As the field of massage therapy and bodywork has grown steadily in recent years, so have those industries dedicated to providing touch practitioners with tools and knowledge they need to do the best job possible.

This can be viewed as an extremely positive trend. Not only does it reflect the fact that more and more people are seeking professional healthy touch, but it also means there is more for massage therapists and bodyworkers to choose from when it comes to training, tables, techniques, music, linens and so much more.

One industry that has exploded right along with the massage and bodywork field is the industry that manufactures massage creams. These days, touch therapists have a near limitless array of massage creams to choose from in order to meet their clients’ needs.

Of course, this too is a good thing, but having so many options can, at times, make picking the best product increasingly difficult.

A good beginning is to have narrowed your lubricant choice down to massage cream, rather than a massage oil, gel or lotion. Massage creams are among the most popular lubricants, for they are crafted in order to provide a combination of both “slip” and “stick,” or friction and glide, allowing the bodyworker to customize his or her sessions.

Once you have settled upon the category of massage creams, the decision about which product is right for you and your practice might become a bit more challenging. That’s because there are all kinds of massage creams available.

There are massage creams blended with a long list of different essential oils. There are massage creams that contain pain-relieving elements, such as menthol or Arnica montana. There are massage creams made especially for certain parts of the body, such as the face or the feet. There are massage creams that contain all organic ingredients, grown, harvested, processed and packaged using methods that are plant-friendly. The list goes on and on.

Perhaps your strategy in selecting a massage cream could begin with what you don’t want in your product, in order to gain a more narrow focus. For example, you may wish to purchase only those massage creams that don’t contain parabens. In this case, begin by looking for paraben-free products. Most massage creams made without parabens will display this prominently, but a quick glimpse at the cream’s list of ingredients should tell you just as quickly whether it contains parabens.

Another element you may not want in your massage cream is any type of scent, especially if that scent is synthetic. Clients may be sensitive to certain scents, or simply not like them, which can be avoided altogether by selecting a massage cream free of fragrances and keeping your session room scent-free, too.

However, it may not be the scent so much that you hope to avoid, but only those fragrances that were blended in a laboratory setting, rather than distilled straight from Mother Nature. In that case, do a little research to make sure the massage cream contains pure essential oils.

Brandi Schlossberg