The beginning of each new year is the perfect time to look around and take stock of what you do or don’t like in terms of your massage or bodywork practice. Reflecting on the past year and the year to come is important in the quest to keep your daily work fresh and successful.

One great way to start is by exploring your session room with fresh eyes. Look at the room as if you were a first-time client, not the massage therapist or bodyworker who spends hours above the table. Check to see if a deep clean is necessary, if the paint or wallpaper looks a little shabby and if the lighting is just right or perhaps a bit too bright. After all, as trivial as they may seem, details such as these can mean the difference between a one-time client and a loyal client who books month after month.

Once you’ve taken the time to truly see the first impression given by your session room’s aesthetics, you can look at the tools you use every day in your work. For example, lay down on your own massage table and make sure it’s as comfortable as it was the day you bought it.

Next, get out the massage cream or creams you use on a regular basis. Study the labels on these products, and see if the ingredients used in each of your favorite creams still suits the mission and values of your massage or bodywork practice. In other words, if you try to provide a fully organic and natural experience for all of your clients, you’ll want to confirm there are no artificial fragrances or other synthetic ingredients in your massage cream, for example.

Even if you are still happy with the massage creams you use in your everyday work, now is a wonderful time to see what the market has to offer in terms of the latest and greatest products for massage therapists and bodyworkers. Each year, it seems manufacturers continue to innovate and improve on products in the realm of massage creams. Keep your finger on the pulse of these new products to be certain you’re offering your clients the best possible massage cream for when they relax on your table.

By frequently looking at massage creams on the market, you can rest assured that you’re using the highest quality massage cream in your daily work. In terms of massage creams for professional use, highest quality tends to mean the cream that allows you to perform your particular brand of massage or bodywork in the best possible way.

It also often means a massage cream that benefits your clients by bringing extra “perks” to the table, such as luxurious moisturizing properties, pain-relieving ingredients and other such benefits.

Beyond these aspects, a high-quality massage cream should also line up with your mission and values as a massage therapist or bodyworker, in terms of how and where the ingredients are cultivated and manufactured.

—Brandi Schlossberg