A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of joining BIOTONE at the New England Regional Conference in Framingham, Massachusetts. What a great show! It's always so much fun to talk shop with the attendees at conferences such as NERC.

Often the therapists who visit the BIOTONE booth have a "favorite" product and know exactly what they want. Others want to learn more about the variety and properties of the products BIOTONE has to offer before they make their choice. It is not unusual for practitioners to have a preferred type of product that they gravitate toward - oil, lotion, cream, butter, balm or gel. I always ask therapists what type of massage they provide and what the intent of their treatments are in order to help them determine what product best suits their needs.

It is important for a therapist to think about the intent of the session, as well as, client safety and comfort when selecting massage lubricants. If the client is experiencing muscle aches and pain, a product with Arnica or Glucosamine may be appropriate. For spot specific soreness, therapists may want to use a product with some analgesic properties such as BIOTONE’s Polar Lotion. Therapists also need to ask clients if they have any known allergies as both tree nut and peanut allergies are quite common.

This is important since many massage lubricants contain nut oils, although there are hypoallergenic seed based alternatives such as BIOTONE’s Advanced Therapy line. Additionally, practitioners who want to customize massage products with essential oils need to understand the properties and potential sensitivities of those products. Finally, therapists should consider what characteristics they need the massage lubricant to provide in order to fulfill the treatment goals of the session.

Ultimately, therapists can use any type of product for any type of therapy, but the key to maximizing product use is understanding the intent of the therapy they wish to provide and the inherent properties of the products they choose to use. For example, a practitioner who wants to incorporate a variety of techniques into a session may want start with long flowing strokes, but finish with slow deep tissue or trigger point techniques.

In this case, an oil may not be the best choice for the session since it will tend to stay on the surface of the skin. This property provides great glide for the opening movements, but could make it difficult to switch into deep tissue strokes if too much oil is applied. A lotion on the other hand tends to absorb more quickly leaving less product on the skin. This is great for deep tissue and trigger point techniques, but may not provide enough glide for flowing Swedish strokes without reapplication.

Creams, balms and gels tend to provide the properties of both an oil and a lotion giving them great versatility if applied in the right quantities. As a therapist works with a specific product they will learn how much is too much or too little to apply. Again, therapists can use any type of product for any type of therapy, but why not choose the best product for the intended purpose? Not only does this maximize a therapist’s effectiveness, but also saves them time, money and energy by reducing the likelihood of having to needlessly reapply or worse yet, wipe off excessive product.