One of the main aspects massage therapists and bodyworkers may consider when searching for the perfect massage cream is the way the lubricant performs, in terms of enhancing their hands-on routine.

Texture and consistency are important when it comes to choosing the massage cream you use on a regular basis in your daily practice. In fact, massage cream is a popular choice for a bodywork lubricant precisely because many touch practitioners like the fact massage cream provides a great combination of both glide and friction.

In other words, with the right massage cream, you should be able to slide your hands smoothly over a client’s muscles. However, if you choose to do deeper work on certain areas, that massage cream also should provide the friction necessary to stay in one place.

Aside from texture and consistency, there are other factors to take into account when searching for the right massage cream, including what the cream contains. After all, you’re not only going to be rubbing this lubricant into your clients’ skin, you’re also going to have it on your hands and forearms each time you conduct a massage or bodywork session.

This is where high-quality ingredients come into play. Few massage therapists or their clients wish to be coated in a massage cream full of synthetic ingredients. Many people in the bodywork field, which prides itself on natural health and wellness, will look for massage creams packed with elements straight from Mother Nature.

For instance, cocoa butter is highly hydrating, so that may be an ingredient you look for in a massage cream. Other natural elements, such as avocado oil or soy oil, can be great for soothing skin and improving its overall tone and texture. Fortunately, all of these ingredients can be found in Mother Nature and require little synthetic processing.

However, even if the ingredient label on your bottle of massage cream lists natural elements, such as those mentioned above, it’s important to see if it also lists chemicals or synthetic components as well. If so, you may want to veer toward a different massage cream that clearly states organic origins.

Parabens, in particular, are components you may wish to watch out for if you’re pursuing the all-natural massage cream. These preservatives aim to protect such products from a broad range of microbial growth, thereby protecting consumers and helping maintain the integrity of each product for as long as possible.

However, there is a reason many massage creams specifically exclude parabens from their ingredients, for these chemical preservatives have been linked to health issues, such as breast cancer and estrogenic activity.

Fortunately, consumer goods are required by law to declare ingredients on the label, and parabens are fairly simple to identify by name, for they usually include the word “paraben” itself.

As you search for the massage cream you’ll be proud and comfortable using in your daily bodywork practice, remember to consider what’s inside the cream itself as much as the lubricant’s texture and consistency.

—Brandi Schlossberg