Massage Oils and Allergies - What You Should Know
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Is It Possible to Be Allergic to Massage Oil?
The likelihood of experiencing allergic reactions from massage oils is very small, but it remains a possibility.
Through our spa clients, we observe 2-3 cases per year out of approximately 1 million massages performed. Hotel spas generally refer the affected customer to their on-site medical doctor. However, in most instances, the practitioner cannot definitively pinpoint the cause, which means the allergic reaction could have occurred due to food (particularly seafood in Thailand), or insect bites.
Regardless, it is essential to support your customer, but avoid jumping into conclusions and redesigning your menu immediately as a result.
In fact, while many operators are worried about customers’ allergies, they are actually more likely to occur with therapists.
It is difficult to provide exact numbers, as the occurrence of allergies among spa therapists can vary greatly depending on the specific spa and the type of products used. However, it is estimated that up to 10% of spa therapists may suffer from some form of allergy.
Allergies may develop as a result of repeated or excessive exposure to certain substances, such as scents in massage oils. To reduce the likelihood of therapists experiencing allergies, we recommend offering a variety of scents, changing them frequently, and ensuring that the concentration of scent in the massage oils remains within acceptable limits. These measures can help minimize the occurrence of allergies among therapists who regularly work with scented massage oils.
Common Allergens In Massage Oils
Essential oils are often added to massage oils for their therapeutic properties and fragrances. While they can provide relaxation and stress relief, certain essential oils may trigger allergic reactions in some individuals.
It is also important to remember that essential oils should not be applied undiluted directly onto the skin. Most essential oils have a maximum dermal usage recommendation, and some are subject to regulatory limits. If you plan to use essential oils to customize a treatment, it is advisable to consult local health authorities to determine the appropriate regulatory limits, as failure to comply may result in severe consequences in the event of an incident. Even in the absence of regulatory restrictions, you should verify the acceptable dosage or follow the recommended standards provided by IFRA (https://ifrafragrance.org). Additionally, the excellent book “Essential Oil Safety” (second edition) by Tisserand & Young is a valuable resource for understanding proper usage.
In addition to natural ingredients, massage oils may also contain synthetic components that can cause allergies. These ingredients are typically added for fragrance, preservation, or texture purposes. Common synthetic allergens include artificial fragrances and white oil or baby oil. To minimize the risk of allergic reactions, opt for massage oils with fewer synthetic ingredients or those that are specifically formulated for sensitive skin.
Common Allergens In Massage Oils
Rich in gamma oryzanol, the oil is very stable and thus allows us to avoid using any preservative in our massage oils. The refined grade has no scent which allows us to make very lightly scented massage oils when needed.
We usually combine rice bran oil with a variety of oils such as sunflower, grapeseed or sweet almond. This allows us to play with the mechanical properties of the oil and to create a carrier oil profile with our specific properties.
Rice bran oil is very stable when heated making it an ideal support for the manufacturing of macerated oils like oils coming in the composition of our Ayurveda blends.
Associated with oils such as coconut or sesame, it is a perfect carrier oil for Shirodhara oils.
What To Do In Case of an Allergic Reaction to Massage Oil
As a spa owner or massage therapist, you should know how to handle potential allergic reactions to massage oil. If you suspect that you or your customer may be experiencing an allergic reaction, follow these steps:
- Immediately cease using the oil and gently cleanse the skin with a damp cloth. Proceed to wash the affected area with soap and water to eliminate any residual oil on the skin.
- If swelling or redness is present, apply a cold compress to alleviate discomfort and reduce inflammation.
- Make an effort to identify the specific ingredient(s) in the massage oil that may have caused the reaction. This information is essential for preventing future exposure to the allergen and can be invaluable for medical professionals if their assistance is required.
About Alodia Massage Oils
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