Oil vs Lotion is probably the biggest debate among Massage Therapists. And that’s not even all of the mediums used to glide the hands, arms, elbows, and feet over the body while still manipulating muscle and other connective tissue.
There are creams and gels and scrubs for exfoliation and essential oils and probably more that I don’t know about.
So what have I used? I’ve used everything I listed above. I used lotions in school. I used creams and lotions in my first job as a massage therapist. I’ve used body scrubs – which are incredible! (It can feel abrasive, but if you follow it up with a lotion or oil to re-hydrate the freshly unveiled skin, it feels magical. Although, I do recommend being able to take a shower before and after the exfoliation scrub.) I find that using essential oils is lovely on the neck and feet, but don’t go overboard or the room can be really smelly. I’ve used gel once, and to be honest, unless it’s an Aloe Vera gel, I don’t like it at all.
My current favorite massage ointment is Oil – specifically Coconut Oil.
So why do I use oil instead of something else?
Cost is a big reason for me. I can buy a pretty big jar of coconut oil from the local grocery store for about $10. And it will last me forever.
Aroma/Scent/Flavor I don’t like scented lotions. Either the smell is too strong and gives me or the client a headache, or else, it just smells fake. It’s also very difficult to find a scent that everyone loves. Not to mention, it’s very hard to add a complimentary essential oil.
Ingredients I prefer natural ingredients. The more ingredients I can pronounce, the more I probably know about them. Plus in a world where there are lots of toxic, harmful chemicals and allergies are running wild, I like to know that my oil isn’t likely to cause insult to injury.
Alcohol Many skin care products contain a form of alcohol which dries out the skin. I don’t know about you, but I believe that one of the perks of getting a massage is the smooth soft skin afterwards.
Temperature have you ever been in a massage and flinched a little when cold lotion was applied right between your shoulder blades? If you have, you’re not alone. The nice thing about oil is that it stays at a constant temperature depending on where it’s stored. But, have you ever had a hot oil massage? Now that is a little slice of heaven.
So, the next time you get a massage, ask what kind of product your therapist likes to use. Some therapists or styles of massage favor one product over another because of the way it works for them on the body. No one option is better than the other. It’s all a matter of choice.
Which do you choose?