When you first begin your journey into sports massage you may be interested in trying a range of different products. Your choice may be down to cost, texture, durability, client feedback or personal preference.
Each medium has their own benefit and you might find you use different mediums when applying different techniques. The market is full of a range of products all claiming to increase workability or sensory benefits.
Generally the most popular choice used amongst massage therapists, they are well priced and there are a wide variety to choose from.
Lotions and creams tend to have a similar consistency but creams are thicker whereas lotion is more liquid based.
Lotions are best used on hair as it does not tend to matt and can offer more of a glide, lotion tends to go further for your money also.
Creams are helpful to use on tough areas of skin as they are more topical.
Both are non sticky and are much easier to clean up and wipe away. They are great for deep tissue and absorb slowly into the skin.
There are numerous brands to choose from with a variety of price ranges to fit into your budget a few examples are;
There are a variety of different oils, many have been fragranced to add a more relaxing and therapeutic feel for the client. Oil is easily absorbed into the skin and warms easily. It also goes a long way so is great to use on larger surfaces and provides an easier glide to your massage.
The disadvantages to using oil is that it may leave the client feeling sticky, it can be hard to clean off surfaces, can stain linen and is slippery if spilt on the floor.
Oil is reasonably priced and has a longer duration, many brands are available but you should always ask the client about allergies as some oils have ingredients that may irritate skin.
Wax is a lot thicker than the other mediums, it offers more control and less glide. When applying deep tissue into a specific muscle or using a friction technique you may find you are able to work with more control and less erratic movements. Wax can be more expensive for less amounts but you may find you use it less. Beeswax is a common ingredient and this has beneficial qualities as it preserves the wax and adds an antibacterial effect.
Although wax does not work well with hair and can cause matting which can be uncomfortable for the client. Many waxes can be almond based which needs to be checked with clients incase of allergies, wax is also less hygienic as they do not tend to come in a dispenser and a spatula needs to be used and kept sanitised between clients.
The more you practise and use different mediums you will find which one best suits your style, your budget or particular clients as not everyone is the same.
There are great start up packages available which may be worth looking into before you decide on one specific one to use.
Two of our very own Vector Alumni learners have given their feedback on what works best for them in practice. Depending on your treatments or the individuals you treat, the medium you use can vary.
In practice I tend to favour lotion. I find it lasts longer during full body massages and it’s reasonably priced. I often use Ktape to problematic areas after treatment and lotion is easily cleaned off the skin meaning the tape's glue isn’t affected. Lotion offers more of a glide when using dry cupping and I feel more control.I find Amazon great to order from as it arrives promptly and saves all previous ordered items.
Personally I find wax helps me keep good contact with the client’s skin. It warms up nicely on contact and you don’t need a great deal of it to get good coverage.