A massage or bodywork session tailored to the specific person on your table often is more satisfying to the client than a massage routine practiced the same way on every body that walks through your door. Of course, as a hands-on practitioner, there are certain techniques you may wish to apply to a majority of your clients, as these skills likely have proven highly effective over the years.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make each session special for the person who has come to you for relief from mental stress, muscle aches, acute pain or a combination of all of the above and more.

Your skills in the realm of touch therapy always will be the foundation of a great bodywork session, and that includes your ability to communicate with clients and read their responses to your touch. In addition to this hands-on work, however, there are several other ways to tailor each session to suit the needs of a client.

One method of making your massage stand out above all others is to choose specific lubricants for certain parts of the body that may benefit from different ingredients. For instance, selecting a massage cream that has a texture you like best for gliding along the major muscles of the body is great idea. You should choose this product based on the ingredients it contains, whether or not it has a fragrance and other such details.

Then there are parts of the body that may require a massage cream with different benefits. The face of your client is one such area, for you may wish to use a massage cream that will not only provide the proper glide, but also bring other perks to the facial skin of your client.

Many massage therapists choose to end each session with a relaxing facial massage, and some bodyworkers offer touch therapy specifically for the face. This type of touch typically aims to relieve tension in the face, including the muscles of the eyes and jaw area.

Massage creams made for the face differ from overall creams in that they include special ingredients for this more sensitive skin, and these ingredients often offer look-good, feel-good benefits.

For instance, a facial massage cream may contain ingredients that help firm and soothe the skin, increase collagen and elastin, and help repair damage—all while you massage stress from the face.

Other body parts that may benefit from a different kind of massage cream are feet. Most adult feet are a bit on the tough side, perhaps with cracked, calloused heels and edges. In this case, extreme moisture is called for in a massage cream. Look at the list of ingredients on the label to see if a pedi-based massage cream contains such components as shea butter and aloe vera oil, which both serve as wonderful moisturizers.

Marine elements also seem to have a special place in massage creams made to treat the feet and lower legs. Often derived from sea plants, such as kelp and algae, active marine ingredients typically contain a wealth of vitamins and minerals reported to boost circulation, assist in detoxification and provide overall support for healthy skin.

—Brandi Schlossberg