Native black cottonwood buds + native Douglas fir branches + homegrown peppermint leaves and soft stems + organic olive oil + 6 months brewing time all come together in this massage oil, which we've begun to use here to soothe our sore muscles. The idea for this particular oil came from the trees themselves.
Made seasonally and in small batches with trees we know, on land we know, and with the help of people we trust. This means it may or may not be available all year. Currently available in a 4-ounce size. We also offer in-person refills at reduced prices to people who stop by to visit the trees, dogs, cats, or me in person.
Tip: For added awesomeness, pair this massage oil with our Sore Muscle Rub soap. Shower or bathe with the soap, then, while your skin and muscles are still warm from bathing (though not still wet), rub the massage oil into your sore muscle(s). Aaaaaahh.
Why olive oil? And tips for using olive oil as massage oil...
- Care for planet, trees, and people. I use organic olive oil because of it's long history of loving humans/safe use with people and also this oil's well-established supply chains, which tend to be better for planet, trees, and people than most other oils used for body care today.
- Love. I love this oil, and the trees it comes from, and the people who devote their lives to its creation--people across many nation-state borders, beliefs, and persuasions.
- With olive oil, you cannot rush. This oil takes it's own sweet time with human skin. It doesn't disappear immediately. Rushing doesn't work. You may have to rub it into your muscles and skin for a longer period of time than you think you have time for. This slowing down to the oil's pace may feel slow or self-indulgent if you were raised not to center your body or punished for listening to and supporting your own body in the past. If you do rush, you'll likely end up with oil on your clothing, bedding, and/or furniture. Here, depending on which sore muscle we're massaging, we may change into old t-shirts or lay on old towels that we don't mind staining a bit with oil. Or rub it into feet outside and walk around in the grass for a while. Sometimes I'll rub muscles in my feet and then put an old pair of socks on and go to bed. Please take your time, rub the oil in thoroughly. I practice welcoming the idea that this long-loved oil from old trees knows that we are worth the extra time, even when we (or other humans) don't. And, if you do rush and end up with oil on valuable clothing, bedding, or furniture, clean them thoroughly as soon as you can so the oil doesn't set and stain. Unless stains don't bother you: if that's the case, go wild! ;-)
Ingredients: Whidbey windfall Douglas Fir branches (from Silly Dog Studios & walks in neighboring woods), peppermint leaves and soft upper stems (grown at Silly Dog Studios), and windfall cottonwood buds (from Mountain Tree Farm in Arlington and our friend Laura's farm on Whidbey) infused into organic extra virgin olive oil. The fir and peppermint are infused in olive oil for 6 to 8 weeks and the cottonwood buds for at least 6 months. Note: For those buying this oil from my studio in person, at your request, I will add a drop or two of fir, lavender, or rosemary essential oils in. I personally far prefer the smell and feel of the local plant-infused olive oils only, but a few people find the scent too subtle.
Storage, life of the product, and packaging: This oil comes in 4-ounce reusable, clear glass bottles with metal screw-top lids. Store your bottle in a cool, dry, dark place where direct sunlight never touches the bottle. We suggest using this massage oil within 12 to 18 months of purchase, because the only preservative is the nature of the plants (especially the cottonwood buds) themselves. Your oil may last longer than that, too, but if at any point it doesn't smell good or starts to look different, stop using it. Also, we've learned that plant-infused oils have minds of their own. They may ooze a little bit (oozing is part of their nature and charm), and you may find that a tiny bit of oil pools under the bottle itself, so we recommend storing the bottle on a hard surface--like stone or metal or glass--that you don't mind getting a teeny bit of oil on.
Refills: If you live on, or visit, Whidbey Island, we refill these bottles for $13 (4 oz) here at Silly Dog Studios. Some of the expense of making them is in the special apothecary bottles, the shipping to get the bottles here, and in the oil-proof labels that, as it turns out, are really damn pricey. Hugs (and yay!) to anyone willing to reuse their bottles!
Let's not let a lack of money stop us: Remembering, strengthening, and honoring relationships among local people and neighboring trees and plants is my love. Money isn't. So if you live on Whidbey and can't afford the original first bottle, reach out to me. There are less fancy jars and bottles hanging around here (they tend to follow me home or show up on my doorstep much like plants do), and if you're willing to accept the oil in a less fancy jar or bottle and with a hand-written label (that is likely to run when oil hits it), then you can skip straight to the refill price. And if you can't afford the refill price, I can show you how to make a similar infused oil at home for yourself.