Friday, March 21, 2014

Massage Oil, Massage Lotion or Massage Crème?

Massage oil, lotion and crème, all come under the category of massage lubricants. Massage lubricants, just like any other lubricant, are used to reduce friction, so as to allow your hands to smoothly glide on the skin of your client without causing you any discomfort. What type of massage lubricant to choose depends on several factors – personal preference, type of massage to be performed, and desired outcome.

Massage oil

Massage oils are the least viscous of all massage lubricants, and are free-flowing. Oils have been used for massages for thousands of years, and are time-tested. Almond oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil and jojoba oil are among the most popular. Oils do not contain any water, and hence are generally preservative-free. Since oils are liquids, they can easily spill and get messy. Oils can turn rancid, and it is recommended that you check the expiry date of the oil that you are using. Oils are also not absorbed by the body quickly. However, many massage therapists prefer using oils for massages due to various reasons: for long massages (60- or 90-minute massages), you have to come back to areas again and again. Since the oil just stays there (and is not absorbed quickly), it does not have to be replenished very often. This helps you in focusing more on the massage (and less on going back to the massage pump over and over again).

Massage lotion

Massage lotions have viscosity that is slightly higher than that of oils. Lotions have water added to them, and hence require some preservative to increase their shelf life. Lotions do not get as messy as oils, and a large part of it is generally absorbed into the skin. Hence, massage sessions that use lotions do not leave the body greasy and smelly, unlike an oil massage. Also, lotions do not stain your linens and clothes. However, since lotions absorb into the skin quickly, you need to use a much greater quantity of lotion to maintain the slickness of the skin.

Massage crème

These are the thickest, or most viscous, of all massage lubricants. These come in a tube or a jar, and are not pumpable. Hence, be doubly sure that you are using a fresh bowl to draw out the crème for your use. Some hygiene freaks, carry a massage crème of their own, and request the therapist to use it. Crèmes also have high absorption rate, and are easily absorbed by the skin. Crèmes do not leave the skin greasy, and are generally recommended for the face, and arms.

Depending on your own preferences and needs, decide on the massage lubricant of your choice. Remember that the lubricant just facilitates massaging, and should not be the real focus. Only a few considerations are sufficient to make the decision – the “oiliness” factor, care of linens, moisturizing effects and therapeutic properties.

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