Picking out a staple massage cream—or several staple massage creams—for your practice as a professional massage therapist or bodyworker can be made easier if you have a list of “must-have” ingredients. If you go forth on your search for massage cream with such specifics in mind, it should be fairly simple to find a massage cream that successfully fits the bill.

If you have been working as a massage therapist or bodyworker for a certain length of time, knowing which ingredients you must have in your massage cream may be a matter of experience—the kind of knowledge you gather over time and through hands-on testing of a variety of massage lubricants.

However, if you do not yet have a list of “must-have” ingredients for your next massage cream in mind, then you can begin the conscious process of observing the traits of various massage lubricants and their ingredients, so you can begin to mentally build the list of the most desirable elements for your next massage cream.

What one massage therapist is searching for in his or her dream massage cream may be far different from what another practitioner would like to find. This is because the type of massage cream best suited to you and your practice is highly dependent on several different factors.

These factors can affect what kind of massage cream and ingredients will serve up the most satisfaction for you and your clients. One of the main ones is the type of massage therapy or bodywork you tend to practice most often. For example, if you usually perform deep-tissue techniques, then you will need a massage cream that contains ingredients that allow for more friction, rather than greater glide.

As another example, if you practice a form of bodywork with a focus on calming and relaxation, then you may feel it is important to find a massage cream that contains ingredients that can further that focus, such as soothing essential oils. If this modality means lighter and longer strokes, then you may also want a massage cream that allows for more slide and less stick.

Other factors that can dictate the ingredients you must have in your next massage cream are a bit more personal. For instance, if you happen to work in a spa or resort setting, or run your own practice with a spa-like twist, then you may want a massage cream that adds to the sense of pampering and luxury for each client.

This might mean finding a massage cream that comprises elements that are known for their rich moisturizing effects, such as shea butter. It could also mean finding a massage cream that brings anti-aging benefits to the table, such as a massage cream made especially for the skin of a client’s face, neck and decollete.

At the other end of the spectrum, you may run a massage therapy or bodywork practice that is geared more toward the medical end of the industry, working on athletes and clients recovering from injury. In this case, the main ingredient you may want in your next massage cream could be a pain-reliever, such as arnica montana or menthol.