All about aromatherapy massage oil
Massage is an ancient therapy, as well as the oldest and most important form of aromatherapy. It is an extension of the instinctive need to touch the part of the body that hurts and rub it, as we do when we report a bruise. The ancients always used oils when practicing massage, which were almost always flavored.
The massage acts on the spine, muscles, skin, blood vessels, nerves, joints and bones. In the aromatic massage, the oils not only penetrate the skin, making the skin softer and more receptive, avoiding its drying out and alleviating skin problems related to aging, but they increase the benefit of the massage itself and thanks to their perfume they exert an action on the psyche. Practicing the massage is pleasant, receiving it is relaxing; it is an excellent system to eliminate the stress and tension to which daily life subjects us. This applies to all ages: for example, the newborn massage oil is very useful for relaxing and pampering them.
How do you prepare massage oils for aromatherapy?
The massage blends have two basic ingredients: essential oil (for how to use read here) and vegetable oil (known in this context as "carrier oil"). The carrier oil acts as a vehicle for the blends of essences, which can then be diluted as desired and applied externally as a common massage oil. The choice of vegetable oil will be determined partly by the price, partly by other considerations. For example, if you want a carrier oil that nourishes the skin, you can use avocado oil or wheat germ oil, which are particularly rich in vitamins; in themselves, however, they are a bit heavy, therefore it is advisable to mix them with a lighter vegetable oil, so the carrier will be nutritious without being heavy. Usually a simple rule of thumb is a drop of essence in 2 grams of vegetable oil. To preserve the aroma for as long as possible, it is necessary to "fix" them. The best fixative ever is sandalwood oil, but patchouli is also very effective.
Vegetable oil: properties
The main cosmetic functions attributed to pure (unrefined!) vegetable oil concern the actions: emollient (improvement of skin softness), nourishing (eudermic and eutrophic effects, which give the epidermis an overall feeling of well-being), restorative (in general vegetable oils are quite similar to skin sebum, so they are extremely effective in replenishing the physiological barriers that are often interrupted, scarce or absent), moisturizing (they reduce the evaporation of water from the epidermis) and protective against substances and microorganisms present in the external environment.
The oils are fundamental ingredients in the preparation of nourishing, firming (to maintain smoothness and elasticity) and anti-wrinkle cosmetics, as well as to prevent stretch marks; in these cases the vegetable oils most used are avocado, borage, wheat germ, hypericum, olive, sweet almonds, rosehip, grape seeds, soybeans, jojoba.
Vegetable oil: what it is, which and how many it is
The vegetable oils used in cosmetics are numerous. Marigold, arnica, carrot and St. John's wort oil are actually called "oily extracts", or "macerated oils" as they are extracts obtained by maceration of plants, leaves or officinal flowers in vegetable oil (we talk about macerated oils here); the proper oils are pure and only obtained with physical systems (squeezing). Usually the most used massage oils are:
- castor oil: for dry, cracked or cracked skin, for hair with permanent, to soften calluses and calluses; prevents the formation of excess scar tissue and is often recommended as a hot application for back pain, menstrual pain, mastitis. To learn more see here;
- rosehip oil: for dry, flaky and cracked, aged skin, psoriasis, eczema, pigmented skin, scars; use after sunburn or trauma, varicose veins. Avoid in case of oily and acne-prone skin, it rancid quickly;
- extra virgin olive oil: for dry and dehydrated skin, inflammatory skin conditions, acneic skin, rheumatic conditions, hair care; soothing for nail and hair care; liniment ingredient for muscle pain. It should be cold pressed and filtered without using solvents. Used with very fragrant essential oils and to produce oleolites;
- jojoba oil: golden yellow, rich, light (it is a liquid wax); for all skin types, especially for inflamed and sensitive skin, acne, dermatitis. Excess sebum (oily skin and hair) dissolves in jojoba. Myristic acid is anti-inflammatory, and so it could be a good base oil for rheumatism and arthritis. It should be cold pressed and filtered without the use of solvents. If you want to know more about jojoba oil read here;
- hazelnut oil: light yellow, slightly astringent and invigorating. For oily, acne or combination skin. Tones the skin helping to maintain elasticity and tone. It helps strengthen the capillaries and can thus help with varicose veins. It encourages cell regeneration and stimulates circulation. It should be cold pressed and filtered without the use of solvents. It is quickly absorbed;
- avocado oil: very dense and heavy, deep green due to the presence of chlorophyll. If the oil is light yellow it is of poor quality. Nourishing and protective for dry and dehydrated skin, eczema, solar keratosis, and to improve elasticity. Extracted by mechanical pressure. Very penetrating. Better if used in mix with other oils, at 10%. Excellent as a base for oleolites. Do not use on sensitive skin;
- sweet almond oil: clear light yellow, light nutty smell. Medium viscosity, the cold-pressing quality is more dense and with a stronger flavor. For all skin types, especially for dry and irritated skin, eczematous as it helps to reduce itching, dryness, pain and inflammation. It should be cold pressed. The refined product is often found on the market. Very lubricant but not very penetrating, which makes it a good massage and protective oil. Use 100%;
- coconut oil: from coconut; it doesn't have to be refined. It does not block the pores of the skin and is therefore an ideal carrier oil for oily or problematic skin. It is an excellent carrier for the summer, does not turn rancid and is sterilized, and is therefore more advisable when dealing with damaged or already infected skin. For dry skin, itching, sensitivity, and is an aid for tanning. From coconut oil another widely used oil can be produced: monoi oil (see here);
- hemp oil: obtained by cold pressing of the seeds of hemp sativa, it is used as a restorative for dry skin and as a massage oil or as an ingredient for soaps;
- sesame oil: oil obtained from the seeds of Sesamum indicum. It has a good heat resistance, so it is used abundantly in Ayurvedic techniques where the oil is usually warm before the massage treatments;
Vegetable oil: other uses
Vegetable oils can be used alone or in a mixture, also with essential oils, for massage and for the skin, but also to produce macerated oils and for the preparation of ointments.
To prepare an ointment just have essential oils, beeswax and vegetable oil available and mix them in the right proportions. The mixture includes one part of wax and four parts of oil. Oil and wax should be heated together on a plate placed on a saucepan containing hot water. When the wax melts, remove the dish from the saucepan. When the mixture begins to solidify all around, add the essences, mix and pour everything into a container that you will dip in cold water to speed up the cooling process. The essence is added at the last minute so that it can evaporate as little as possible before the ointment solidifies. For a soft ointment, use 5 parts of oil, one part of beeswax and one part of vaseline (which currently, for bio lovers, can be replaced with a natural compound based on castor oil and carnauba wax). Store in tightly closed jars.
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- Manuale di cosmetologia: Dalla dermocosmesi funzionale alla cosmeceutica- Di Umberto Borellini;
- Manuale di aromaterapia. Proprietà e uso terapeutico delle essenze aromatiche- Di Robert Tisserand;
- Il grande manuale dell'aromaterapia- di Marco Valussi;
- Trattato di aromaterapia- di P. Shelley