Holistic medicine

Oil massage - variants and applications

Oil massage - variants and applications

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Massages with oil: areas of application and types

A soothing massage is always recommended for tensions, sore muscles, but also for stress and mental imbalance. The variety of different massage techniques is incredibly large. Especially the Oil massage knows more variations here than it initially appears. There are numerous differences from medical massage cures in Ayurveda to relaxation massages and erotic massages. We have therefore taken a closer look at the world of oil massage for you.

How does an oil massage work?

In addition to dry massages, oil massages are among the most important massage options for improving well-being. Using massage oils and certain techniques, pressure is exerted on various body points in order to stimulate them. This pressure stimulation can relate to the skin, joints, muscles or nerves. Certain massage techniques, such as Ayurvedic or Thai massage, also focus on the energetic points of the body.

The tools required for an oil massage can vary greatly, as can the various forms of massage technology itself. For example, there are special massage tables that, depending on the type of oil massage, make it easier to carry out. Aids such as massage balls or brushes are also used depending on the particular form of massage. And even the oil can be used very differently in its consistency and temperature. However, if very large amounts of oil are used, an oil-repellent non-woven cover is generally required for the massage table to avoid permanent oil stains on textiles.

Oil massage - the purpose of massage technology

There are many reasons why people have an oil massage done. There are often specific health complaints that affect the joint system or the muscles. In the field of physiotherapy in particular, oil massage is therefore an important component for remobilization, for example in accident patients with broken bones or people with joint and muscle damage.

Oil medicine is also used in sports medicine, whereby it is used both preventively to minimize the risk of injury and therapeutically to treat existing sports injuries. However, patients increasingly choose this massage technique due to less tangible complaints such as psychological or nervous stress conditions and persistent pain symptoms. The spectrum of possible reasons for an oil massage is therefore very broad and includes:

  • Vascular diseases (e.g. circulatory disorders, varicose veins or thromboses),
  • Skin problems (e.g. rash, rosacea or dry skin),
  • Bone and joint problems (e.g. arthrosis, joint pain, Paget's disease, osteoporosis or back pain),
  • Muscle discomfort (e.g. muscle soreness, muscle pain, muscle wasting or tension),
  • Nerve disorders and psychological complaints (e.g. burnout, depression, lumbago, internal tension or nerve inflammation
  • and other motivations (e.g. slag storage, metabolic disorders or sex therapy reasons).

Important: Although it seems sensible at first glance to be massaged with respiratory-relieving herbal oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus and the like in the case of respiratory diseases such as the flu, it is rather advisable not to do so. Behind such diseases there are solid infections that already weaken the immune system. Going to massage and the massage procedure itself can exhaust the body here and unnecessarily lengthen the course of the disease.

Variants of the oil massage

Oil massage is an integral part of folk medicine in many cultures worldwide. However, it has a very high medical status in the Asian culture. Here the massage with oil is closely interwoven with the conviction of holistic healing practices to improve physical well-being and the prevention of diseases. We have listed some of the most important techniques from this area together with other massage approaches for you below.


The word Abhyanga comes from Sanskrit and means something like "oiling", "anointing" or "massage". In the western wellness area, this type of oil massage is also known as "The great oiling" because it uses a lot of oil. This is first warmed up before the massage and then applied to the body with even stroking movements. Traditionally, two masseurs are working at the same time, whereby the western modification of the Abhyanga massage often dispenses with the second masseur. A massage session in this variant usually lasts between one and an hour and a half. The massage is finally ended by applying natural powders (e.g. calamus powder) to absorb the remaining oil residues and dry the body.

Process and principle:
Abhyanga has its origins in India and Sri Lanka, whereby Ayurvedic teaching forms the basis of technology. More specifically, the so-called doshas are the focus of the observation. They form the three aspects of the human constitution and can be compared with three energetic disciplines:

  • Vata: The air or wind dosha stands for change, lightness and constant being in motion. According to Ayurveda, it regulates all physical and psychological movements.
  • Pitta: The fire and water dosha is responsible for biochemical processes and thus the metabolism in the body. It symbolizes structure, systematic processes and precision.
  • Kapha: The water and earth dosha represents all solid parts of the body, such as bones or teeth. It stands for calm, serenity, strength and endurance.

If these disciplines become out of balance, this increases the potential for illness. The Abhyanga should intervene in a regulating and harmonizing way in the interaction of the Doshas.

This oil massage was first mentioned in the sixth century of our era, namely in the great book of Ayurveda medicine "Ashtanga Hridaya (अष्टांग हृदय) - The eightfold heart". The author Vagbhata was an important Indian doctor of his time and described Abhyanga as a preventive massage cure to prevent it

  • Tension,
  • Age complaints,
  • Skin problems,
  • inner unrest,
  • sleep disorders
  • Visual disturbances
  • and indigestion.

A special focus of the Abhyanga massage should be on oiling the head, ears and feet.

“The Abhyanga should be done daily. It distributes age, tension and accumulations of Vata. It gives good eyesight, nutrition for the body, long life, good sleep, good and healthy skin. It should be carried out especially on the head, ears and feet. It should be avoided by people suffering from Kapha build-up, who are undergoing cleansing therapy or who are suffering from indigestion. ”

- Vagbhata's Ashtanga Hridaya; Chapter: Sustrasthana, Dravadravya Vijnaniya -

The effect of this Ayurvedic massage technique can largely be attributed to the use of large, warm amounts of oil. The warming loosens and relaxes the skin, muscle and tendon tissue, which relieves tension and eliminates muscle pain. In addition, the fact of being enveloped in warm oil increases the patient's feeling of security, which reduces psychological and emotional tensions. There are also numerous sub-variants of Abhyanga for a more intensive effect on certain parts of the body:

  • Mukabhyanga (facial massage) - for sensory disorders and lovesickness,
  • Padabhyanga (foot massage) - used to treat fatigue
  • and Udarabhyanga (abdominal massage) - for functional disorders of the abdominal organs.

Oils used:
The selection of massage oils is strictly regulated at Abhyanga. Only vegetable base oils are used here, which are selected depending on the therapeutic priorities according to their mode of action. As an alternative to oil, herbal teas can be used, whereby the cardinal herbs according to Vagbhata are also used here. The main vegetable oils in Abhyanga are:

  • Sesame oil,
  • Mustard oil,
  • Coconut oil
  • and castor oil.

Vaghbata wrote about sesame and castor oil in particular:

“Sesame oil has the property of penetrating deeply into the tissue and spreading quickly throughout the body. It causes skin diseases, is bad for the eyes, is able to penetrate even the smallest pores, is hot, Kapha does not increase. It makes thin people fat and fat people thin. It's constipating, killing worms. When properly prepared, it heals all diseases. "

“Castor oil is bitter, pungent and sweet in taste, laxative, difficult to digest. It heals testicular enlargement (hernia), tumors in the abdomen, diseases caused by Vata or Kapha, enlargement of the abdomen, recurrent fever, pain and swelling in the abdomen, genitals, abdomen and back. It has the ability to penetrate deeply, has a hot effect and a bad smell. ”

Attention: Abhyanga should not be used in people who combine too much Kapha. This oil massage, on the other hand, is very suitable for people with a high proportion of Vata.

Thai oil massage

Aromatic oils are also used in the Thai oil massage. Traditional Thai massage usually does not involve the use of oil, which is why you have to be very careful when choosing the offer in local massage studios to choose the right massage. Basically, however, the Thai oil massage is based on the massage techniques of conventional Thai massage. In this special case, they are combined with the use of aromatic herbal oils, which should intensify the relaxing massage experience.

Process and principle:
The massage techniques of Thai massage are closely interwoven with Ayurvedic yoga. In addition to classic pressure point massage handles, certain body figures are therefore also in the focus of the massage treatment. They are supposed to stimulate the flow of energy, stretch the tissue and strengthen the joints. The masseur often uses his entire body to do this while sitting or standing on the patient and stretching, stretching or angling his limbs. It is customary to bring the patient's body into meditative swings using one's own body. In total, the Thai massage therapist has a range of over 77 different techniques available, which are applied to the massages over a period of one and a half to three hours. Essential yoga figures include:

  • the bridge,
  • the fish,
  • the cobra,
  • the plow
  • and the pliers.

There are also elements from acupressure, reflexology, shiatsu and stretching. Together, these massage components are intended to stimulate the so-called Sen lines through pressure and stretching conditions. Said lines are considered to be the ten main energy lines of the body, which respond particularly well to the rhythmic massage movements. Overall, this type of massage is intended to improve various health areas. Some of them are mental, others are physically motivated. For example:

  • Balance through meditation,
  • Relaxation of nerves,
  • Invigorate the senses with herbal aromas in the massage oil,
  • Treatment of upset or depression,
  • Stress relief,
  • Strengthening the immune system,
  • Detoxification of the connective tissue,
  • Lifting of energy blocks,
  • Disease prevention,
  • Stretching muscles and tendons
  • and joint mobilization.

During the Thai oil massage, it is important for the patient to completely relax his body and, metaphorically speaking, to become a malleable lump of clay in the hands of the masseur. This not only ensures that the body can walk through the yoga figures applied to it without injuries. The passive “relaxation” of the body also contributes to relaxation and allows the energy to flow freely. This special approach is also a good exercise for everyday life, in which stressful situations like to provoke the body and mind to a state of tension, although serenity would make a lot more sense. A famous quote from Bruce Lee fits very well here:

"Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless like water."
("Empty your mind, be formless like water")

Oils used:
The effect of the Thai oil massage is aromatically supported by herbal oils from certain fragrant herbs. They should promote the positive, sensual experience during the massage and provide additional healing processes according to aromatherapy. The respective oils have an individual special effect for various health complaints. Below is a small overview of common oil variants:

  • Bergamot - calms anxiety, depression and restlessness,
  • Ginger - relieves joint discomfort, feelings of cold and swelling,
  • Chamomile, Lavender and Rose - are used for existing skin problems such as Skin irritation, combination skin or dry skin applied,
  • Lemongrass - used for connective tissue weakness or as an anti-aging oil,
  • Rosemary and Lavender - are used for respiratory problems, headaches, migraines or rheumatism
  • and Ylang Ylang - moisturizes the skin and can therefore also be used on dry skin.

Lomi Lomi Nui

This variant of the oil massage comes from Hawaii and can be translated as "unique strong kneading". As the name suggests, the massage oil is firmly kneaded into the tissue. Often, not only the hands, but also the forearm or elbow of the masseur are used. The treatment lasts an average of two hours and is supposed to bring the body and mind into harmony.

Process and principle:
Lomi Lomi Nui comes from the ancient Hawaiian religion Huna. It represents an independent, Polynesian philosophy, which is based on healing the individual, as well as the world itself, through sensory experiences and experiences that feel good. According to Huna, these sensory impressions have a direct influence on a person's self, which is composed of three parts:

  • Lono - The soul and the center of the self. Lono is responsible for the formation of will and judgment and therefore takes on the role of the rational mind.
  • Ku - This part of the self can be understood as an unconscious or subconscious. Unconscious processes, such as the classification and management of memories, but also the creation of emotions, lead Huna back to the Ku.
  • Kane - The third part of the self can also be understood as the sphere of the ancestral spirit, which represents the connection of the self to the hereafter and the spiritual world.

According to Huna, following seven principles is important for the health of this self and thus of the body:

  • Ike: The world is what you think it is.
  • Kala: There are no limits.
  • Makia: The energy flows where the attention is.
  • Manawa: Now is the moment of power.
  • Aloha: To love is to be happy with.
  • Mana: All power comes from within.
  • Pono: Effectiveness is the measure of truth.

"Everything that makes an impact and improves things is PONO (in order and correct)."

- one of 7 principles of Huna philosophy -

These principles show that the body's own energy flow, the mana, is shaped and controlled primarily through self-awareness. Therefore positive perceptions lead directly to an improvement in health. In this context, the aim of the Lomi Lomi Nui Massage is to release mana blockages that have arisen due to negative perceptual influences and in this way to also resolve blockage-related health problems through the highly meditative cleansing massage. For this purpose, the massage is usually accompanied by Hawaiian music, folk songs and meditative prayers, which, in addition to the massage, are said to have a calming and tension-relieving effect on the patient. Similar to Abhyanga, the Lomi massage can also be carried out by two masseurs at the same time.

The Lomi massage was once an important family ritual to prepare relatives for a new beginning or a new phase of life. Lomi Lomi Nui was therefore an integral part of initiation rites, marriages, ordinations, and similar incisive turning points in a person's life that required the past to be let go. The massage was carried out by a shaman, the so-called Kahuna. And until today it is the old, shamanic principles of Hawaiian culture that determine the course of the massage. It is important to drive out negative influences from the past and the associated tensions and tensions through ritual kneading and thus to restore the well-being and health of the patient so that the patient can step into the future in a balanced and strengthened manner without pre-stress.

The massage begins with Lomi Lomi Nui in the back area, which is considered the seat of the future according to Hawaiian shamanism. The past is believed to be processed in the back by reducing past fears, worries and trauma. The Lomi massage is intended to support this process and help in the elimination of the negative aspects. The masseur then slowly works his way from the back to the front of the body, which is considered the seat of the past. According to Hawaiian shamanism, the source of memories and feelings is said to rest, especially in the abdominal region. As a result, trauma, painful experiences and memories of injuries are manifested here. In spite of the kneading character, this area is used very gently and with flowing movements to gently harmonize the patient's sensations. The negative influences are then spread over arms, hands and fingers as well as legs, feet and toes and the joints are loosened at the same time. Neck, neck, head and face are also massaged.

Oil used:
The massage oil for the Lomi Lomi Nui massage is obtained from the Kuku nut (Aleurites moluccanus) native to Hawaii. Among other things, this is used as a traditional oil source for oil lamps and permanent lighting. Thanks to their high oil content, the kernels of the nut can even be ignited raw and used as illuminants. It is therefore not surprising that the kuku nut bears nicknames like light nut or candle nut.

Even though Aleurites moluccanus is raw poisonous, its sweet, nutty-tasting oil is still a popular spice in traditional Hawaiian and Southeast Asian cuisine. Kuku nut is also particularly valuable in Hawaiian folk medicine. Here your oil is used to treat skin diseases such as dermatitis, neurodermatitis or psoriasis. Furthermore, the sweet taste of the nut is perceived as particularly pleasant and is therefore ideal for aromatic-meditative treatment purposes such as the Lomi massage.

Erotic massage (Tantra massage)
The erotic oil massage is a peculiarity in the massage area, which gives many the idea of ​​illegal massage sex studios. In fact, the orgasm or even sexual intercourse is not the focus of the erotic massage. Rather, this form of oil massage also has its origins in the Far Eastern traditions and, if actually carried out according to the traditional approach, pursues a health-oriented goal. The focus here is on maintaining a healthy sexuality or relationship. Couples in particular, who find sexual tightness or sexual tension during sexual intercourse a problem, often discover this form of massage for themselves. Partners who want to give their love life a new impetus, and even singles who strive for a healthy sexual relationship with their own body, use the erotic massage again and again.

Process and principle:
The techniques of erotic massage come almost without exception from the tantra teaching. This, in turn, is a philosophical element of Hinduism and mainly deals with shamanistic and spiritual rites for becoming one with the greater whole. For this purpose, mind and matter must be reconciled, which also plays an important role in the area of ​​sexuality.

In the area of ​​erotic oil massages, there are numerous sub-forms that include both full-body massages such as the body-to-body massage and massages that specifically target the erogenous zones. Since these are stored differently for each person, in addition to the breast or nipples and the genital organs, the neck, neck or earlobes can also be body parts to be massaged in an erotic massage. Various massage utensils, such as massage balls, massage rollers or springs, can also be used to help increase the sensitive sensation.

  • Body-to-body massage: As the name suggests, the body of the masseur is used for the body-to-body massage. The oil is therefore first applied to your own body and then spread over the body of the other person. Unfortunately, often misused for erotic short films, which are in fact hot, this form of massage is actually intended to develop a positive attitude towards physical contact with the partner. A particularly high degree of eroticism naturally resonates here. However, sexual intercourse does not necessarily have to take place during the massage.
  • Lingam Massage: The word Lingam comes from Sanskrit and is here the symbolic symbol of the Hindu god Shiva. It also embodies the male reproductive system, with which the Lingam Massage focuses on the penis of the man. The goal is not ejaculation, but rather delaying it and sometimes treating male erectile dysfunction. These can arise, for example, from nerve injuries on the penis (e.g. due to a circumcision that went wrong) and thus impair the sensibility in the area of ​​the penis. If you massage with oil here, this often leads to better sensitivity and sensitivity.
  • Yoni Massage: As a counterpart to the Lingam Massage, the Yoni Massage focuses on the female genital organ. It also has a therapeutic effect and can help women who have problems reaching orgasm. A certain tightness or shyness in dealing with one's own sexuality can also be successfully reduced by the Yoni massage. In addition, this massage helps women determine the location of their G-spot and stimulate it.
  • Breast massage: The breast, especially the female, is one of the most important erogenous zones along with the genital organs. Therefore, it also plays an important role in erotic oil massage. In this regard, massaging must be carried out very gently and carefully, since women in particular feel the touch on their breasts differently. Too much pressure can quickly become uncomfortable here. In this regard, plumbing between pleasant and uncomfortable is representative of all variants of the erotic massage and describes an important step towards partner-based or personal research into sexual needs within the massage principle.

Oils used:
The oils used for an erotic massage should, especially when used in the genital area, be natural oils without irritating effects on the skin and mucous membranes. There are now special massage oils for this purpose, which often contain extracts of aphrodisiac herbs, for example:

  • Jasmine,
  • Lavender,
  • Musk,
  • Patchouli,
  • Rose,
  • Saffron,
  • Sandalwood,
  • Vanilla,
  • Ylang ylang
  • and cinnamon.

Swedish massage (classic massage)

The Swedish massage is, without most people realizing it, when they first read the name, the classic massage technique. The well-tried mixture of kneading, stroking and circular movements made this oil massage the most practiced of its kind. It can be carried out as a partial or full body massage and is usually limited to 30 minutes.

Process and principle:
In contrast to Asian or Polynesian massage techniques, Swedish massage does not normally use as much oil. The concept behind it is also less spiritual. The aim is to dissolve hardening and tension in the tissue through certain massage handles. Accordingly, the form of massage is particularly at

  • Construction workers,
  • Office workers,
  • Computer professionals,
  • Artisans,
  • Warehouse workers,
  • Mechanics
  • and of course very popular with athletes.

In addition, the Swedish massage is also said to do a good job with organ problems such as digestive problems, circulatory disorders or nerve problems. The classic massage handles include:

  • Effleurage - In this regard, the Swedish massage is always started with a persistent stroking movement, the so-called effleurage, which is intended to relax the body deeply initially and finally. Stroking with the flat hand runs parallel to the muscle fibers in the direction of the heart and is also used to distribute the massage oil at least at the beginning.
  • Petrissage - After the effleurage, kneading or walking is usually done with hands or fingers, also called petrissage. The aim is now to move the muscles against each other, which should stimulate the blood circulation and relieve tension.
  • Friction - The friction, also known as friction, supports the circulation-promoting effect in Swedish massage and helps to dissolve hardening and tension. It is only performed with the ball of the hand or fingertips.
  • Tapotement - The so-called tapping is also used during the Swedish massage. It conceals short, gentle strokes with the edge of the hand or the flat hand. Another technique to stimulate blood circulation and correct muscle tone.
  • Vibration - The fifth and final massage handle of the Swedish massage is relaxing vibrations, which the masseur uses with his fingertips or hands to cause a muscle tremor. This can penetrate into the internal organs, where it then releases tissue and organ spasms.

Oils used:
The choice of oils for Swedish massage is not quite as strict as for the Far Eastern massage options. If you like it authentic, choose "Scandinavian" aroma scents like

  • Spruce,
  • musk
  • or fir.

In principle, however, all other massage oils can also be used.


If done correctly, massages are usually free of side effects. People with existing joint and nerve disorders, bone or muscle damage should, however, clarify a planned massage with their doctor in advance in order to avoid injuries or pain. (ma)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Miriam Adam, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • Frohn, Birgit: Cleansing and detoxification with Ayurveda: cleaning cures, massages and oil treatments. Breathing, meditation and yoga exercises. Type-appropriate nutrition, Mankau Verlag, 2014
  • Grewe, Heide-R .: Standard work for massage therapists Part 1: The professional "benefactor", Books on Demand, 2015
  • Hakasi, Luise: Massage Guide, BookRix GmbH & Co. KG, 2017
  • Gupta, Shive Narain; Stapelfeldt, Elmar; Rosenberg, Kerstin: Ayurveda manual therapy and elimination procedure, Georg Thieme Verlag, 2006
  • Hitzler, Markus: Hawaiian Healing 2.0: Basics of the Hawaiian healing tradition, Books on Demand, 2017
  • Govinda, Kalashatra: Tantra Massage: The Stimulating Power of Erotic Touch, Irisiana, 2016

Video: Relax u0026 Massage with OLITERRA Olive Oil. (September 2022).


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