We all know that lubricants moisturize, soothe and seal tissue. Do you know that they can also “feed” your feet with beneficial nutrients? We’ll look at three common ones here: an oil, a butter and an ester.
Castor is a pure vegetable oil obtained from the seed of the castor plant, and in its natural state is a pale yellow liquid with a mild odor (as opposed to the adulterated, “stripped-clean” white version often found in drugstores).
Castor has long been recognized for its ability to soothe dry, cracked tissue. A high preponderance of ricinoleic acid (a powerful anti-inflammatory) makes it a perfect remedy for red, itchy feet and undecylenic acid, another active ingredient in castor oil, is widely acknowledged as an effective anti-fungal treatment. Last, but not least, castor oil has been proven to have analgesic (pain-reducing) effects, according to a study published in the Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery.
Although often referred to as an oil, jojoba (pronounced ho-ho-ba) is actually a liquid ester wax derived from the seed of the Simmondsia chinensi plant. What makes jojoba particularly sweet to work with is the fact that its molecular structure closely resembles that of the body’s own sebaceous secretions and therefore absorbs easily into the skin. It contains high amounts of the alpha, delta and gamma tocopherols, natural forms of the anti-oxidant Vitamin E. It is non-allergenic and non-comedogenic (does not clog pores), and because it contains no fragile triglycerides, which easily break down and oxidize, jojoba does not go rancid or stain linens. I love it.
This luscious butter – another of my faves – is cold-processed from the seed of the karite tree (Butyrospermum parkii). In addition to being a great moisturizer, one attribute for which it is highly reputed is that of soothing conditions of heat in the tissue, such as eczema, psoriasis, diaper rash, dermatitis and burns (including sun-damaged skin). The list of benefits of this traditional African-derived butter is a lengthy one.
Pure shea butter is pale yellow in color. Beware of white shea butters; they have been treated with hexane (a toxic solvent) to remove both color and the butter’s natural nutty scent. Shelf life is a minimum of one year.
If you add up the number of times in a day that you put lotions and creams on your hands – you will realize the importance of using chemical-free products. Always purchase organic. You’re worth it.
If you add essential oils to your carrier, choose GC/MS tested oils so you know what you’re getting. Choose oils specific to whatever condition is being presented and you will have a doubly powerful adjunct to your hands-on work.
What do you massage into your clients’ feet at the end of a reflexology session?