There seem to be two distinct categories of massage cream on the market today for professional massage therapists and bodyworkers. The first category contains those massage creams that seek only to enhance the touch therapy taking place in the session room—nothing more, nothing less. The second category comprises massage creams that, in addition to enhancing the hands-on skills of the practitioner, bring some of their own benefits to the table, such as notable hydration, aromatherapy, pain relief and so on.

The reason these two categories of massage cream exist is because they both can hold great appeal for the professional massage therapist or bodyworker, depending on the touch therapist’s own preferences and the nature of his or her practice and client base. There also seems to be a popular sort of in-between category when it comes to massage creams, which would be those massage creams that both enhance the touch therapy and bring their own benefits to the table—but the benefits are quite subtle and would not be noticed by the client.

In a way, this in-between category of massage creams might be better viewed as a sort of branch off the first category—massage creams that allow the practitioner to provide his or her modality in an optimal manner, with no overt benefits to the client. The reasons many professional massage therapists and bodyworkers may choose to use massage creams from this category can vary.

For starters, a practitioner who chooses one of these more subtle massage creams may wish to keep the focus fully on his or her hands-on techniques throughout each session. When a massage cream has overt characteristics, such as a scented essential oil or pain-relieving ingredient, it can pull a bit of the spotlight off the pure benefits of the massage therapy or bodywork that client has come in to receive.

Another example of why practitioners might choose these more subtle massage creams could be tied to the nature of the practice. For instance, if a massage therapist is working in a more medical setting, he or she may not feel that a scented or more spa-like massage cream is a good fit for that setting. In some cases, massage creams with these potentially beneficial characteristics could even be contraindicated for clients with certain medical issues.

As for that other distinct category of massage creams—the ones that do provide notable benefits to clients—the basic reason practitioners may choose these kinds of massage cream would be to bring an added value to each session. For example, by using a massage cream that contains one or more essential oils, the client would be receiving the benefits of the touch therapy and the added value of aromatherapy as well.

Both of these categories of massage cream certainly have their place in the realm of massage therapy and bodywork. It is up to the individual practitioner to decide what kind of massage cream will be the best fit for his or her practice and clients. Many practitioners may even enjoy keeping massage creams from both categories on hand.