Homemade Massage Oil

Homemade Massage Oil

Homemade Massage Oil.

Giving a massage, whether to someone else or even giving yourself a self massage, is a very gratifying experience. You can give it dry - without oil, especially when you are on the run. But using a nice homemade massage oil adds a fabulous dimension, aromatherapy being a healer all by itself.

You can purchase massage oil, but you really can make the best massage oil at home.  This insures freshness as well as control over the ingredients you place on your body.

I was told that when you smell a flower of any kind, even a stinky flower, it improves your mood immediately.  Try it a few times and you will be hooked.  

Adding massage oil adds the aromatherapy and can make your massage even more relaxing or invigorating.

Homemade massage oil consists of two parts - Essential Oil and Carrier Oil.

Essential Oil

There are many places to purchase essential oil, but you want to buy high quality essential oils that have not been adulterated.

  • How?   My mentor described it this way: "An essential oil is a fluid that is generally distilled from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, roots or other elements of a plant. This is usually done by steam or water distillation."
  • Feel.   Essential Oils, contrary to the use of the word," oil", are not really oily-feeling at all.
  • Smell.   Essential Oils contain the true essence of the plant that it was taken from, though it does not always smell exactly like the plant does.
  • Healing.   Essential Oils contain hundreds of molecules that work together to kill viruses and bacteria and to support our bodies health.
  • Concentration.   They are highly concentrated and a little goes a long way. It is almost better to use a little less than a little more. They need to be understood, and used with caution and care.
  • Purity.   Long ago when I first started this journey, I didn't realize that there was a difference in Essential Oil and other fragrant oils such as fragrance oils, potpourri oils and perfume oils. These other oils are not pure and some can do damage to the skin. They are usually made from synthetic substances.
  • Cost.   Essential Oils are usually expensive and fake oils are generally not. If cost is an issue, it is best to bite the bullet anyway, and purchase a high quality essential oil. Because of its high concentration a tiny bit goes a long way and one small bottle will last you a long time.
  • Shelf Life.   Most essential oils deteriorate. If stored properly an essential oil will last a year or longer. To be sure, it is best if you use them within 1 year in their pure form. Once you have mixed them with carrier oil you should use them within 3 months, so don't make big batches unless you do a lot of massaging.
  • Storage.   When you purchase essential oils they will come in dark glass bottles, if they are in clear bottles do not buy them. They should be stored in these dark bottles with a tight lid and kept in a cool, dark place such as inside a cabinet that is away from heat and is generally closed. If you have room, it is really best to store them in the bottom drawer of your refrigerator. This will extend their shelf life.

Safety Concerns

When using essential oils to make homemade massage oils, there are several things you should keep in mind.

  • Keep all essential oils away from children.
  • Never take them internally.
  • Always dilute essential oils with carrier oils before using on your skin.
  • If using a new essential oil, use a q-tip and apply a small amount on your skin on the inside of your wrist, cover it with a band-aid and wait for 8 hours. If you have a reaction don't use that particular oil.  Remember that every oil comes from a different plant. If you have a reaction with one oil, try another. They are all different.
  • If you are pregnant or have a medical condition, consult both a qualified aroma therapist and a doctor before using essential oils.
  • For baby homemade massage oil use only chamomile or lavender essential oil and use the proper dilution (more about this coming). Their nervous systems are still developing so use discretely. You can also use straight sweet almond oil, apricot, avocado, or grapeseed oil without essential oil added.
  • Citrus oils, especially bergamot, increase sensitivity to sunlight. When using these essential oils in your homemade massage oil, avoid sun and sunlamps for 6 hours after use.
  • If you get essential oil on you that burns, do not dilute it with water - that will only make it spread. Instead use any type of vegetable oil or carrier oil. This causes the oil to absorb and the burning should go away quickly.
  • Don't use in eyes, nose, mouth, or ears or any other body opening.
  • If you get essential oil in your eye, immediately flush with cold milk or vegetable oil to dilute. If burning persists contact a doctor.
  • Don't use on pets.
  • Remember that the oil will make marks on fine wood furniture so don't sit the bottles carelessly down.

Carrier Oil

Now on to our next type of oil.

Important:  To avoid skin irritation when making homemade massage oil, essential oils must be diluted in carrier oils before being used in massage.

Carrier oils not only dilute the essential oil, but they moisturize, and help keep the skin smooth and supple, and they also contain vitamins, proteins, and minerals that are good for the skin and can even be healing.

  • Olive Oil.  There are many types of oils you can use in your homemade massage oils. Many people have used olive oil with great success - olive oil has a rich, full bodied flavor with a strong aroma. It is very stable in nature and does not go rancid quickly and is very easy to find. You can also blend it with other oils for the vitamins and stable effect. Grapeseed, Sweet Almond, and Olive Oil is a nice blend.
  • Some other oils include:

  • Sweet Almond oil.  This is one of the most common oils used in homemade massage oil as it is great for all skin types. It acts as an emollient and is best known for its ability to soften, soothe, and re-condition the skin. It is very high in fatty acids which is a good thing.
  • Apricot Oil.  Very much like sweet almond oil but as a homemade massage oil it works great with sensitive skin and skin that has prematurely aged.
  • Avocado Oil.  One Herb company explains it this way, "This ultra rich organic oil is a delightful treasure containing high amounts of Vitamin A, B1, B2, D, and E. Also contains amino acids, sterols, pantothenic acid, lecithin, and other essential fatty acids. Highly prized to those with skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, and other skin ailments and our variety makes a lovely salad oil for dressings and condiments. Highly recommended to those with sensitive skin, problem skin and other irritations that require vitamin rich oil."This oil is often added to another oil for homemade massage oil to enrich it with it's amazing properties.
  • Grapeseed Oil.   This oil works well for skin that doesn't absorb oil well - it does not leave a greasy feeling. It is also good for people who have sensitive skin because of its natural non-allergenic properties.
  • Jojoba Oil.   This oil is actually like the queen of carrier oils. "It is regarded as the most favored in the carrier oil family because of its advanced molecular stability. It is wonderful for the skin because it has absorption properties that are similar to our skin's own sebum." Jojoba is also an oil that is often added to other oils because of it's great properties.
  • Coconut Oil.  This oil, which comes slightly solid, but turns liquid upon contact with the skin, works as a protective layer while it keeps the moisture in your skin. It helps with inflamed and irritated skin, and sensitive skin. Coconut oil is also used for producing lather in soaps!
  • Soybean Oil.   This is a healing oil that works especially well for outer epidermal healing. It is easily absorbed and is high in lecithin, sterolins, and vitamin E.
  • Sunflower Oil. This oil is wonderful and deeply nourishing and conditioning for really dry skin, skin that is weathered or aged or damaged. It is full of Oleic acids and vitamins A, D, and E, as well as lecithin, and unsaturated fatty acids.
  • Wheat Germ Oil. This oil, like sunflower oil, is awesome for rough, cracking skin, or skin that is chaffing. It has been used successfully to help reverse wrinkling. It is full of good vitamins such as E, A, D, as well as proteins, lecithin and squalene. Adding 10-20% of wheat germ oil to other oils also helps prevent rancidity and extend shelf life.


Making Homemade Massage Oil

Now, finally after all that information, comes the fun part.

  1. Before making your blend, first decide the effect you wish to achieve - you can see by the above list that you have a great variety to choose from. Our page on Natural Sleep Remedies includes a few essentail oils and what they are effective at doing.
  2. Choose the essential oils you want to work with. Make sure the aroma appeals to you. This is important. The smell will linger with you for a long time and if you don 't really like it, it will undo the result you are hoping for.
  3. To mix an essential oil with a carrier oil you should place your carrier oil inside a dark glass bottle, then add a few drops of your preferred essential oils - you can use just one or chose up to three. You will typically need about 4 teaspoons (20 ml, 2/3 fl. Ounce) of oil for a full body massage. Shake the bottle gently to mix.
  4. Label the bottles with the types of essential oils used, the types of carrier oils used and the dilution (more on this in a minute), and the date you mixed them.
  5. Store in the refrigerator when not using.

Dilution Guide for Homemade Massage Oil

Guide to Dilution when Blending Oils

  • Normal dilution is 2 1/2%. For every 4 tsp (20 ml, about 2/3 fl. Oz) of carrier oil, use up to 10 drops of essential oil.
  • Low dilution of 1% is for sensitive skin and for use during pregnancy. For every 4 tsp of carrier oil, use up to 5 drops of essential oil.
  • Extremely low dilution for very sensitive skin, children, and babies. For every 4 tsp of carrier oil, use up to 2 drops of essential oil, or sweet almond oil, apricot, avocado, or grapeseed oil without adding essential oil at all.


Applying the Oil.

Never pour oil directly onto the skin. Pour a small amount into the palm of one hand and warm it between your palms.

Stroke the oil evenly over the desired area. When you need more, you can just drizzle a little over the back of your hand, then stroke it onto their skin.

Homemade Massage Oil Recipes

Here are a few recipes for homemade massage oil for you to try. Remember, the sky is the limit and with a little experimenting you can find something that is perfect for you.  Increase the essential oils to normal dilution if you desire more aroma.


We will assume that you are making enough homemade massage oil for a full body massage. Therefore, begin with 4 teaspoons of a carrier oil or a carrier oil blend. Then add the essential oil to that.

Lavender Massage Oil:

4 t. carrier oil
4 drops lavender essential oil
(Pure and simple)

Homemade Massage Oil For Relaxation:

4 t. carrier oil
2 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil
2 drop Lavender essential oil

Sooo relaxing. All you need now is a nice cup of herbal tea.

Homemade Massage Oil For Happiness:

4 t. carrier oil
2 drops Orange essential oil
2 drops Grapefruit essential oil
1 drop Neroli essential oil

This will brighten and uplift your day, like a ray of sunshine coming in the window.

Homemade Massage Oil For Congestion:

4 t. carrier oil
2 drops Peppermint essential oil
2 drops Eucalyptus essential oil

Great for opening up the lungs by applying to neck, chest, throat or back. Also great for inhaling to open sinuses.

Homemade Massage Oil For Circulation:

4 t. carrier oil
2 drops Ginger essential oil
2 drops Marjoram essential oil
1 drop Rosemary essential oil

Great for getting circulation to those cold feet and hands, or getting circulation to sore muscles.

Homemade Massage Oil For PMS:

4 t. carrier oil
2 drops Clary Sage essential oil
2 drops Geranium essential oil
1 drop Rose essential oil

Homemade Massage Oil For Memory:

4 t. carrier oil
2 drops Rosemary essential oil
2 drops Black Pepper essential oil
1 drop Cypress essential oil

Arnica Massage Oil:

Many people like Arnica Massage oil for using on sore muscles. Arnica is the most amazing herb for using in a bruise salve that I have ever seen. It works like a miracle bringing circulation to damaged tissues.

There is no Arnica essential oil. So in order to make a homemade massage oil using Arnica, I think you would infuse the Arnica in your choice of carrier oil or blend of carrier oil - using the instructions for making infused oil (you will find some recipes there also) or by using steps 1 through 3 for making organic salve - then, use:

4 t. carrier oil infused with Arnica 
3 drops Rosemary essential oil which also stimulates circulation
3 drops Ginger essential oil which also stimulates circulation

I hope this page will help you with your massage experience. Make a few blends and it will become part of the enjoyment.

Return from Homemade Massage Oil to Massage Techniques - Shiatsu

Return from Homemade Massage Oil to Namas Natural Remedies home page


“For rubbing can bind a joint that is too loose, and loosen a joint that is too rigid" -Hippocrates

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