Massage Oil for Aches and Pains




Living with my girlfriend, a sufferer of EDS type 3, we've explored many ways of treating the various aches, pains, bumps and bruises that EDS with joint hypermobility entails. This recipe is the result of experiments trying to replicate the positive effects of various lotions and balms, and based on natural ingredients.

Step 1: Ingredients List


  • carrier oil(we use grapeseed, but coconut, red palm, almond or any other skin friendly and stable oil is fine)
  • pure vitamin E oil


  • lavender essential oil
    sweet orange essential oil
    lemon essential oil
    juniper essential oil


  • measuring tools
  • mixing vessel
  • bottle(glass preferred, something with a pump top or other dispensing aid is a plus)

if you already have a massage oil you like, you can just doctor that up. and don't think you need to buy fancy health food store oils. we get our grapeseed oil at the grocery store right next to the canola and olive oil, and coconut oil from Costco.

Total cost: $14-$35 Canadian dollars to make a years supply, with enough essential oils left for 2 more years.

Step 2: Mix It All Up

if you're using a solid oil like coconut or red palm(and if you're buying red palm, please buy ethically sourced) start by melting that. a minute in the microwave in a glass mixing vessel will do the trick.

the nice thing about this recipe is it's all by ratio from here on. mix 99 parts carrier oil and 1 part vitamin e oil and stir thoroughly. if you chose to add the essential oils, add 1 part each of those and stir them in as well.

if you're using a liquid oil, that's it, you can bottle it and it's good to go. it's a good idea to have one large bottle you keep refrigerated, and small bottles for dosing out the massage oil as needed. for solid oil like coconut you'll want some sort of wide mouthed jar or tin to pour it into. once it cools and sets it's ready to use.

now remember how I said it's all based on that simple 99:1 ratio? you can play with what those 99 parts are to vary the properties of your resulting product. substitute a portion of the oil for beeswax to make a thick balm you can pour into empty chapstick tubes and carry with you on the go, use a mix of liquid and solid oils, like grapeseed and coconut, for a thick creamy lotion that also does a great job moisturizing your skin. experiment and find the blend that works best for you.

Step 3: Use It. the Science?

so, why does it work and how do you use it?

vitamin e is a naturally occurring family of oils called Tocopherols. Studies have shown that it can have anti inflammatory properties and is an effective antioxidant, and when mixed with oils that tend to absorb through the skin(the same oils a lot of natural moisturizers are based on, coconut and grapeseed being two of the best) we've found it does a good job of soothing aching joints, sore muscles, bumps, scrapes, etc. any injury that results in inflammation seems to be helped by a gentle application of this massage oil(it even helps reduce bruising, in my experience). just lightly rub some onto the affected area, gently buffing the oil into the skin, don't slather it on because you only need a thin layer that can quickly absorb into your skin and do its job. the 99:1 mix is chosen because that's the highest concentration of vitamin e that has significant benefits. more than that and you're just wasting everything above the 1% concentration recommended here.

the essential oils have no definite function, I don't know which if any and having an effect, but they smell pleasant in a unisex way and add an aromatherapy aspect to applying the product. and hey, if you've just sprained your ankle you might appreciate a soothing bit of impromptu aromatherapy.

I hope that this recipe can be a help to anyone who needs it, it took us a long time to figure it out something that worked for us, and we're glad to share this with the instructables community in hopes that other people can benefit from our efforts. I can say for certain this: we both have used this massage oil for everything from sprained ankles to torn back muscles, and we both find it helps relieve pain and reduce bruising, important because she is unable to take NSAIDS which means aspirin or aleeve is not an option for her when she's feeling sore.

good luck and be healthy.



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    6 Discussions


    3 years ago

    i think it is a good finding


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I think you need to check your sources - Vitamin E has no roll in reducing inflammation. Its established benefits are for the immune system, and may have some benefit for the prevention of cataracts, although the evidence there is inconclusive. Very few people need any form of vitamin E supplement at all - just those with digestive conditions and cystic fibrosis.

    Any perceived benefits of this formulation will either be due to the massaging action of the application, or the placebo effect.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I hate to disagree, but my sources indicate that there is at least some anti inflammatory effect from vitamin e

    in the intestine, skin, and other tissues, as well as eliminating free radicals which can cause inflammation due to the antioxidant effects of tocopherols. i'm too poor to waste my money on things that don't work and chasing snake oil, so I did my homework several years ago on this subject. it's true, many effects of tocopherols are not fully understood, and there is still work being done in this area, but I would not suggest something I didn't know had positive effects.

    I do appreciate your constructive criticism, but respectfully disagree with your statement.


    Reply 4 years ago

    I hope it woks out for you, good luck


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Your first link limits the anti-inflammatory effects to the outer dermal layers, with specific reference to UV damage, and even then it cannot discriminate between inflammation reduction (which is needed for your use) and inflammation prevention through antioxidant activity.

    Your second link is about bowel inflammation in rats, and the vitamin E was injected directly into the body cavity.

    Your third link is a tiny study, not peer-reviewed, in vitro, did not reveal how much the inflammation markers were reduced by, and concluded by saying "if [it] works in circulating blood as it does in the test tube" (ie, they haven't tested it on actual people, just cells outside the body.

    Your fourth article is about preventing inflammation happening in the first place, not about reducing the effects of existing inflammation, and focusses on osteo effects, not muscle tissues.

    The final link is dubious in reliability, thanks to its links to the disgraced cyclist, but the studies it references are about the inflammation associated with coronary disease and lung cancer.


    None of your links support the claim that vitamin E has any effect on the state of the "weak" collagen responsible for hypermobility, none of them refer to joint inflammation.

    Your proposed mechanism, that the vitamin is transferred to the deep tissues by the "carrier" oil is also flawed, as the oil does not penetrate beyond the epidermis.