12 Foot Massage Oils – Essential and Carrier Oils (Research Included)
The body stands on the feet; it is the foundation pillars designated with keeping the body erect. And they are strong; but, that does not mean that they should not be cared for. The feet also have several nerve endings that affect different parts and functions of the body and mind. Massages, acupuncture and reflexology makes use of these nerve endings to stimulate different parts and functions of the body.
Besides the nerve endings, we put our feet through a lot throughout the day. The long standing hours and other activities crack the heel and damage it internally. Massages with proper foot massage oils rejuvenate the feet and stimulate the nerve endings.
Massaging the feet with foot massage oils increases the blood circulation in the whole body. It has other benefits for the skin as well. Choosing the right carrier oil and essential oil for foot massage also hydrates the skin in the feet, nourishes it and soothes pain.
Carrier oils and essential oils are the perfect feet massage oils as they are natural and are replete with nutrients and medicinal compounds. Here are some of the best foot massage oils.
Best Foot Massage Oils – Essential Oils And Carrier Oils
There are different essential oils and carrier oils available online. Each of these oils has it own benefit and properties. Here, we have presented a list of essential oils and carrier oils that are good for massage on the feet.
1. Coconut Oil Foot Massage Oil
Coconut oil and coconut oil containing products have multiple benefits when applied or massaged on the feet. Coconut oil is the easy to get and is easy on the pocket and is the best massage oil for feet. It is also used as a carrier oil of choice for diluting essential oils for foot massages.
The practice of blending coconut oil and hibiscus for foot massage is followed by many. Both the oils are replete with nutrients that take care of the feet.
The oil mix exfoliates the skin on the feet and manages cracked heels. The oil speeds up the healing process and relieves pain. A good massage with the oil also releases tension in the foot. The foot oil massage works wonders for sore muscles and the associated pain. The oil is also applied at night time to get good sleep.
Applying Coconut Oil In Feet At Night – Good Or Bad?
Applying coconut oil to the feet at night is considered a good habit. It gives the skin enough time to absorb the oil. Applying warm oil to the feet at night is practiced in many parts of the world. Performing this warm oil massage to the feet is not possible every night, but once in a while clean the feet and massage the oil.
It skin absorbs the oil and the massage boosts the blood circulation. Regular oil application will soften the feet and rejuvenate it.
The international journal Food and Chemical toxicology published a 2017 study that focused on the effect of cultured coconut oil on the skin. It concluded that the polyphenols and fatty acid components in the oil had skin barrier enhancing effect. The oil also has anti-inflammatory properties (1).
Thus, the oil nourishes the skin and soothes any inflammation. Applying coconut oil regularly to the feet locks in the moisture, hydrates the skin and prevents the feet from getting dry. Massaging the feet with coconut oil everyday or once in a while keeps the heels soft and prevents cracked heel issue.
2. Olive Oil for Feet Massage
Olive oil for skin is well-known, but olive oil is also used as foot massage oil. Applying the oil on the foot and massaging it relieves pain, reduces inflammation and releases tension in the muscles. A quick olive oil massage on the feet also de-stress the body and mind. It is good therapy for minor sprains and swellings in the feet, especially in the injury and twist prone ankles.
The benefit of olive oil is its deep penetrating ability which offers quick relief from pain.
Massaging the foot with olive oil at night also improves sleep quality. A 2019 double-blind placebo-controlled trial published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine showed that massaging the foot with olive oil reduced the severity of restless leg syndrome and increased sleep quality (2).
Another review paper published in 2010 showed that massaging with olive oil lowered muscle fatigue in athletes. The olive oil massage also removed lactic acid and prevented the likelihood of injuries. Furthermore, the oil also improved the flexibility of the athlete’s skin.
The ramification of this study resulted in sports authorities providing athletes with free olive oil. (3)
3. Sesame Oil For Feet Massage
Abhyanga in the traditional medical practice of Ayurveda means self-massage. In Ayurveda, self-message is to be done before bathing. But, massaging the feet with oil can be done as a bedtime routine. Massaging the feet with oil hardly takes ant time, but its benefits are many. It not only benefits the foot, but the whole body.
The oil to choose for regular massaging is sesame oil. The sesame oil has a warming effect that increases the blood flow and reduces pain in the foot. In fact, it is one of the best natural pain relievers.
Since the oil makes the foot warm, it is used during winter season to keep the foot warm. Sesame oil should be warmed and then massaged on the feet. Using it regularly for up to a week will eliminate the pain in the foot. The oil is also used as a massage oil to nurture broken bones to good health. It has several compounds that delivers much needed nutrients to the skin and muscles.
4. Jojoba Oil for Foot Massage
Jojoba oil is natural and pure and excellent option for foot massage, either as standalone oil or with essential oils. The oil is known to reduce stress in the feet. The foot have several nerve endings and massaging it with the oil relaxes the body and mind. The Behenic acid in the oil has soothing properties and enhances the hydration of the skin.
Jojoba oil relaxes the nerves and induces sleep. It is useful for those suffering from insomnia. Take a handful of oil and massage the feet till close to bed time. Make sure that the oil is fully absorbed.
Essential Oils for Foot Massage
5. Lavender Essential Oil Foot Massage
The essential oil of lavender is one of the most popular oils. It is frequently used to relive stress and anxiety. The oil is a popular choice in inhalation aromatherapy. However, it has other therapeutic benefits for the body. It is a muscle relaxant and an anti-inflammatory agent. Applying the lavender oil to the feet relaxes the foot muscles, loosens any tight muscles and reduces pain and inflammation. It is one of the best essential oil foot massage oil because of its versatility.
The Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine in 2012 published a study on lavender oil and sweet orange oil. The double blind randomized controlled trial investigated the effect of the oils on poor sleep quality and restless leg syndrome. It concluded that both the oils increased sleep quality and lowered restless leg syndrome. (4)
Another research on foot massage with lavender oil and jojoba oil found that massaging the foot at night with the oils blend not only improved sleep in senior citizens, but also alleviated constipation symptoms. This May 2022 study was published in the journal Environmental Research and Public Health. (5)
6. Rose Geranium Essential Oil for Feet Massage
Extracted from the Pelargonium graveolens var. roseum plant, rose geranium is a potent massage oil because of its therapeutic properties. The body proportion of most people is spread unequally. So, the foot carries more weight than it ideally should. This excess baggage puts a lot of strain on the bones and muscles of the foot. Topical application of rose geranium oil on the foot relives fatigue of the foot muscles and releases tension in the tissues and ligaments. It also nourishes the feet.
7. Peppermint Essential Oil For Foot Massage
Peppermint essential oil, because of its high menthol content, is known for its cooling effect. It also has astringent, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. The oil thus reduces pain and muscle spasms. Proper massage on the foot with rose geranium essential oil cans also relieve tension headaches. It should be applied on the ankles and knees to relieve joint pain and release any tension in the muscles. The bioactive compounds in the oil also ensure relaxation and quality sleep.
8. Chamomile Essential Oil For Foot Massage
The essential obtained from the Matricaria recutita plant has medicinal properties including anti-inflammatory which makes it an efficient oil for massaging the foot. Chamomile oil is also considered to be a gentle oil and can be used by everyone. It can be diluted with carrier oils including almond oil or jojoba oil and massage on the foot for relaxation and reducing pain.
The International Journal of Community Based Nursing and Midwifery published a study in 2020, which conclude that massaging the feet with chamomile essential oil lowered fatigue, thus improving sleep quality. (6)
9. Niaouli Essential Oil For Massage
The essential oil of niaouli is also popular by its botanical name, i.e. melaleuca quinquenervia essential oil. This oil is not as popular as other essential oils, but provides good protection against infections. The oil is especially useful as a foot massage oil when camping outdoors. It can be applied on the foot in case of insect bites, burs, cuts and skin problems.
A research paper published in the International Journal of Aromatherapy in 2006. The result found that foot massage with niaouli essential oil and jojoba oil was more effective in eliminating bacteria (7).
10. Helichrysum Essential Oil Feet Massage
Inflammation of the muscle and joints can be significantly reduced by massaging the feet with anti-inflammatory helichrysum essential oil. The oil also has antimicrobial properties and a pleasant aroma. Hence, it is a good contender for foot massage oil. Just a few drops with a carrier oil will give relief.
11. Feet Massage with Lemongrass Essential Oil
Several researches have shown that lemongrass oil is an excellent antifungal agent. Research has given positive outcome when lemongrass oil was used on people with athlete’s foot and ringworm. The aroma of lemongrass can lower migraines as well. Hence, massaging with the oil in the evening will provide relief not just to the feet but to the mind as well.
12. Cypress Essential Oil for Foot Massage
The cypress oil has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. Massaging the feet with this essential releases the tension in the feet muscles. It is used in winter season to hydrate the skin and make the feet supple. It is used in many cosmetic products.
DIY Recipes For Foot Massage Oils
Foot Massage Oils Blends In The Morning
Grab your DIY massage oil first thing in the morning and apply to the feet to combat muscle aches and pains. Use suitable pressure with thumb to massage. In case of pain, reduce the pressure or stop immediately. The oils absorb most easily when applied in circular motion.
- 6 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
- 3 drops of bergamot essential oil
- 3 drops of thyme essential oil
- 2 drops of tea tree essential oil
- 3 tablespoons of argan oil
- 4 drops of cypress essential oil
- 4 drops of lemongrass essential oil
- 6 drops of rosemary essential oil
- 2 tablespoons of jojoba oil
Foot Massage Oils Blends In The Evening
- 6 drops of lavender essential oil
- 6 drops of ylang ylang essential oil
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 6 drops of Roman chamomile essential oil
- 3 drops of Clary sage essential oil
- 6 drops of sweet marjoram essential oil
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
How To Massage Foot With Oils
The procedure of massaging the foot with oils is quite easy and quick. However, here are the step by step instructions for foot massage with oils.
- Just before you go to bed, wash your feet and wipe it dry.
- Keep the oils you need near the bed.
- Next, sit on your bed with your feet up.
- Take a handful of the oil and massage the feet one at a time.
- While massaging the feet, do it firmly. Apply pressure on the soles and toes. Apply the oil in between the toes. It would be helpful if you learn about the plantar muscles and nerves.
- Press each toe and apply as much pressure as you can. However, do not try to overdo it and get tired.
- Massage the length of the foot.
- Do this for 5 minutes on each foot; 10 minutes in total.
- Using regular oil would suffice; but, if you can, then make use of warm oil for massages.
- If the feet are too oily, make sure to wipe it off gently. Do not rub off the entire oil.
Benefits of Massaging the Feet with Oils
1. Stimulates Blood Circulation
People with a sedentary life style have poor or improper blood circulation in the body. Walking short distances and working for 8 hours behind a computer screen will disrupt proper flow of blood to the feet. But, a 5 minutes oil massage at the end of a hectic day will improve blood circulation in the feet.
2. Good Quality Sleep
Several researches and studies have shown that using essential oils and carrier oils will improve the quality of sleep. The oils relax the nerves and muscles, thus helping a person unwind faster. Many oils have sedative properties known to induce sleep.
3. Mitigates Pain
Anyone who has ever had to sleep through foot pain would know how difficult that is. The oils have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that soothe any inflammation and lower the pain. In case of foot pain, massage the leg from the toes to the knees to relieve pain and promote blood flow. Foot tendonitis is a common problem which can be overcome by massaging the feet with warm coconut oil or olive oil.
4. Good For PMS Symptoms
Some of the PMS symptoms include improper sleep, nausea, mood swings and cramps. Massaging the feet (with oils) has proven to lower these symptoms. One of the popular oils for lowering PMS symptoms with foot massage is lavender essential oil. The aroma of the oil acts as a relaxant.
Massages to the feet also lower elevated blood pressure levels and relaxes restless leg syndrome. Foot massages can be inculcated into daily routines to give proper care to the feet.
Natural foot massage oils gives relief from pain and stress experienced by the feet. Foot massage oils must be included in foot care regimen to keep the feet injury free. In this article, we have mentioned the list of essential oils and carrier oils (with research) that are beneficial for the feet. Massaging the feet also ensures goo sleep. Hence, include foot massages with oil in your bedtime routine. Massage the feet to refresh the feet, but don't forget to give the feet enough rest.
What oil is best for foot massage?
There are several essential oils and carriers that are considered best for foot massage. Some of the best oils are as follows:
- Lavender essential oil
- Rose geranium essential oil
- Coconut oil
- Jojoba oil
How do you make foot massage oil?
Mix 4 to 8 drops of the essential oil to 2 to 3 tablespoons of carrier oils and apply the mix directly to the foot. Higher quantities of the oil can be mixed and stored in a glass jar.
What are the benefits of massage oil on feet?
Some of the benefits of massaging the feet with oils are: -
- Improved blood circulation.
- Better sleep.
- Treatment for skin infections by elimination of fungus and bacteria.
- Soft and supple skin on the feet. It avoids cracked heels.
- Release of tension in the foot muscles.
Does putting essential oils on foot work?
Putting essential oils on foot has numerous benefits not only for the feet, but also for overall health. It improves sleep quality and the massage relieves stress and tension.
- Food Chem Toxicol. (2017). Enhanced barrier functions and anti-inflammatory effect of cultured coconut extract on human skin. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28564614/
- Complementary Therapies in Medicine. (2019). Short-term effects of massage with olive oil on the severity of uremic restless legs syndrome: A double-blind placebo-controlled trial. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0965229919301980
- Archives of Medical Science. The use of deep friction massage with olive oil as a means of prevention and treatment of sports injuries in ancient times. https://www.termedia.pl/Review-paper-The-use-of-deep-friction-massage-with-olive-oil-as-a-means-of-prevention-and-treatment-of-sports-injuries-in-ancient-times,19,15530,0,1.html
- Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine. The effects of foot massage on hemodialysis patients’ sleep quality and restless leg syndrome: a comparison of lavender and sweet orange essential oil topical application. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/jcim-2020-0121/html
- Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health (2022). Effects of Aroma Foot Massage on Sleep Quality and Constipation Relief among the Older Adults Living in Residential Nursing Facilities. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/19/9/5567
- Int J Community Based Nurs Midwifery. (2020) Effects of Foot Massage on Severity of Fatigue and Quality of Life in Hemodialysis Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7153426/
- International Journal of Aromatherapy. (2006) Which essential oil is better for hygienic massage practice? https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0962456205000652
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