When one ponders a session of massage therapy or bodywork, perhaps the first and most prevalent thoughts are of the healing hands of the touch therapist meeting with tense and aching muscles. The mere thought may bring a sigh of relief to weary clients. The truth of the matter, however, is that there often is one small thing, or rather one substance, between the skilled hands of the massage therapist or bodyworker and the sore, stressed body of the client.
That substance is a massage lubricant. These lubricants are typically used in massage therapy and bodywork sessions to help enhance the various touch techniques employed by the practitioner. The fact that massage lubricants form the thin film between practitioner and client more than hints at the importance of quality when it comes to these creams, gels, oils, lotions and so on.
Among the most popular massage lubricants used by professional massage therapists and bodyworkers is massage cream. This kind of lubricant often blends together the best of several of the other lubricants on the market, which may account for the frequency of its use in the studios of touch therapists.
Instead of keeping a massage oil and a massage lotion on hand and switching between both lubricants as needed within one session, many massage creams bring the best attributes of both oils and lotions together for ease of use and enhancement of a diverse array of modalities.
For example, a client may present with incredibly sore shoulders after spending the weekend painting her living room. In addition to those aching shoulders, her whole body is tight and tense. In such a situation, a massage therapist or bodyworker may wish to provide deeper work on the shoulders and perhaps more gliding, soothing work on the rest of this client’s body.
With a high-quality massage cream on hand, this plan of action is entirely possible—without having to switch between oils and lotions. The massage cream could offer the stick, or friction, necessary for the deep work on the client’s shoulders. The same cream could also offer the slick, or glide, necessary for the more soothing, relaxing and lighter work on other areas of her body.
This versatility is due to the fact that manufacturers of massage creams aim to blend the gliding quality that oils provide and the sticking quality that lotions provide. Of course, depending on what brand or type of massage cream you choose to use, the amount of friction versus glide will differ. That is why it can be so important to experiment with a variety of samples in order to discover the massage cream that best fits with your own style of hands-on healing.
For instance, if you tend to practice deep work more often than light, gliding techniques, you may want a massage cream that offers a wonderful “stick,” but is also capable of giving that glide when needed. Remember, you can always turn up or down the “volume” on a massage cream by simply using more or less of this flexible lubricant.