How CBD Can Make Your Massages So Much More Relaxing
For next-level chill.
I have zero chill. Whether I’m getting my blood pressure checked, my aura read, or on the phone with my mom, I’m always told the exact same thing: calm down.
Physically, this mental stress manifests itself in my posture. When I get really in the zone at work, I’m often hunched over my keyboard with my shoulders all tensed up. I do the exact same thing when I’m trying to stay warm walking outside on a cold, windy New York winter day.
So, as much as I hate being told to “calm down,” I probably should. That’s why I was down when Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa in New York City offered me the opportunity to try their new CBD Ritual Massage one Saturday afternoon.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD oil (or cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant that has been reported to help reduce stress, anxiety, and inflammation — but no, it won’t get you high.
Even though CBD oil-infused products have one of the biggest beauty and wellness trends of the past few years, I haven’t used it consistently enough to know whether or not any of the tinctures and gummies out there have any effect on my anxiety. In terms of skincare, the CBD-infused products I’ve tried have worked wonders for reducing any inflammation or redness on my face.
Since there’s research that massages can relieve muscle soreness, I was curious about the effects of a massage with CBD oil thrown into the mix.
“There is little reliable research when it comes to how cannabinoids are absorbed topically, but since the skin is the biggest organ, it makes sense that so many users cite the benefits of CBD when the ingredient is applied to multiple parts of the body,” explains Cindy Capobianco, co-founder and president of Lord Jones, a leading brand of CBD-infused products.
Capobianco says that CBD acts as an “analgesic and anti-inflammatory” and has been known to “reduce pain and inflammation when used topically.” This explains why it could create a soothing and relaxing massage experience.
What Happens During a CBD Massage?
Before my actual massage started, Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa massage director Michael Shanahan explained to me that CBD massages “can be helpful for anyone that deals with muscle inflammation, circulation issues, chronic pain, arthritis, headaches, and so much more.”
The hour-long, full-body, deep tissue massage started with Shanahan asking what areas of my body have been feeling tense (I told him to go hard on my shoulders) and cleansing the room’s energy with a sage hydrosol spray. A typical massage followed — except CBD oil was rubbed all over my body.
Shanahan started with my back, getting out all of the stress-related knots, and then moved onto my shoulders, where I hold all of my tension. When he was getting all of the knots out of my shoulders (and there were a lot) it sounded like someone repeatedly cracking my knuckles. It hurt a little, tbh, but damn — did it feel good once those knots were out.
At this point, I was pretty relaxed because I was in the middle of a massage, but then Shanahan asked me if I tend to overthink things because there’s a belief that people who do tend to hunch their shoulders — which I had apparently been doing throughout the massage so far. And Michael, yes, I do.
This led me into a downward spiral where I began stressing over what I’m going to look like when I’m older if I continue on with this bad posture. As I tried to relax again after getting lost in my own thoughts, Shanahan continued the massage, moving onto my arms and legs. When he was working on my arms he reassured a little bit by telling me that based on how I was laying on my back, my shoulder placement wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible. I made a mental note to start being more mindful of how I’m sitting at work.
Once the CBD massage was over and done, I did feel more zen than I when I woke up that morning, but not any different than I’ve felt after regular massages — or so I thought. When I got up and outside I felt loose and just good overall. After I left Paul Labrecque, I hit up Whole Foods on the way back to my apartment. Normally a trip to WF on a Saturday afternoon makes me rage-y. Even though the store was a hot mess with long checkout lines and a handful of crying babies in strollers, I wasn’t phased by any of it.
When I took a shower later that night, I discovered that I had put my underwear back on inside out and hadn’t noticed all afternoon. I guess I was on another level of chill.
Find out what it's like to get a massage with CBD oil and the benefits of applying CBD oil to your skin.
How CBD Massage Oil Can Make Massages Better
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound found in and derived from the cannabis plant. It has anxiety and pain-relieving qualities, in part thanks to its anti-inflammatory and mood boosting properties. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most famous cannabis compound, CBD won’t get you “high” and is non-intoxicating.
CBD is an important component of a range of topical products, including massage oils.
CBD massage oils have all of the important benefits as other massage oils, plus their own added qualities. These oils reduce friction on the skin and improve the ability of the massage therapist to treat the muscles without stressing the skin. And while relaxation and pain relief are normal up sides of massage, CBD massage oils take both of these benefits to the next level.
In this post we’ll cover why massages are great for muscles, and how specifically CBD massage oil can create a better massage experience. Then we’ll tell you about the two CBD massage oil products we like the best so far and why:
Disclaimer: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate CBD products such as massage oil in the same way they regulate dietary supplements and drugs. There is not one consistent standard for quality and safety that each CBD product will meet. This lack of regulation plus the sheer number of CBD products available today can mean that identifying the right products are tricky. Always look for results from third-party lab testing and other signs of transparency.
Benefits of Massage and Massage Oil
Massage is a basic term that means rubbing, pressing, and manipulating the muscles, skin, ligaments, and tendons. Massage may range from. There are various styles of massage, featuring light touch to deep pressure, including these common types:
- Swedish massage. This gentle massage style is the most common “default” and uses kneading, long strokes, vibration, deep circular movements, and tapping to assist the patient in both feeling more energized and relaxed.
- Sports massage. Similar to Swedish massage, this style helps prevent or treat injuries in athletes and other participants in sport activities.
- Deep massage. Often used to treat muscle damage from injuries, deep massage targets the deeper layers of connective tissue and muscle with slow-paced, stronger motions.
- Trigger point massage. After overuse or injuries, regions of tight muscle fibers can form in your muscles, which trigger point massage focuses on.
Benefits of Massage
According to the Mayo Clinic, massage is part of integrative and complementary medicine and can be part of standard treatment for many medical issues. The primary benefits of massage include relief of pain, stress, and muscle tension. Mayo Clinic also points massage can also treat anxiety, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, migraines and other headaches, stress-related insomnia, myofascial pain syndrome, injuries from sports and other situations such as soft tissue strains, and temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ).
Many people also enjoy massage because it can create feelings of comfort, caring, well-being, and connection with others more generally.
Why CBD Massage Oil
When you consider why you might want to try CBD massage oil, first explore the health benefits of CBD topicals.
The Endocannabinoid System
The human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) moderates multiple important functions, such as body temperature, memory, mood, hunger, sleep, and pain. Cannabinoids send signals to nearby cells as they bind to specific receptors on your neurons to regulate these functions.
The body produces cannabinoids, of its own: endocannabinoids. However, if it fails to produce sufficient cannabinoids to achieve stasis, it also can use phytocannabinoids made by plants, such as cannabidiol or CBD.
When you use CBD skin care, it is absorbed by the body, CBD circulates in the bloodstream until it locates cannabinoid receptors on the neurons and binds with them. This can cause multiple effects in your body, such as improved sleep, improved neuronal health or neuroprotection, pain relief, reduced anxiety and stress, reduced inflammation, and relaxation.
CBD Absorption Through the Skin
CBD absorbs gradually through the skin, and while it is slower to take effect this way, the benefits also last longer than faster forms such as sublingual tinctures or vapes. In fact, CBD topicals and massage go together well and create an efficient route for uptake, since rubbing the CBD in gently and slowly and then allowing it to absorb slowly is an ideal way to cover the skin with CBD oil and allow it to work.
CBD is useful in treating a wide range of health conditions, thanks in large part to those powerful anti-inflammatory properties we mentioned. CBD lotions, salves, and massage oils can help ease inflammatory aches and pains like sore muscles. Topical CBD products are especially effective at treating several types of chronic pain, including joint pain, muscle pain, and neuropathic pain.
The relaxing effects of CBD can also soothe symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders, especially in combination with massage. Additional ingredients such as chamomile, sweet almond oil, or lavender essential oil can enhance this relaxation experience.
Another benefit of using a CBD topical such as a massage oil is that you’ll be allowing the CBD directly into the bloodstream through the skin, bypassing the digestive system. This maximizes how much CBD you’re actually accessing. People with inflammation in one area or other localized pain symptoms may really prefer CBD topicals.
Will CBD Massage Oil Make Me Feel High?
Especially for first time users, this is one of the biggest questions about CBD. However, although CBD is sourced from the Cannabis sativa plant, it does not produce any intoxicating or psychoactive effects. Those kinds of effects are down to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the cannabinoid most people think of in the context of medical cannabis.
CBD will not cause these effects, whether taken internally or used in massage oil. It is sourced from the hemp version of the cannabis plant, and is now legal federally in all 50 states. For anyone who wants the benefits of cannabis without the high feelings, CBD is the ideal option.
What Are the Benefits of CBD Massage Oil?
As you might guess, CBD massage oil brings together all of the benefits of CBD, CBD topicals, and massage. It’s among the most comfortable and luxurious ways to experience the pain relief and relaxation of CBD while bypassing the GI system, unlike with CBD gummies or other edibles.
As you shop for CBD massage oils, remember that the rest of the formula is important, too. Different CBD massage oils have unique ingredients that impart textures and aromas, and pain relieving, moisturizing, warming, or cooling benefits. For example, arnica is a natural pain-relieving, cooling ingredient present in many CBD topicals. The right combination depends on your preferences and needs, so do read those labels.
Benefits of a CBD massage include reduced inflammation, chronic pain relief, and soothed tension and anxiety. CBD massage oil also has natural anti-inflammatory effects that can help it soothe sore joints and muscles more effectively. As an antioxidant it can relieve gastric distress without serious side effects and encourage a quicker healing process throughout the body.
CBD Massage vs Regular Massage
The main difference between a regular massage and a CBD massage is simply the CBD—but that’s saying a lot. The benefits are real, although the massage technique remains the same. In fact, this is the easiest way to determine whether the added benefits work well for you: try it and see if you can feel the difference. (We can.)
What to Expect During a CBD Massage
A CBD massage works like a regular massage in that your therapist can target specific areas or try to achieve certain goals (for example relaxation versus working out a painful knotted area). Tell your therapist where you hold tension, if you know, and about any existing injuries.
You will often feel an additional cooling sensation from CBD massage oils, usually from a natural source such as eucalyptus or arnica. Remember to prepare for this and keep the room warm enough.
The Best CBD Massage Oils
To benefit your overall wellness and reduce that stress level, we present our two favorite CBD massage oils.
CBD massage oil can take your massage to the next level. Learn how CBD massage oil works and which CBD massage oil brands we recommend.