Laying hands on others in a healing manner is the daily work of massage therapists and other types of bodyworkers. The skilled touch of a practitioner is at the heart of a successful session and a satisfied list of loyal clients. However, there is an array of smaller details that make for both smiling clients and confident massage therapists.

One of those details is massage cream.

Finding and using the perfect massage cream on clients should not only make the body on the table feel better, but it should also help the massage therapist apply his or her skills in the best way possible.

Most bodyworkers will find a massage cream they’re happy with and stick with it for years. Others choose to try new products when their supply runs out. Still, other practitioners keep a wide variety of massage creams on hand to tailor each session to the individual client and the concerns he or she is presenting.

For those bodyworkers who are looking to try a new massage cream or are still hunting for the one they will be happy to use every day, it’s important to clarify what exactly you want in a massage cream before you begin researching and testing different ones out.

One of the main reasons massage therapists often choose cream is due to its texture, consistency and glide. Massage cream tends to provide a smooth glide, while at the same time retaining the right amount of resistance. This combination typically allows the bodyworker to glide his or her hands easily over the client’s skin and muscles, stopping to focus on one area and penetrate muscle tissue more deeply when necessary.

If such a consistency sounds perfect for the work you do, then you’re on the right track as you search for massage cream. The next aspect to consider is your own sensitivity to certain ingredients, as well as the sensitivity of the majority of clients.

For example, if you are at all irritated by synthetic fragrances or a specific element that may be present in massage cream, you will obviously want to avoid any products that contain that element or synthetic fragrance. Remember, the massage cream you select will be covering your hands nearly every day, so it’s key to find one that feels good to you and your clients.

Fortunately, there are plenty of fragrance-free, as well as hypoallergenic, massage creams on the market. There are even products that are free from nut oils and parabens, so it’s entirely possible to purchase a massage cream that is pleasant on even the most sensitive skin.

Another point to consider is whether the ingredients in the massage cream were grown or manufactured organically, as this may be important to certain earth-friendly massage therapists and comforting to their clients  as well.

If you and the majority of your clients actually enjoy scented massage creams, then picking the right scent will be one more major decision. Be sure to research the effects of various aromas to find the right one for your daily practice.

—Brandi Schlossberg