In Dubai, choosing a massage oil can be a daunting task because there are so many types to choose from. Look in any massage supply catalogue and you will find nut- and seed-based oils, olive oils and even oils made from animal products, such as emu. Additionally, you can choose creams, solids or liquids, medicated and un-medicated, as well as scented or unscented oils. Each oil has its merits but no one oil is suitable for every occasion. How you choose a massage oil ultimately depends on its intended use.
(1) Determine the type of massage. Heavier oils, such as olive oil, work best for low-friction massages such as Swedish or relaxation. These oils are slipperier and don't absorb as quickly into the skin. Lighter oils, such as grapeseed, and creams work best for high-friction massages, such as sports and deep tissue. These oils absorb more quickly to prevent you from slipping as you apply more pressure but provide enough glide to prevent irritating the skin.
(2) Consider the time and place of the massage. Heavier oils that don't absorb as easily may get on your clothing when you get dressed. These oils are best in situations where you have access to a shower so that you have the option to wash off any access oil. These oils also work well for an end-of-day massage in your home, where you don't have to worry about getting oil on your clothes.
(3) Look at personal preferences. Some people like the aromatherapy benefits of scented massage oils while others may not appreciate walking around smelling like a lavender plant. Other individuals may be sensitive to strong scents, or allergic to fragrances. If you are choosing an oil for professional use, it's better to go unscented and add essential oils on a case-by-case basis. If you are choosing an oil for personal use, find a scent that you and/or partner enjoy.
(4) Ask about allergies. In addition to fragrance allergies, some individuals may also be allergic to nuts or certain flower extracts. For example, a person who is allergic to tree nuts should not use almond oil and individuals with ragweed allergies should avoid oils with chamomile. If you are concerned with allergies, look for oils labeled hypoallergenic.
(5) Consider the therapeutic intent. Some massage oils are medicated with arnica, menthol and other extracts to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Others may contain emu oil to relieve skin irritations. If you are using massage on a sports injury, a medicated oil would be more effective than a plain oil. However, if the person you are working on has allergies or skin sensitivities, you may wish to use a non-medicated oil and rely on technique alone.
Some manufacturers will send you samples free or for a small fee. If you find a brand that interests you, contact the manufacturer's customer service number and ask if they provide samples. You may receive several trial sizes that will help you make your decision.
Professional massage therapists often stock plain oils and creams of different weights and add essential oils and extracts as needed. This method of buying oil saves money because they can buy the oils in bulk, which is cheaper. However, you should only go this route if you understand how to blend essential oils for therapeutic effect.
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