Consider picking out massage creams for use in your daily sessions the same way you pick out other tools and items for your massage therapy or bodywork practice—with your own personal sense of taste and style, coupled with your goals and desires for the hands-on work you provide.

You want to make sure that the massage cream or creams you choose to use on a regular basis reflect who you are as a massage therapist or bodyworker, mesh well with the type of techniques you tend to use and will help enhance the results of each session, client after client. These are the main traits one might look for in a high-quality massage cream.

Let’s start with the need for a massage cream that reflects who you are as a massage therapist or bodyworker. Basically, this means that any massage cream you choose to use should be in harmony with your own core values. It should be the kind of massage cream you would want used on you if you were on the table instead of above it.

For example, quite a few massage therapists and bodyworkers value products that are eco-friendly, from the way they are processed and the ingredients they contain to the packaging they are shipped in and the manufacturer’s overall business practice. If you are one of the many hands-on healers who strongly values “going green,” then it would be important to seek out a massage cream that meets this criteria.

A second important aspect of a high-quality massage cream is the ability of this cream to mesh well with the types of techniques or modalities you put to use in your practice. This is an incredibly important point when it comes to picking the right massage cream. You want to find a massage cream that works with your strokes, and never against them.

For instance, if you often provide your clients with a lighter, more sliding brand of touch, covering larger areas of the body, then you would want to find a massage cream that gives you a nice amount of glide. A massage cream with too much friction or “stick” would work against you when it came to those longer, lighter, smoother strokes.

However, one of the best attributes of massage creams, in comparison to other types of lubricants, is the fact that massage creams usually offer practitioners a combination of both friction and glide. That said, certain massage creams may have more of one than the other, so it is still important to search around and test a few out on family or friends.

A final point to keep in mind when purchasing a massage cream for your practice is that you may want a massage cream that does “double duty,” providing each client with specific benefits, some of which may enhance or further the results of the session. One popular example is a massage cream that contains Arnica montana or menthol, to help speed relief to aching muscles and joints.

–Brandi Schlossberg