body to break down fats in a process termed as lipolysis. This creates a "suppression in body weight gain."
Aromatherapy massage can provide a two-fold benefit by combining the inhalation of essential oils with body massage which helps in increasing blood circulation, toning muscles and cellulite reduction.
If you're exercising as part of your weight-loss plan, a good full body massage can help to relax and rejuvenate strained muscles, enhancing your workout routine. A relaxing essential oil massage ever so often can also help reduce stress, which is often linked to impulsive snacking or overeating.
Apart from maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise, you can try this daily massage routine below:
26. Cellulite removal massage
Remove toxin build up from fat cells
Blend and store in a glass jar. Massage in long strong strokes, into the cellulite affected areas to firm and tone the skin for 5 minutes daily.
Suffering from uncomfortable PMS symptoms? An aromatherapy massage can help.
In a recent study, participants suffering from primary dysmenorrhoea (lower abdominal cramping and pain, either before or during menstruation) were divided into three groups. Each group was either asked to perform self-massage with rose oil, almond oil or no oil.
The study documented that, "massage with aromatherapy reduces the severity of primary dysmenorrhoea, in comparison with massage therapy alone."
Another study discovered that, massage therapy could be 'an effective adjunct therapy for treating severe premenstrual symptoms.'
Aromatherapy massage is also potentially beneficial for treating menopausal symptoms. As per a 2012 study, a half-hour "aromatherapy massage was more effective than only massage," in alleviating menopausal symptoms, twice a week over a period of two months.
For relief from PMS pain, try the following blends below:
27. PMS relief blend
Reduce cramps, irritability and pain
Massage the blend in small circular motions on the lower abdomen for a few minutes. Can be repeated 2-3 times a day for effective relief.
28. Hormone balancing blend
Balance hormones and reduce PMS symptoms
Massage the blend in small circular motions on the lower abdomen for a few minutes. Store in a glass bottle, away from direct sunlight. Repeat twice daily.
When buying essential oils make sure the bottle says 100% pure essential oil, and has the proper name of the species mentioned on the label of the bottle.
If you see the word 'fragrance' it almost always means there are other additives.
Ideally it's always best to buy essential oils that are labeled as "Therapeutic grade," meaning they are free of toxins and chemicals and are unfiltered and undiluted.
Also beware of genetically modified ingredients and choose Non GMO essential oils.
Essential oils are natural but powerful. Some people may develop an allergic reaction to any oil so it's always best to try a little by doing a small skin patch test on your arm or leg (never your face or neck) to make sure you don't have an adverse reaction.
If you're pregnant or nursing, or on any kind of medication please check with your doctor before using essential oils.
1. Aromatherapy massage is the practice of using healing essential oils as an adjunct therapy to massage.
2. Be sure to blend in the right amount of carrier oil with your choice of essential oils.
3. A full-body essential oil massage can promote relaxation, relieve stress and provide restful sleep.
4. Essential oil massage is great for aching joints and sore muscle pain relief.
5. Inspire romance in the bedroom with sensuous essential oils!
6. Massaging the scalp with a healing essential oil blend improves circulation, controls dandruff and promotes hair growth.
7. Use essential oil massage for PMS pain relief, stress and cellulite reduction.
8. When buying essential oils make sure they are 100% pure, GMO Free and contain zero toxins and additives.
Back to you!
Which essential oil massage blends do you love? Share below.