If you’ve been a massage therapist or bodyworker for any length of time, it’s likely you’ve tried various lubricants in a quest to find the product that best suits you and your clients. From massage lotions and gels to creams and oils, there’s certainly a wide array of products manufactured for massage therapists and their clients.

If you did take the time to test out these different massage lubricants, there may have been a few you quickly decided against and others you liked in some ways but not in others.

For instance, you may have loved the fact that massage lotion had just the right amount of “stick” for deep-tissue massage, but disliked the lack of glide when you weren’t penetrating problem areas.

In terms of massage oil, many bodyworkers thoroughly enjoy the slick and smooth glide across a client’s skin that’s provided by oils, but dislike the lack of traction when it comes to working deeply on one spot of the body.

This is typically where massage cream comes into play. Massage cream seems to blend the best of most lubricants into one versatile product. With a massage cream, you may be more likely to get a good glide across the skin and the “stick” needed to do focused deep-tissue work as well.

One of the reasons massage cream is so popular is because it is almost like a massage lotion and oil combined. In fact, most massage creams contain one or more different oils, so you and your clients are still reaping the benefits of the topical application of those oils to the skin.

Jojoba oil, for example, is a popular ingredient in both blended massage oils and massage cream. According to the International Jojoba Export Council, jojoba is a natural carrier of vitamin E and a natural antioxidant. The ingredient also is hypoallergenic and easily absorbed.

Sesame oil is another slick element common in the manufacture of massage lubricants—both oils and creams. As a source of vitamin E, sesame oil brings with it the benefits of this vitamin, which has been shown to improve moisture in skin, reduce the appearance of stretch marks and help prevent age spots. Vitamin E also has antioxidant activity, which means it serves as a tool in anti-aging.

Scanning the label of massage cream, another oil that’s quite likely to show up is grapeseed oil. A byproduct of the wine industry, this oil also is almost odorless, easily absorbed by the skin and noncomedogenic, which means it does not block the pores of the skin.

With mildly astringent properties, grapeseed oil itself may help tighten and tone skin, producing satisfying, anti-aging effects. This oil also serves as an excellent emollient, thoroughly moisturizing skin. In addition, grapeseed oil contains potent antioxidants that may help decrease sun damage, as well as damage from free radicals.

It’s easy to see why massage oils often are blended into massage creams, for they each seem to bring benefits all their own.

—Brandi Schlossberg