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Use of Oils

Written by massagetherapy  |  04. January 2001

Learning to Rub People The Right Way on Long Island Well now, it's good to know that these articles are being read. I have to admit that I was wondering about it. I haven't had any e-mails or questions about massage therapy until my last article, and I thank all of you that had questions, for writing in. I guess in describing what a massage room looks like, how it smells and what it feels like kind of brought you closer to the reality of it, and that inspired more interest. Good! O.K. Now I'd like to get into the use of massage oils, lotions, and especially.... my favorite.....Essential Oils! I am an Essential Oil Therapist as well as a Massage Therapist, so I will be giving you a lot of information on the use of Essential Oils as time goes on. Massage oils can really be just about anything you want or have handy to use. As a matter of fact, baby powder even will work, in a pinch. The whole point is to use something that will provide a "slip." We prefer to use an oil that is not heavy and greasy. Sweet Almond Oil, and Grape Seed Oil are pretty popular because they are thin, light, and are good for the skin. Mineral oil is not recommendedbecause it sits on the skin and it also dehydrates the skin. It's not good as a moisturizer; it simply creates a barrier between the skin (baby's bottom) and any moisture (baby's wet diaper). Getting back to the "slip" of an oil. "Slip" is how long an oil or cream will provide a smooth slippery gliding motion for you to do the massage strokes before it absorbs into the skin, and you have to use a little more. Some lotions or creams have a lot of water in them, and so they get absorbed into the skin quickly and disappear. These are not good for massage. If you are doing deep tissue work or friction, then you might want to use an oil with less slip. Oils for work of this kind aren't as slippery so that you can get a grip on the skin and or muscles that need to be worked on. It's kind of a more dry oil. Let me add this while I'm thinking of it.....DON'T use so much oil of any kind, that your client looks and feels like they've been slimed. Trust me, it's a disgusting feeling. Most places on Long Island, so far, don't offer shower facilities, so remember that your client has to get dressed and either goes back to work, or drives home. Putting cloths on over a greasy body is Yucky! I prefer creams or lotions to oils for the above-mentioned reason, and because lotions wash out of my cloths and sheets and towels easily. I like to use Biotone products, although there are many other good brands out there. Essential oils, as a rule, don't stain clothing, wash out easily, and put a nice fragrance into the wash water and dryer. Essential oils can be found already mixed in massage oils. Bindi, for example, is an Ayervedic blend, and has a nice, exotic, spicy smell to it. Or, the Essential oils can be purchased in individual bottles and use "neat", straight out of the bottle, or mixed with an oil of your choosing and in the strength you need. I've reached the end of my column, so I'll continue with Essential oils next time. Until then, stay well! Luv & Lite, Deirdre

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