Here’s the good news: Over the next decade, it’s anticipated that the occupation of massage therapist will grow by 26%. That’s a lot faster than other jobs.

This profession pays an average of nearly $20 an hour or about $41,000 a year (1). That’s not bad for not needing a university degree.

Massage therapists work in diverse locations like clinics, spas, physicians offices, fitness centers, hotels, and independently.

One of the crucial tools they use is essential oils.

Essential Oils Massage Therapy

The aroma of the oils sets the mood for the massage. The oils also boost the therapist’s ability to alleviate pain.

Let’s talk about what you need to know about essential oils for massage therapy.

When to avoid using essential oils

I’m a “bad news first” type of person. I’d rather discuss what not to do and get it out of the way.

It’s best practice to be aware of your clients’ needs before you treat them. You should discover if they have allergies or sensitivities before you use essential oils on them.

Also, be especially careful when working with pregnant or nursing clients or those who are chronically ill.

If you’re not sure, skip the essential oil. You don’t need it to perform a successful massage.

How to use essential oils safely

Do no harm. That’s the Hippocratic Oath doctors take. Massage therapists would do well to remember this as well.

Dilute essential oils properly before you ever apply them to the skin. A 1% concentration (one drop per teaspoon of massage oil) is enough.

A low concentration prevents skin reactions but still provides benefits.

For example, one of the best essential oils for massage is sandalwood. Even at a 1% concentration, both you and your client will feel refreshed.

How to decide which essential oil is best for the situation

Again, it’s important to know your client. What inspired them to get a massage?

Did they come to you seeking stress relief, or are they suffering from aches and pains?

Or perhaps it’s simply therapeutic for them to get regular massages.

Once you understand what they need, it’s easier to select the oil you’ll use.

Many times, you can take care of multiple problems with a single essential oil.

To illustrate, lavender is one of the best essential oils for stress and anxiety.

It’s also good for relieving muscle pain.

How to blend oils for maximum effect

I just mentioned how lavender is useful for more than one situation.

But you can blend oils together to achieve greater results.

A simple mixture like peppermint, lavender, and rosemary works wonders on backaches.

All three are some of the best essential oils for muscle pain.

Some oils blend together better than others. Fortunately, recipes aren’t hard to find.

Moreover, it’s fun to experiment on your own time.

Oil fragrances fall into categories like medicinal, woodsy, fruity, floral, and spicy.

Their properties include cooling, warming, invigorating, calming, and more.

Over time, you’ll come to create blends based on scent or therapeutic actions or both.

Here are some hints to get you started:

  • citrus goes well with floral, spicy, minty and woodsy
  • woodsy scents bring balance to medicinal ones
  • earthy fragrances like frankincense go well with both minty and woodsy aromas
  • floral goes well with citrus, spicy, and woodsy

Use your diffuser at home and get feedback from your family and friends.

What about aromatherapy?

So far, I’ve discussed essential oils for massage. But you may wish to use a diffuser for aromatherapy.

It gives your space a signature scent and sets the mood.

As much as I love diffusing essential oils, I’m aware that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for fragrances.

I say keep it mild. Use a light, fresh aroma and don’t overdo it. You want your clients to walk out lightheaded from relief, not from overdosing on fumes.

You may find that the oils you use during the massage have enough scent that you don’t need to use a diffuser at all.

Saving money on essential oils

I have one final tip to help you save money on essential oils.

Shop around. Over the past decade, it’s become easy to purchase essential oils online.

You don’t need to sign up as a member or pay a fee to buy oils.

Reputable manufacturers perform extensive testing to ensure the oils’ purity. They will provide analysis reports for free. And many of these companies have certified aromatherapists available to answer questions. You can learn from them for free.

With that said, I wish you the best of luck in your career as a massage therapist.


1., accessed July 10, 2019