Massage provides multiple benefits, including muscle relaxation and tension relief. When it comes to choosing a basic massage oil, newcomers to the world of massage may feel as if they’re on a quest for the Holy Grail itself. If you find yourself scratching your head about what massage oil to use, consider the benefits of almond oil. Always use sweet almond oil for massage, not the oil derived from its toxic counterpart, the bitter almond.

Easy on the Wallet

If you’ve been experiencing sticker shock when you see the price that accompanies most specialty massage oils, the relatively low price tag accompanying almond oil should be a welcome relief. Often costing as little as $10 to $12 for 16 ounces, almond oil is affordable enough to be within most beauty budgets. Use it alone for an inexpensive massage session; as a general rule of thumb, approximately 4 ounces of the oil provides enough for a full body massage. Better yet, create a custom oil blend by combining small amounts of the more expensive oils — such as jojoba, rose hip and wheat germ oil — with an almond oil base; this allows you to experiment with the more pricey oils without breaking the bank.

Aromatherapy Bliss

Equipped with a mild, pleasant scent, almond oil is a prime carrier oil for an aromatic massage, because its thin texture allows your body to absorb more essential oil, says Susan Worwood, co-author of “Essential Aromatherapy." Essential oils commonly coupled with almond oil include lavender, chamomile, jasmine and rose. As a general rule of thumb, use six to eight drops of essential oil per ounce of almond oil. To maximize its benefits as a carrier oil, Worwood suggests that you stick with organic, cold-pressed almond oil.

Mild for Mini Massages

Almond oil is mild enough for use on children and older babies. Although you can always use almond oil alone, many parents opt to blend it with gentle essential oils -- such as chamomile -- before massaging it into their children’s skin. Use no more than two drops of essential oil per 5 tablespoons of almond oil.

Skin Healing

Almond oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties, according to Shirley Price, co-author of “Aromatherapy for Health Professionals.” As an emollient, it also absorbs easily into your skin, refreshing and hydrating tissues without clogging pores. These features combine to make almond oil an effective way to relieve dry skin, itching, soreness and inflammation, especially when these issues arise from skin conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema, notes Price.