Carrier oils that are used in massage therapy are vegetable oils derived from the fatty portion of various plants, often from the nuts, seeds, or kernels. They are the ‘carrier’ for the essential oils also used in massage therapy.
Carrier oils do not have to be infused with essential oils in order to be beneficial during a massage The essential oils merely add an extra healing component to massage therapy. Carrier oils themselves contain many ingredients useful to the body:
• Essential Fatty Acids are in many of them, fatty acids our bodies cannot make themselves that must come from outside sources.
• Antioxidants that are capable of decreasing the damaging effects of the oxidation process that occurs biologically in our bodies.
The quality of a carrier oil is very dependent on how it was processed:
• Cold-pressed oils are pressed from plant without the use of heat (the temperature must be below 120 degrees) or chemicals.
• Heat extracted oils can have the fragile nutrients in the oil damaged by the heat.
Recommended carrier oils
There are several qualities it is important for a carrier oil to possess. It must absorb well into the skin, feel good on the skin, have a decent shelf life, offer therapeutic benefits, and be cost effective. Some very good carrier oils for massage therapy are:
1. Sweet Almond Oil is a wonderful moisturizer with a light nutty fragrance, an oily smoothness, and a semi-fast skin absorption. A great carrier oil for dry skin, it offers protein, minerals, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, and glucosides.
2. Apricot Kernel Oil, although a bit more expensive than Sweet Almond Oil, is similar to it in its applicational properties. Great for delicate or sensitive skin, it has Vitamins A, C, and E, and Non-Essential Fatty Acids in it to aid with reducing inflammation and skin revitalization.