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Gear up for winters, with body massage oils

With winter slowly settling in, most parts of mother earth prepare for cooler days ahead. It’s time to prepare for the season, well stacked up with necessities.
Winters are a good time for body massages too, children love the calming warmth and tender touch, while they enjoy some personal time with moms before a relaxed sleep. Body massages not only hydrate and nourish baby skin, they reduce skin dryness which is common in cold weather, besides stimulating blood circulation and digestive systems (for gas, colic & constipation). Regular massages help babies develop strong bones & better motor skills.
While some moms prefer oils for massages, others prefer body lotions. Both are good for baby skin, much depends on the skin type and comfort of the baby. Traditionally oils have been used for their many advantages.
Most oils used for body massages are virgin oils, pure and natural with no other ingredients added in them, whereas a lot of massage oils are also custom made, to suit a particular skin & body development requirement for babies, and are prescribed by experts for need base use.
Some common natural oils used to make baby body massage oils are almond, coconut, mustard, aloe vera, turmeric, camphor, brahmi (water hyssop), basil, avocado, shankhapushpi (speed wheel flower), rosehip oil, cinnamon, olive, tea tree, sesame, wheat germ, chamomile, soyabean, grapeseed, jojoba, borage seeds, peanut and oat oil.
Each oil has its specific benefits and combinations are developed for specific purposes.
Olive oil is one of the most popular massage oils, due to its non-toxicity, richness in anti-oxidants and vitamin E that aids in hydrating dry and damaged skin, especially diaper rashes. Its virgin form is high in oleic acid content.
Almond oil helps prevent skin rashes, eczema, any abrupt soreness and skin dryness. Vitamin E in the oil, aids in improving skin complexion and tone. Sesame oil is rich in nutrients, calcium and omega unsaturated fats that help in bone development, it’s popular for cosmetic & therapeutic uses too. Turmeric oil has strong anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties that protect & rejuvenates baby skin. Camphor oil aids in instant pain relief and strengthens respiratory system to prevent chest congestions, which is common in young children, with change in temperatures during winters.
Coconut oil is one of the most easily available oils in its virgin form. It’s an effective skin moisturizer, it also cleans the skin, besides hydrating it. Rich in anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties it protects the skin from inflammation, rashes, blemishes etc. This oil can be added in baby bath water too.
Brahmi oil helps in hormone release, necessary for neurological development of babies. It also stimulates hair roots for faster hair growth when used as hair oil, while basil oil helps in healing eczema, enhancing skin elasticity. It also protects the skin from fungal infections. Aloe vera is a known skin conditioner, rich in vit E it locks in moisture to reduce skin dryness. Cinnamon oil helps to develop a healthy immune system and promotes blood circulation, it is also useful for sore muscles and joints. Mustard oil is high in mono-saturated fats and proteins, its refined version is less pungent but equally effective for skin care. Rich in oleic acid, linoleic and erucic acid, it’s an easily available alternate for some expensive body massage oils. It’s serves as a natural sunscreen, removes tan, lightens the skin and stimulates sweat glands. It’s used as a good pre-bath massage oil.
Rosehip oil is rich in Vit A, C besides antioxidants, its effective on hyperpigmentation, wounds scars, and enhances skin suppleness, giving natural glow and even-toned skin. Its linoleic acid content makes it light weight and non-oily, thus easy to absorb.
Shankhapushpi oil helps in developing memory, skin texture, immunity and physical strength in kids. Besides body massage, it is very effective as hair oil too.
Compared to body lotions, most massage oils are rich in anti-microbial properties, providing a soft long lasting defensive shield on baby skin. While careful selection and apt use of oils for massage is important, it is better to avoid mineral oils. Most edible oils are suitable for massages, but mixing of two or more oils is not advised, also frequent switching from one to the other is not correct.
A good time to start baby massages is after a fortnight of birth, giving enough time for babies to acclimatize themselves to the new environment. A patch test should always be done before massage, to prevent any skin reactions later. As an initial mild test using a few drops of massage oil in baby bath water is also a good option. Seek medical advice, if there are any skin rashes, dermatitis etc.
Prefer a time during the day when the baby is happy and active. Also spend time to understand the baby cues, only if the massage is enjoyed and skin has no reactions, should you pursue.
During massage it is better to avoid wearing rings and bangles, no large grown nails either, this is to avoid skin cuts or scratches on baby skin
It’s safer to pick oils that are packed, have been dermatologically-approved and are mild (thus less risky on use), light & non-oily (to get easily absorbed), non-perfumed (to avoid babies getting irritated with smell), suitably ph adjusted, free from any harmful and harsh chemicals, parabens, sulphates, silicones, mineral oils, and allergens (to avoid any skin flare ups during or post massage).
While there are mind boggling choices available, body massage is still fun and useful.
Happy Massage Time !!!!

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