One of the traits of massage cream that makes this particular category of bodywork lubricant so popular is its texture and consistency. With a massage cream, rather than a lotion, oil or gel, massage therapists and bodyworkers can typically perform a wide range of touch techniques without having to stop and switch lubricants.

For example, most massage creams provide enough glide for light, seamless bodywork sequences. The touch practitioner can slide smoothly over the client’s muscles using this type of lubricant. However, massage creams also boast the ability to allow for deeper, more penetrating types of touch.

This is because massage creams bring a bit of friction to the table, right along with that smooth glide. Therefore, if the client has an area of pain or tightness, it’s fairly simple to stop and work that spot more deeply if needed when using a massage cream.

One might consider massage cream to be a sort of “all lubricants rolled up into one” type of product, which makes stocking the practice room all that much easier. Although it may be a good idea to keep other types of bodywork lubricants on hand, in case an individual session calls for something specific, most client appointments can be handled with a high-quality massage cream.

Of course, there are many choices when it comes to massage cream, so you may decide to purchase several different types of this “all in one” lubricant, to provide variety and options at your bodywork practice.

For instance, you may wish to keep one massage cream on hand that’s hypoallergenic and free of all fragrances, as well as any synthetic ingredients. This type of cream should be well tolerated by nearly every client. For those clients who are particularly sensitive to scent or synthetic materials, it will be important to be able to offer this option.

If you enjoy blending aroma into your bodywork sequence, it’s possible to do so without purchasing another tub of massage cream. In fact, you could find your favorite aromas for bodywork and purchase them in the form of small bottles of essential oils. Then, if a client enjoys aroma and is not sensitive to scent, you can simply blend a few drops of the essential oil into the massage cream you’re using during the session.

Another category of massage cream you might consider keeping on hand is one that contains a pain-relieving ingredient, such as Arnica Montana or menthol. This could enhance those sessions in which a client is suffering from acute pain in one or more areas of the body.

Another benefit that certain types of massage cream can bring to the table is hydration of the skin. Not many clients would object to leaving a massage session with smoother, softer, moisturized skin. Consider this when you’re searching for options in massage cream, especially if you live in a region that’s cold, windy or simply dry for a good part of the year.

As you can see, although most massage creams tout the benefits of both smooth glide and friction for deeper work, there still are choices to be made when it comes to choosing the lubricant that best suits your clients.

—Brandi Schlossberg