It is a tool you are likely to use in nearly every massage therapy and bodywork session, yet it may not be a detail you think about too often. We’re talking about the lubrication you typically use on clients, as it can be an important element of a successful massage or bodywork practice, even if it seems like a minor component of your work.

One of the most popular options when it comes to bodywork lubricants tends to be massage cream, as opposed to massage oil, gel or lotion. Perhaps the popularity of massage cream can be attributed to the fact that many high-quality massage creams combine the best traits of all the other types of massage lubricants in one convenient product.

A good massage cream should provide the glide of a massage oil while at the same time offer the friction of a massage lotion. This blend of friction and glide suits a large number of massage therapists and bodyworkers well, as it can allow for smooth strokes as well as deeper work within the same session, all with the same massage lubricant.

There are so many variations of massage cream on the market today, so massage therapists and bodyworkers have a nearly endless selection to choose from when it comes to picking out the perfect product.

For those who wish to weave aromatherapy into the work, there are massage creams laced with essential oils, such as lavender or rosemary, or blends of scents that can be conducive to bodywork.

Massage therapists who want to bring added benefits to the table often can find these in specialized massage creams. Lubricants that offer aroma benefits are but one example. There also are creams that promise luxurious moisturizing effects, along with anti-aging perks, such as skin firming. Then there are massage creams that can bring pain relief, with added ingredients such as menthol or Arnica montana.

However, it may be the massage cream that is content to take a back seat to your hands-on skills that is the right choice for a number of massage therapists and bodyworkers. These kinds of massage creams are no less useful when it comes to providing that perfect blend of friction and glide. The difference is, they do not have a scent or a major effect on the body when not applied in conjunction with healing touch.

These nonscented massage creams simply serve as the vehicle for the practitioner to provide the best possible application of his or her healing hands-on skills. When the client leaves such a session, it is far more likely he or she will be thinking of how wonderful the healthy touch felt, rather than the brand of massage cream.

Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with selecting a standout massage cream for your sessions. The wide variety of massage creams on the market exists because massage therapists and bodyworkers prefer different types of products for their session rooms.

With all that variety, however, it’s still good to remember that your hands-on skills are still the stars of the show.

—Brandi Schlossberg