Massage Creams Offer Diverse Natural Benefits
Perfectly dimmed lights, calming music, the soft embrace of fresh blankets, the support of a well-made massage table—attention to such details can elevate a good massage to an incredible healing experience. Although the power of the massage therapist’s personal touch is at the heart of each bodywork session, the tools he or she uses to practice massage serve as an extension of that sought-after touch. Inside almost every massage therapist’s primary toolbox is one extremely important product—massage cream. The type of massage cream therapists choose to use typically depends on the client’s preferences and condition.
Pain is one major reason people seek massage, and a pain-relieving cream can serve to enhance the hands-on effects of a session. Read the list of ingredients on a natural pain-relieving cream, and you’re likely to find the active ingredient is Arnica montana. This mountain plant, common to the Northwest US and Central Europe has long served a pain-relieving role in homeopathic medicine.
Besides Arnica, menthol is another ingredient you might find on the list of a pain-relieving cream’s active components. Menthol can be manufactured synthetically or derived naturally from mint oils. It’s widely used to relieve minor sore throats, and it has the same effect on sore muscles.
While menthol and Arnica are the heavy hitters in pain-relieving massage creams, there are lots of components that could make up a salve to soothe sore muscles. For instance, a pain-relieving cream might also contain extracts of ginger, violet leaf, eucalyptus, wintergreen or rosemary—all known to relieve common aches and pain.
Massage creams can also be infused with vitamins and extracts of herbs, fruit or other plants. Mother Nature not only offers analgesic ingredients, but she also provides a wide array of natural substances for massage that improve circulation, hydrate the skin, calm a worried mind and alleviate fatigue.
“The goal is to give your clients a great experience that meets their goals,” said Jean Shea, founder and CEO of BIOTONE and the formulator of the company’s products. “Those goals could be different for each person, as one client may want pain relief, and another may want relaxation, stress relief and pampering.”
For the client who wants to walk away from the massage table with smooth, hydrated skin, one of Mother Nature’s wonders is sea kelp, Shea said. She also listed Aloe vera, Roman chamomile, clover blossom, blue malva, carrot oil, wheat germ oil and avocado oil as key ingredients in massage creams that aim to soothe and soften skin.
Natural ingredients have many other healing and pampering properties for the skin. Vitamin E also plays an important role in massage creams: It has anti-oxidant effects and promotes healthy skin so powerfully that it is often used to reduce scarring and stretch marks.
Beyond the skin, plant extracts in massage creams can help produce a desirable effect on a client’s mental state, especially in conjunction with healing touch. Lavender, widely known to have a calming effect, is a popular ingredient in massage creams. Cucumber is also soothing to both body and mind, while rosemary, Bay Laurel and lemon peel can have a rejuvenating, stimulating effect that helps alleviate fatigue.
A natural ally
By carefully selecting massage creams to meet client goals, the practitioner can rest assured that Mother Nature is on her side when it comes to providing memorable, healing bodywork.