Jean Shea, a writer on professional spa and therapy products, is one of a growing body of industry professionals extolling the benefits of using olive oil as a massage oil.
“It does so much for the skin,” she said. “It helps moisturize, aids cell regeneration and protects against sun damage.”
While olive oil is not yet commonly used in the massage and spa industry there is a growing trend towards this health-giving alternative.
Jo Boyd, owner of the Bellarine Spa outside Geelong in Victoria Australia, changed over to using olive oil a couple of years ago.
“We are in the heart of an olive growing district’ Boyd said. “One day one of our customers, Rosalind Ellinger the owner of Mason’s Creek Olive Oil, came in for a treatment.”
“She had lovely skin and explained how for years she had massaged olive oil into her face every night after reading how Sophia Loren had done this. She also explained how comfortable she felt putting something so pure and natural on her skin rather than chemical laden products”
“As our skin absorbs whatever is put on it into our bodies, I thought why couldn’t olive oil be used as a massage oil,” said Boyd.
“We held a training day. The purpose of massage oils is to lubricate the skin to reduce friction, which makes it easier on the labor-intensive process of massage. Our masseurs noticed that olive oil spread better than traditional massage oils such as grape seed making the job a lot less labor intensive.”
Jo Boyd opted to use olive oils from Rosalind Ellinger’s Mason’s Creek Olive Oil, a ten-acre nearby property of 1,200 trees where pesticides are not used.
While slightly more expensive than traditional massage oils Jo said that most customers appreciated the change.
“Customers in general are calling for more natural substances,” said Case. “Many people have growing problems with allergies and are seeking natural alternatives that have no added chemicals.”
One of the reasons olive oil has not traditionally been used in the past is because of the scent. “People associate olive oil with cooking” she said.
Fortunately olive oil is an excellent carrier oil for most essential oils. Bellarine Spa offers various combinations depending on the client’s requirements. To energize, for example, they add drops of lemon and lime essential oils; to calm geranium and lavender; to cleanse peppermint and patchouli and for stress ylang ylang and lemon grass and so on.
There are also a number of other reasons for using organic cold pressed EVOO for massages. It is rich in antioxidants, including vitamins A and E, polyphenols, phytosterols and avenasterol that help to neutralize free radicals and repair cell membranes. Olive oil also contains chlorophyll, which can help combat signs of ageing and promote the healing of skin conditions.
When Rosalind Ellinger of Mason’s Creek Olive Oil was asked about the Bellarine Spa was using, she said, “the oil that Jo is using for massage at the moment is so good that it won a gold medal at the Melbourne Show last year!”