From Swedish and deep-tissue massage to myofascial release and trigger-point therapy, there are so many different methods of healing touch. Among the professionals who call themselves massage therapists and bodyworkers, there are some who only specialize in one type of modality. It seems, however, that the vast majority of massage therapists and bodyworkers—especially as they progress in their careers—have built a “healing tool box” of sorts, developing skills to provide a variety of different touch techniques in order to meet the differing needs of each client.

It is a wonderful gift to be able to have several healing modalities “on tap,” so to speak, so that one can apply the type of touch necessary to help a client achieve his or her healing goals, whether that means less stress, alleviation of pain, release of chronic tightness or perhaps a combination of all of the above.

In the practical sense, however, one might wonder how a massage therapist or bodyworker can switch gears in a session, moving from one modality to another. One integral component of a bodywork session that can allow this to happen quite successfully is actually a detail that might, at first, seem rather mundane: massage cream.

The type of massage lubricant a touch practitioner uses often is based on the type of bodywork he or she plans to perform. For instance, if the session is to be based on a modality that uses long, gliding and somewhat lighter strokes, a massage oil might be the choice lubricant.

When a professional touch therapist wants the option to possibly switch gears to a different type of touch at any point during the session, then there is a good chance the practitioner will want to pick a massage cream as his or her primary lubricant.

The reason massage creams are so versatile is because they provide a combination of both friction and glide. In other words, a cream can be applied in a way that allows for long strokes, but also in a way that enhances more of the deep-tissue types of bodywork.

The combination of friction and glide that can be found in most massage creams is likely at the core of what makes this bodywork lubricant among the most popular. The various ways of actually applying massage cream, based on this trait of combined friction and glide, can add even more to its appeal for multi-modality sessions.

For example, if a massage therapist wants to lean more toward the glide aspect of a massage cream, for those long and smooth strokes, then he or she could simply apply more of the massage cream to that part of the client’s body. At the other end of the spectrum, if a bodyworker wants to tap into the friction component of massage cream, for deeper, more target-specific touch, then he or she could choose to use less massage cream in the necessary areas.

As you can see, massage cream is a versatile item, and one that likely has a place in one’s healing tool box, along with the various types of touch.

–Brandi Schlossberg