Ever wondered why massage therapists use certain oils? Yes one of the reasons why oils are used is to reduce friction, but there are a plethora of health benefits of different massage oils.
If you want to find out more? Read on!
First important point, before I get into the benefits of the oils, is that the skin is the LARGEST organ! Crazy, I know, hence why it is so important to take care of your skin.
The skin is made up of 3 distinct layers (from the bottom up):
- Subcutaneous (Fat) Layer: the deepest layer of the skin, contains fatty tissue as well as arteries and veins, it acts as an insulating layer and stores energy.
- Dermis: The thickest layer of the skin, contains nerve endings, sweat glands, sebaceous glands and hair follicles.
- Epidermis: the top or surface layer of the skin, is pretty much waterproof, acts as a barrier to stop foreign substances entering the body and produces melanin, giving colour to skin, hair and eyes.
In order for the skin to remain healthy and function as it should, there needs to be decent levels of moisture and healthy fats.
This is where massage and especially the oils come in! There are many different oils, all plant based that are literally elixirs for the skin! I will look at 3 oils that I use with my clients.
3 Brilliant massage oils:
- Apricot Kernel
- Hemp Seed
- Grapeseed Oil
First off, Apricot Kernel oil. This is a plant based oil which is, as you may have guessed, taken from the seed (Kernel) of the Apricot tree fruit. The scientific name: Prunus armeniaca. There are many different benefits to this oil, that you will notice during and after your massage session.
I learnt this myself during my massage course and subsequent qualification. I use this oil on clients regularly and have had plenty of good feedback from them regarding how wonderful their skin feels the day after treatment.
After a thorough analysis of Apricot Kernel oil, in the International Food Research Journal, it was found that the fatty acid content is made up of: Myristic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Linoleic Acid and Oleic Acid (1). The same study found that the mineral content of Apricot Kernel is made up of: Phosphorous, Zinc, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, Iron and Copper. All of these vitamins and minerals nourish the skin as well as the body in general.
Moisturising the skin:
There is nothing like moisturised, glowing skin is there? Well Apricot Kernel oil helps you achieve exactly that, remember the layers of the skin mentioned earlier? Apricot Kernel sinks into the Epidermis, moisturising the deeper dermis layer which contains the hair follicles. Which leads me on to the next benefit.
When Apricot Kernel oil is used by myself or any massage therapist, particularly on the scalp for example, the skin and hair follicles will be nourished with many vitamins, minerals and fatty acids listed above.
The fatty acids in particular are what makes this oil real Elixir for the skin and by extension, the hair as well, leaving you with shiny and nourished hair. Furthermore, apricot Kernel oil reduces dandruff, isn’t that fantastic?
Hemp Seed Oil:
Second oil to discuss, cold pressed Hemp Seed oil, from the cannabis sativa plant (yes, I know what you’re thinking, “Cannabis?” But stick with me here). This is a fascinating oil which is, firstly, nothing to do with CBD as that is extracted from the flowers & leaves of the plant.
The most important nutrients in cold pressed hemp seed oil are its fatty acids, specifically the polyunsaturated fats: Omega-3 and Omega-6. These provide a high level of moisturisation to your skin, similar to Apricot Kernel Oil, Hemp Seed oil contains linoleic and oleic acids, which are VITAL as our body doesn’t naturally produce these nourishing acids.
Due to how refined cold pressed hemp seed oil is, it moisturises your pores without clogging them up. So not only will you be receiving a relaxing massage, but your skin will be deeply hydrated in the process. Imagine how good THAT will feel?
A Review published in 2020 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, compared the effectiveness of Omega-3 and Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on the skin. During this review, it was found that the skin layer Epidermis (refer to image at the top!) can synthesise Fatty Acids, but PUFAs have to be either applied topically or acquired by ingestion of dietary supplements.
Using this oil in my sessions has yielded many benefits and the skin of my clients is glowing during and after the session when this oil is used.
Another Elixir for the skin!
The final oil that is an elixir for the skin is Grapeseed Oil. Research is still ongoing into the benefits of this particular oil, will outline what I have found.
The name says it all, as grape seeds are crushed, they release this oil as a by-product. Similar to the other 2 oils discussed, Grapeseed is rich in fatty acids and vitamins. However, what is different about this particular oil is that the main vitamin is Vitamin E, which is very good news for your skin!
A study published in the Nutrition and Metabolic Insights Journal in 2016 reviewed the composition of this oil and found, amongst other things that, due to the high Vitamin E and linoleic acid content, the skin barrier function is promoted (3).
Therefore less toxins get in, the sun doesn’t do as much damage and your skin is more plump to the touch and more radiant.
Isn’t this fantastic news for your skin after a massage session?
As I mentioned, the research for this oil is still ongoing. Always more to learn!
Thank you ever so much for reading this, just a few oils that are real elixirs for your skin. All the more reason to book your massage session today! Stay well and take care.