The acceptance and awareness of the efficacy of massage therapy and bodywork has increased substantially in the last decade. Along with the explosion in popularity of noninvasive, hands-on healing, there also has been an explosion in the availability and diversity of tools and products made for the massage and bodywork session room.

This includes a huge expansion in choices when it comes to massage creams. There are so many on the market today that it sometimes may be difficult to decide which massage cream is the best for you and your clients.

There are massage creams made with essential oils, for those massage therapists and bodyworkers who wish to add an element of aromatherapy to their sessions, without having to mix the formula each time on their own. Within this category, there are aromas that aim to help clients achieve mental and physical states ranging from relaxation to rejuvenation.

There also are massage creams made with all kinds of natural ingredients, including elements derived from vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, nuts, seeds and so on. In one massage cream, the consumer might find oils from avocado or carrot, bioflavonoids from citrus fruits, butter created from shea nuts and perhaps more oil from grape seeds. These are only a few examples of the wide array of natural ingredients that often are blended into high-quality massage creams.

Of course, a large number of massage therapists and bodyworkers may wish to go in another direction entirely when it comes to selecting a massage cream. These professional touch therapists are looking for a massage cream that not only lacks all these “bells and whistles,” but also is free of any fragrances, preservatives and other such components, especially any synthetic ingredients.

This category of massage creams is typically geared toward more sensitive clients, but many massage therapists and bodyworkers choose to use these creams on nearly every one of their customers. Most often, the reason is these creams carry little risk of irritation, which always is good.

Another benefit of selecting a cream that is free of fragrances and other more specialized components is it will help the hands-on technique shine, rather than try to “steal the show.” In this way, the massage cream serves simply as a vehicle for enhancing touch therapy, rather than bringing its own set of perks to the table as well.

Certainly, there also are quite a few massage therapists and bodyworkers who find a more specialized massage cream to be ideal, whether it’s for aromatherapy purposes, additional moisturizing power, pain relief or other such benefits.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to picking out a massage cream. The key is to find a massage cream—or a few massage creams—that will help you provide the best possible services to each client. The practitioner’s personal style and knowledge of his or her client base most likely will dictate the types of massage creams he or she selects. Fortunately, there are plenty to choose from.

–Brandi Schlossberg