For many clients of massage therapy and bodywork, when it comes to booking a session, there quite often is a pressing complaint in terms of muscle aches and pains. Clients who are suffering from stiffness in various regions of their bodies typically can’t wait to get on the session room table to receive some much needed hands-on healing.

Among practitioners of this healthy touch, the frequent goal is to relax, soften and unwind these tight muscles, to the point the client can leave the appointment feeling markedly better—and, hopefully, progress even further in healing in the days after the massage therapy or bodywork session.

It may be important for massage therapists and bodyworkers to consider every possible way in which they may be able to enhance the healing effects of these common appointments, where clients present with one or more specific regions of aches and pains. One tool that, when used properly, can be highly helpful in softening stiff muscles is temperature-based massage cream. These are massage creams that offer either hot or cold sensations on sore spots of a client’s body.

Of course, a massage therapist or bodyworker should have a thorough knowledge of the best ways to use these warming or cooling massage creams. Equipped with such information, the professional touch practitioner can bring about a nice list of benefits to the client with pressing aches and pains.

As a general rule, warmth is usually used when it comes to addressing areas of pain that are more chronic, and cold is usually used for more recent injuries or acute pain. There are, however, cases when the rule might get flipped, so make sure you know enough about each client and his or her condition to apply the right type of temperature-based massage cream.

Although none of these creams will have an effect on a thermometer, each one will create a sensation of either hot or cold, warm or cool, on the skin of your clients. This is achieved through the use of ingredients, such as menthol, that cause the sensation of a change in temperature when applied to the skin.

In other words, instead of using an ice pack or other frozen tool to apply cold to your client, and instead of using hot rocks or other heated items to apply warmth to your client, massage therapists and bodyworkers have the options of using massage creams that cause the same sensations.

One wonderful aspect of these massage creams is the level of hot or cold often can be adjusted quite easily, simply by applying less or more of the massage cream. For example, if a client presents with muscles that are tight nearly everywhere on his or her body, a massage therapist could blend a certain amount of a warming massage cream with another lubricant in order to effect a slight warming and relaxing sensation all over the body as the session progresses.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to use massage creams that bring about warm and cold sensations. Take the time to get educated on how to use these temperature techniques.

–Brandi Schlossberg