Massage Oil vs Massage Lotion

Massage Oil vs. Massage Lotion: Which is better?

Everybody appreciates a great massage and it seems obvious to use oil for a smooth and aromatic experience.

However, there is also the option of using creams, lotions, and gels.

Massage History

The very first records of massage date back to nearly 3000 BC in China. The Chinese Taoist priests practiced meditation that revealed and cultivated the vital life force Qi Gong.

Traditional Chinese medicine is premised on the idea that it is imbalances of Qi that cause all ailments and bodily discomfort.

In 1000 BC, Japanese monks studying Buddhism in China witnessed the healing techniques of Chinese massage techniques and took the knowledge home.

The Japanese enhanced the Chinese method by introducing different combinations, eventually settling on a technique called Shiatsu. Shiatsu is derived from “Shi” or finger and “atsu,” which means pressure.

Various massage therapy techniques developed over the years and each has its own benefits. In addition, there is the option of using massage oils and lotions. Both have advantages and disadvantages that make therapists choose one over the other.

The Ad- and Disadvantages of Using Massage Oil

Oil has been used on massage tables for centuries as it has an excellent glide factor making it ideal for massage. Some advantages and disadvantages include:


  • Essential oils are easy to add to oil as it doesn’t require vigorous mixing.
  • Oil is comfortable and warm for both your skin and the therapist’s hands.
  • A bottle of oil lasts a long time as it doesn’t need frequent reapplications.
  • Oil protects your skin’s lipid barrier and retains moisture.
  • Most massage oils do not cause breakouts or clog your pores.
  • Oils are suitable for most skin types.


  • Oils stain sheets and clothing.
  • Some people hate the greasy feeling that some of the thicker oils leave.
  • Oils also spoil faster, which you can tell by the smell or when the oil starts to separate inside the bottle.
  • If oil spills on the floor, it could cause a bad fall.

Massage Lotions

Massage lotions are the cheapest lubricant option. They also have advantages and disadvantages.


  • Lotions penetrate the skin and hydrate it.
  • Lotions have beneficial compounds and vitamins such as vitamin D, shea butter, Keratin, aloe vera, and Vitamin E.
  • The ingredients in lotions replace moisture, heal the skin, and repair any damage.
  • Lotions do not stain sheets and clothes.


  • Lotions might contain synthetic chemicals.
  • Most creams come in jars that cannot be attached to a holster.
  • Lotions feel cold on the skin.
  • Lotions are not greasy.
  • Lotions are not suitable for people with more body hair.
  • When you have sunburn and peeling skin, lotion clumps dead skin together, making it look unsightly.

Conclusion: A Word From the WellnessCouncil

In general, it is best to stay away from scented lotions and oils if you are sensitive. The same applies to professional therapists as some clients are susceptible to strong scents.

If you need to use essential oils, consult your client first. Lotion is a cheaper option compared to oil, but you need to use more lotion in reapplications, while oil lasts longer. If you are getting a massage, talk to your therapist about your preferences and you can come up with a solution.

Your therapist will advise you on the pros and cons of both oils and lotions, but it is also important to investigate first so that you can make an informed decision. 

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