Best Massage Lotions For Professional Massage Therapy

We have chosen five massage lotions that meet our high-quality standards based on the following criteria.

Absorption rate: Lotions absorb quicker than oils, so you want one that does not absorb too quickly and can last most of the session without having to constantly re-apply. You can test it by dabbing a nickel-size sample on your forearm and spread it across its skin, simulating a massage on the forearm extensors. After ten minutes, if the skin is still massageable with hardly any friction, then it should be a good choice.

Viscosity: Lotions are in the middle-ground of viscosity between oil (lower viscocity) and gels (higher viscocity). The type you want depends on what you need it for, whether it is for basic Swedish massage or sustained deep pressure.

Ingredients: Look for the key ingredients that research has shown to be good quality moisturizers: aloe vera, coconut, grapeseed oil, shea butter, jojoba, olive oil, and cocoa butter.

Allergies: If you are allergic to certain nuts or other ingredients, examine the label careful before buying and using the massage lotion. Massage therapists should also ask new patients or clients if they have any allergies so they select the right lotion for them.

Greasiness: A good massage lotion should not feel like bacon grease. Greasy oils make cleaning sheets more difficult.

Odor: While some massage therapists prefer certain types of massage lotion scents, some lotions have strong scents that may turn off patients or clients. Take a whiff of the product before you buy it.

Truth in advertising: You want to spend your hard-earned money on products and brands that are honest to the public, and it can be challenging to determine what claims are true or not. But there are ways for you to navigate through the marketing claims. A 2014 study published in the American Journal of Medicine reviewed 1,179 online retail sites that sell herbal and similar products and found that less than 8 percent of them reported adverse effects, less than 3 percent cited scientific literature to support their claims, and 10.5 percent recommends that you consult with a healthcare professional before using them. Keep that in mind when you scroll through products and websites.

Find out more about each of the common herbs that are found in massage oils, lotions, and similar products here at the National Institutes of Health.

Environmental friendly: Do a little research about the company that sells massage lotions like how were the products made. How are the herbs cultivated and grown? Is the process environmentally sustainable? Were they tested on animals?

Selecting the best massage lotion should be simple and narrowed down to a few that makes choosing easier.

Main ingredients: Purified water, octyl palmitate, sunflower seed oil, glyceryl stearate, soybean oil (glycine soja), steareth-2, polysorbate80, steareth-21, olive oil.

Pros: Odorless, low viscosity, and no greasy feeling.

Cons: May leave an odor on sheets if left unwashed because of the oils.

Main Ingredients: Filtered water, cetyl alcohol, triethanolamine, propylene glycol, octyl palmitate, glyceryl stearate (and) PEG-100 stearate, stearic acid, jojoba oil.

Pros: No nuts and parabens. Allows smooth gliding for a long time. Great for Swedish and Lomilomi with minimal friction.

Cons: Oil might make the lotion rancid if stored improperly. May stain sheets and clothes.

Main Ingredients: Purified water, coconut oil ester, apricot oil, sesame oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil.

Pros: Not too slick yet not too dry. This is a versatile lotion for a variety of massage techniques. Absorbs into skin somewhat quicker than most name brands of lotions. No scent.

Cons: May smell if not stored properly because of the oil combinations.

Main Ingredients: Water, octyl palmitate, almond oil, grapeseed oil, propylene glycol, cetearyl alcohol.

Pros: For those on a budget without (much) sacrifice for quality. Higher viscosity allows deeper pressure.

Cons: May get rancid quicker than other types of oils due to its nature.

Main Ingredients: Purified water, sunflower seed oil, octyl palmitate, vegetable glycerin, organic aloe barbadensis leaf juice, glyceryl stearate, cetyl alcohol.

Pros: No greasy feeling, low viscosity, very light scent. Glide well and allow deep pressure work.

Cons: May cause skin allergies to some people.

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A native of San Diego for nearly 40 years, Nick Ng is an editor of Massage & Fitness Magazine, an online publication for manual therapists and the public who want to explore the science behind touch, pain, and exercise, and how to apply that in their hands-on practice or daily lives.

An alumni from San Diego State University with a B.A. in Graphic Communications, Nick also completed his massage therapy training at International Professional School of Bodywork in San Diego in 2014.

When he is not writing or reading, you would likely find him weightlifting at the gym, salsa dancing, or exploring new areas to walk and eat around Southern California.