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4 Best Massage Oils for Summer and Easing the Heat Based on Ayurveda

Updated: Jun 11

Ayurveda, an ancient science that comes to us from India, offers different oils for different people in different seasons, depending on the individual constitution, the current state of balance, and the time of life.

Keep reading to learn about the best massage oils for summer and easing the heat.

This post will cover:

best massage oils: woman massaging hands on a blanket on sand

You may be wondering why you would want to put oil on your body

Ayurveda gives us a list of practices that should be performed daily, with some variations happening throughout the seasons.

These daily practices mostly focus on cleaning and nourishing the senses and setting up a rhythm for the day.

One of these daily practices is abhyanga, self-massage with warm oil.

Different oils are recommended for different people depending on their constitution, current balance, time of life, and the time of year.

Each season has specific oils that are the best massage oils for that season.

By oiling the body, we cleanse and nourish the skin, which is connected to the sense of touch.

When I first learned about oiling my body, I thought it was a strange practice, but I was going through a difficult period that made me open to trying it.

This practice of oiling the body changed my life.

It supported me through difficult transitions like the end of a relationship and overcoming trauma.

I believe, and many of my clients agree, that this daily oiling sets up a layer of protection around the body as it nourishes and grounds the nervous system and mind.

In Sanskrit there is a word "sneha" which means oil, and it also means love.

This practice of oiling the body is a ritual in self-love that is so needed and yet so absent in our culture.

The daily practice of abhyanga still supports me today, many years after my first introduction to it.

Keep reading to learn about the best massage oils for summer.

best massage oils: person massaging feet with oil

Summer, the season of pitta dosha

Pitta dosha, the dosha composed of fire and water, rules the summer months in the US.

If you are unfamiliar with the word dosha, it can roughly translate as constitution.

Vata is the dosha composed of the air and ether elements. It governs movement.

Pitta is the dosha composed of fire and water elements. It governs transformation.

Kapha is the dosha composed of the water and earth elements. It governs cohesion and building.

But dosha is much more than a way to describe one's constitution.

The doshas are the energies behind the systems within the body.

For example, when we pick up food to eat, that's the influence of vata dosha. Chewing is movement, so it is also caused by vata dosha. The saliva in the mouth is kapha dosha and the enzymes within the saliva that begin the process of digestion are pitta dosha. Swallowing the food is vata, the mucus system lining of the stomach is kapha dosha, and the enzymes in the stomach are pitta dosha.

You can see from this example how each dosha has responsibilities in the smooth working of the digestive system.

The same is true throughout all of the systems of the body, each dosha has specific jobs in each system related to movement (vata), transformation (pitta), and cohesion (kapha).

The seasons

India, the home of Ayurveda, has six different seasons, but in the US, most experts agree that we have three periods of time that correlate to a predominance of one of the doshas.

Summer is predominant in the fire and water elements inherent in pitta dosha.

best massage oils: a bonfire near a lake of water

Fall and early winter are predominant in the air and ether elements inherent in vata dosha.

Late winter and spring are predominant in the water and earth elements inherent in kapha dosha.

Accumulation, aggravation, and pacification of each dosha happen in different seasons.

Vata dosha accumulates during the summer, aggravates during fall/early winter, and then naturally pacifies in late winter/spring.

Pitta dosha accumulates during the late winter/spring, aggravates during the summer, and then naturally pacifies in the fall/early winter.

Kapha dosha accumulates during the fall/early winter, aggravates during the late winter/spring, and then naturally pacifies in the summer.


The specific date that your summer will begin and end will vary depending on the latitude and elevation of where you live.

The changing weather patterns that all locals seem to be experiencing lately will also have an effect.

best massage oils: coconut oil in a jar with a wooden scoop

Because of this, I often use different oils on different days during the transition between seasons.

The best massage oils differ from season to season depending on your constitution and other factors.

For example, on a warm spring day when spring is transitioning to summer, I will use a lighter, pitta pacifying oil. However, if it is a cool, rainy spring day, I might use a warmer oil to help pacify kapha dosha.

Robert Svoboda, in his book Prakriti: Your Ayurvedic Constitution, recommends using different oils depending on the season, climate, and individual constitution (Svoboda, 2119-2120).

An example he gives of choosing oil depending on the season is using cooling oils like coconut or olive oil during the hotter months and heating oils like sesame or mustard during the cooler months (Svoboda, 2119-2120).

An example he gives of choosing oil depending on the climate is using moisturizing oils like sesame and castor oil in dry climates and dryer oils like safflower in wet climates (Svoboda, 2119-2120).

According to Ayurveda, the skin digests the oil, so you don't want to put anything on your skin that you wouldn't put in your mouth.

Mineral oils, petroleums, and vegetable oils colored or scented with chemicals should not be used on the skin (Svoboda, 2132).

Best massage oils for summer

Here is a list of the best massage oils for summer with descriptions indicating which may be most suitable for you.

Athreya Herbs and Kottakkal are my trusted companies for the best massage oils.

1. Pinda oil

The list of ingredients for Pinda oil is relatively short compared to most Ayurvedic oils, but these ingredients are especially effective for joint inflammation and bone health and make it one of the best massage oils for summer.

This oil is quite thick and rich due to the castor oil and beeswax which may make it a little heavy on the hottest days of summer, but it also has cooling, pitta-pacifying herbs to help ease pitta.

Pinda oil is considered balancing for both vata and pitta doshas.

The ingredients are:

  • Manjistha--Indian madder root--Rubia cordifolia

  • Rala--Sal tree seed--Shorea robusta

  • Anantamul--Indian Sarsaparilla root--Hemidesmus indicus (one of my all-time favorite herbs!)

  • Eranda thailam--Castor seed oil--Ricinus communis

  • Tila thailam--sesame seed oil--Sesamum indicium

  • Madhucchista--Beeswax--Cera flava

Pinda oil's list of benefits:

  • promotes bone health

  • reduces inflammation

  • promotes joint health, reducing toxins in the joints

  • encourages healthy skin

  • soothes burning hands and feet

  • provides stress relief for the mind

  • improves blood flow in the joints and veins (Athreya)

  • reduces

    • burning sensations

    • burning sensations from varicose veins

    • burns

    • spasms

    • rheumatic pains (Ayurvemedinfo)

2. Brahmi oil

Brahmi oil is another simple oil that benefits both pitta and vata doshas making it one of the best massage oils for summer.

This is one of my go-to oils in the summer to help me from over heating. It's also great to use on the feet before bed to help pull the heat down and out of the body.

Its ingredients include:

  • Brahmi--water hyssop leaf--Bacopa monnieri

  • Guduchi--Heart-leaved moonseed stem--Tinospora cordifolia

  • Amalaki--Amla fruit--Emblica officinalis

  • Haritaki--Chebulic myrobalan fruit--Terminalia chebula

  • Vibhitaki--Myrobalan fruit--Terminalia bellerica

  • Tial Thailam--Sesame oil--Sesamum indicum

Brahmi oil helps to soothe pitta dosha while also having these benefits

  • soothes the mind

  • boosts cognitive functioning as well as memory and recall

  • promotes good sleep

  • cools the nervous system and brain

  • encourages mental and emotional well-being

  • rejuvenates hair

  • benefits the skin (Athreya)

3. Jathyadi oil

Jathyadi oil has a special affinity for the skin and for cooling pitta dosha, making it one of the best massage oils for summer.

This oil's ingredients include jasmine, neem, manjistha, and turmeric which are excellent herbs for skin health.

Jathyadi oil benefits include:

  • a healthy immune response against inflammation (Athreya)

  • radiant skin and healthy tissues (Athreya)

  • heals wounds, even non-healing wounds, quickly (ayurmedinfo)

  • maintains skin moisture (Athreya)

  • rebuilds skin tissue (Kottakkal)

  • aids in healing burns, blisters, and bite wounds (ayurmedinfo)

  • helps in the recovery of tissues and cells (Athreya)

  • reduces skin inflammation and burning sensations (Kottakkal)

  • promotes bowel movements when applied externally (Athreya)

  • reduces skin inflammation and redness (Netmeds)

  • improves skin infections such as eczema, cracked heels, and coxsackie disease (Netmeds)

  • helps heal and remove the discomfort of hemorrhoids and fissures (Netmeds)

4. Coconut oil

best massage oils: coconut oil in a jar, a broken coconut, and coconut flakes in a bowl with a wooden spoon

Coconut oil is light, cooling, and slightly less oily than other oils making it one of the best massage oils for summer.

The Sushruta Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic text, tells us that coconut oil is:

  • sweet

  • cooling

  • increases slimy secretions of the organs

  • takes a while to digest

  • helps in the elimination of stools and urine (Sushruta, 446)

Benefits of coconut oil for massage:

  • cools the body

  • promotes hair growth

  • improves the strength and quality of the hair

  • natural aphrodisiac

  • nourishes depleted tissues in the body

  • improves wound healing

  • pacifies pitta and vata dosha (EasyAyurveda)

4 Best Massage Oils for Summer and Easing the Heat

  1. Pinda oil

  2. Brahmi oil

  3. Jathyadi oil

  4. Coconut oil

Now that you understand a bit more about Ayurveda and the best massage oils for summer, you can begin oiling your body with these oils to see how they work for you.

If you need more information on how to oil your body, read Self-Love with Abhyanga: Ayurvedic Massage.

If you would like to schedule an online seasonal consultation to learn more about how Ayurveda can benefit you and which of these best massage oils will be right for you, you can book one here:

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