13 best massage oils in 2021

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Massage therapy can heal the body and soul and help reduce inflammation, muscle tension and pain. It can also improve blood circulation, posture, mobility, sleep and overall mood. Although regular visits to the spa may not be within your budget, high-quality massage oil can help you get the benefits of massage therapy at home.

The massage oil is designed to relax and rejuvenate the massage process. It also has a moisturizing effect-in addition to reducing the friction between the skin and the masseur’s hands, it can also protect the skin’s barrier and retain moisture. Some oils, such as essential oils, can even calm the senses and eliminate muscle tension and pain.

“Selecting the ideal massage oil is personalized to the masseur and the person receiving the treatment,” said Annie Chiu, MD, a board-certified cosmetic and general dermatologist in Manhattan Beach, California. She recommends looking for a nut-free oil or a fragrance-free oil blend, which can be customized according to personal needs.

Whether you are a massage novice or a massage fan, finding the oil that suits your skin type and needs is the key to experiencing all the benefits of massage. This is the best massage oil on the market.

Final verdict

Cliganic USDA Organic Jojoba Oil (check on Amazon) is a high-quality massage oil that will not make you feel slimy, greasy or smelly. It does not cause acne, does not stain clothes, and is good for all skin types.

For active people, the warm properties of Verda Arnica massage oil (Amazon view) may be a good choice. It helps relieve soreness caused by injury or strenuous exercise, and is infused with arnica and birch, an anti-inflammatory mixture that helps relax tense muscles while promoting healthy, firm skin.

What to look for in massage oil

Type of massage

When considering carrier oils, it is important to choose the one that best suits a given massage technique. Low-friction techniques (such as Swedish massage) require the use of heavier oils, such as olive oil, which are denser and absorb more slowly into the skin. High friction techniques such as deep tissue massage and sports massage are most suitable for the use of lighter oils, such as grape seed oil, which can be absorbed by the skin more quickly, allowing better control of speed and pressure.


When choosing the right oil, the time and place of the massage are important. If you are going for a 30-minute massage, choose a lighter oil because it will not stain your clothes or make your skin feel greasy. If you are enjoying a relaxing spa day, it may be better to use a heavier, ultra-moisturizing oil-because you know you can take a bath later.


Many massage oils produce fragrance from the oil itself or the added essential oils. For some people, essential oils can provide additional benefits such as relaxation, reducing anxiety, relieving pain and improving mood. For those with sensitive skin, Dr. Qiu recommends looking for a fragrance-free carrier oil and adding essential oils for supplementary benefits.

Allergies and skin sensitivities

If the person receiving the massage has any allergies, sensitivities or skin conditions, certain oils should be avoided. In general, Dr. Zhao urged patients to avoid using massage oils containing parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLES) because these ingredients can cause skin dehydration and skin irritation .

In addition, she pointed out that those who are allergic to latex may be sensitive to avocado oil or shea butter, while those who are allergic to nuts should choose something like almond oil. If in doubt, perform a patch test a few days before using the new skin care product.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the best relaxing massage oil?

    Essential oils such as lavender, sandalwood, bergamot, and chamomile are all touted for their calming properties. Lavender in particular has the longest record of relaxation-inducing benefits. A study showed that participants who inhaled lavender oil had decreased blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature—all of which indicated a decrease in autonomic arousal.

    Although the benefits of essential oils are still being researched, they do not cure all problems and may affect everyone differently.

  • Which oil is best for full body massage in winter?

    The cold months can make the skin dry, cracked, or itchy-and it can also damage the skin’s natural barrier. In order to replenish and restore moisture to the skin, you can add moisturizing oil containing vitamin E, antioxidants and fatty acids.

    Dr. Qiu prefers argan oil because it can help the skin retain moisture and enhance its elasticity. She also recommends safflower oil because it is rich in linoleic acid, which prevents dehydration and retains moisture. These oils can also be added to other carrier oils to additionally promote hydration.

  • What is the best massage oil for sore muscles?

    For muscle soothing massage, choose your favorite base oil, and then add ingredients to achieve the effect you want.

    Arnica-derived from flowering plants-is often used to relieve pain, inflammation, and help heal bruises and wounds. Weleda Arnica Massage Oil (check on Amazon) is a good choice (when mixed with a carrier oil or lotion).

    Birch essential oil (also found in Weleda Arnica massage oil) has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, stimulates circulation and helps reduce joint and muscle pain. Brookethorne Naturals Renew Massage Oil (Amazon Landscape) is a blend of mint and citrus to relax overworked muscles.

  • Which oil is best for foot massage?

    In addition to relieving pain, relieving tension and improving blood circulation, foot massage has been proven to be good for physical and mental health. Several studies have shown that subjects reported improvements in blood pressure, pulse, and breathing rate after receiving foot massage.

    Foot massage should use carrier oil and other ingredients tailored to your specific needs. Arnica, CBD, eucalyptus and peppermint oils can reduce inflammation, swelling and pain.

    Some people like warm massage oil because it helps the oil penetrate the skin and further relax muscles and tissues. To do this, either heat the oil safely or use a natural heating formula like Weleda Arnica Massage Oil (check it out on Amazon).

Why trust a very good mind

Emily Stone researches and reviews products for very good health and very good health. As a health writer, Emily focuses on clean, green skin care products. She likes Cliganic USDA Organic Jojoba Oil (Amazon view) because it is very gentle and moisturizing.

Additional reporting by Macy Alcido

Macy Alcido is a freelance journalist based in Louisville, Kentucky. In 2020, she enrolled in the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, where she built a passion for health and wellness reporting, and graduated with honors in 2021.