Few people wish to wear the same clothing each day, eat the same meal over and over again, or consistently listen to the same song on repeat. This kind of repetition would likely result in boredom and perhaps even frustration. In some ways, however, professional massage therapists and bodyworkers engage in a similar form of repetitive behavior—using the same massage cream repeatedly, year after year, session after session.

Using the examples of clothing, food and music, it is no surprise a person might want to wear the same set of clothing, eat the same type of food or listen to the same music if these things are particularly pleasing to that person. Similarly, it is not surprising that when a massage therapist or bodyworker finds a massage cream he or she really likes, this massage cream begins to be used on a regular basis.

However, just like the clothing, food and music, using the same massage cream over and over again tends to become boring and predictable, which saps some of the pleasure you initially found when using that massage cream in the first place. It can also hold you back from noticing and exploring other possible massage creams for use in your practice.

Before you get into a rut with your one go-to massage cream—or even if you are already there—make it a point to bring a few new massage creams into your practice. This does not mean you have to give up your tried-and-true massage cream. It only means you have a couple rotating alternative massage creams that will help bring a new element into your practice.

The beauty of finding one or two new massage creams that you like—and then staying alert for other massage creams to try out in the future—is that this kind of thinking can inject your practice with all kinds of new ideas. You already know that your favorite massage cream is perfect for certain techniques, but this may be keeping you tied into using those techniques or whole session protocols that may have grown a bit stale.

With a new massage cream, you may find yourself inspired to create a new kind of session. For example, your tried-and-true massage cream may be unscented, so you might decide to try out a massage cream that contains lavender essential oil. This, in turn, may motivate you to add a new option to your practice menu: aromatherapy massage. From there, you may feel compelled to create a massage routine that will best mesh with the concept of aromatherapy massage, including some new techniques and music.

As another example, you might decide to try a massage cream that contains pain-relieving ingredients, such as menthol or arnica montana. In this case, you might choose to offer a new option on your practice menu for clients who are specifically seeking massage therapy for pain relief. You may also choose to use this new massage cream in conjunction with your old favorite, applying it only to those areas of the client’s body where he or she is reporting more acute pain.