Experimenting can be one of the keys to success when it comes to creating a massage and bodywork practice that thrives. Throughout the years, professional touch therapists tend to experiment quite naturally, developing new favorite ways to use their hands—or feet—to create the ultimate session for each client.

There are other ways in which massage therapists and bodyworkers explore their fields in order to pin down the best combination of tools and techniques for many different types of clients. It is important to remember, of course, that this can be a “moving target” of sorts. New clients come in all the time; the needs of familiar clients change; advances occur in the field of touch therapy, including the products developed to assist the therapists; and the focus of the professional touch practitioner tends to alter with time as well.

For the above reasons, along with so many other possible variables, it is important to always keep exploring and experimenting. Stick with what works for a while, but do not close your eyes to what else is out there, for a different product, tool, philosophy or technique may come along that could take your practice in an exciting and expanding direction.

It seems especially important to begin a phase of reaching out, experimenting and exploring whenever you may feel a lull of sorts setting in, or any other signs that your passion for the daily work of hands-on healing may be waning.

Fortunately, this sort of exploring and experimenting does not need to be extreme. Getting a breath of fresh air into your session room and bodywork style does not mean you have to go learn a new modality or renovate your entire practice space. In fact, it is a good idea to start small, and then make other larger changes if necessary.

Begin with one tool that is nearly ubiquitous in the field of massage therapy and bodywork: massage cream. It may sound like a minor detail at first, but the kind of massage cream you choose to use, and the way you choose to use it, truly can alter each session with your clients.

For example, if you have long been using a standard, unscented massage cream, consider calling up a few manufacturers and asking them to send you samples of several of their latest massage creams. Sampling is a great way to try something new without having to invest too much money from the outset.

Ask to try a few massage creams that contain essential oils you think you and your clients might enjoy. See what it is like to work with an aroma in your lubricant, and ask your longtime clients for feedback.

You also can experiment with the amount of massage cream you dispense for certain sessions, or even for certain techniques within the same session. For instance, if you are doing a deep-tissue session, see what the strokes feel like with a little more massage cream—or a little less.

These are the minor ways in which you can tweak your daily work, so that it stays fresh and interesting throughout the years.

–Brandi Schlossberg