At the mention of sesame oil, many people may immediately think of a favorite Asian dish or a bottle of cooking oil in the cupboard. However, as a massage therapist, your first thought might be the use of sesame oil as a lubricant for bodywork.
   This vegetable oil, derived from sesame seeds, is a common element in massage lubricants. Not only can it be used alone or in combination with essential oils for scents, but it also is an ingredient often found in massage creams.
   This is good news for those bodyworkers who wish to incorporate the benefits of sesame oil into their sessions but prefer the consistency of a massage cream. If you hope to blend sesame oil into your daily hands-on practice, simply search for a massage cream that lists this ingredient on the label.
   Sesame oil is composed of a variety of fatty acids, and it is known by several different  names throughout the world. In India it’s often called nalla ennai, which in translation means “good oil.” Sesame oil also is called gingelly oil or til oil.
   Although this good oil has myriad uses, the one most massage therapists are concerned with is the topical use of the lubricant during bodywork sessions. As a source of vitamin E, sesame oil brings with it the benefits of this vitamin. Vitamin E has been shown to improve moisture in the skin, reduce the appearance of stretch marks and help prevent age spots. Vitamin E also has antioxidant activity, which means it serves as a tool in anti-aging.
   According to the Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, sesame oil, when applied topically, also boasts the ability to help ease anxiety and boost immune function along with circulation.
Proponents of sesame oil also report that this lubricant may help relieve lethargy, fatigue and insomnia, while promoting strength and vitality, enhancing blood circulation. Other claims as to the benefits of sesame oil, as it is soaked in through the skin, include relief from pain and muscle spasms.
   Sesame oil is often used in Ayurvedic treatments. It is used in a daily Ayurvedic self-massage called abhyanga, as well as shirodhara. According to Ayurvedic experts, sesame oil is especially useful for nourishing and detoxifying, as well as for ailments associated with the vata type, such as anxiety, poor circulation, constipation, bloating and excessive dryness.
   You will find that sesame oil is a fairly common ingredient in many high-quality massage creams as well. If you would like to stick with the texture of a massage cream, yet still offer clients the benefits of sesame oil, then look for this ingredient in your next lubricant purchase.
   Of course, there are a few other issues to keep in mind as you select a massage cream that contains sesame oil. For instance, you may want to do a bit of research to find out if the sesame seeds from which the oil was derived were grown organically, if that is important to you and your client base.
In addition, the other ingredients within the massage cream are important as well, so make sure you thoroughly understand what you are placing on clients—and your own hands and forearms—each day.

–Brandi Schlossberg