A Study in Lubricants

By Laura Gordon

Making a decision about what lubricant to use in your practice is a process of exploration that will change and develop over time.
Why would you spend your time thinking about lubricants? For one thing it is one of three corner stones of your work. Those are your skills as a massage therapist, the massage table and linens you use, and the lubricants you apply directly onto your client. You will want to select lubricants that are not only easy to apply, are of good quality for the price but also are beneficial to the client and the work you will be doing on that client.
Included under the category of lubricants are gels, lotions, butters, creams, and oils. In this blog we are going to take a closer look into the makeup of gels and lotions leaving you breathlessly awaiting coverage of the rest of the lubricants in my future blogs!
Gels are generally opaque and either white or light yellow in color, will have a variety of components in its makeup, will be slightly more viscous than oil but can be applied with a pump dispenser. For a good gel look for natural ingredients including purified water, cold pressed seed oil, vegetable derived emulsifying wax and water dispersant, as well as Vitamin E.
Advantages: A small amount of gel spreads easily. The body absorbs it without feeling greasy yet absorption is slow allowing for longer massage time between applications. In addition, gels have a longer shelf life than oils.
Disadvantages: Like oils, gels can spill which is not favorable to walls or floors. Excess gel on the body, like oil, will rub off on clothing so clients need to be encouraged to bring older clothing to change into after the massage.
Lotions are thicker making it more viscous than gels making them tackier; they are generally white in color, made up of various elements and can be dispensed through a pump applicator or squeeze bottle. For a good lotion look for natural ingredients including vegetable extracts herbs such as chamomile, lavender, sage and witch hazel, paraben, Vitamin E and seed oils.
Advantages: Of all the lubricates, lotions are absorbed the fastest allowing the client to relax under the of the effleurage application followed by deep penetrating tissue work. There is little to no residue on the body at the conclusion of the work so cloths are not soiled.
Disadvantages: Because of its quick absorption into the body it is not a good product to use for full body, slow massage as it will pull and drag the skin. Lotion is not as expensive as other lubricants but more is needed for a massage.
Find a willing volunteer this week and explore the use of one lotion and one other lubricant preferably a gel that you do not normally use. Ivie Massage Supplies, 5837 S. Garnett (918) 254-2999, has a number of free samples they will be happy for you to take home with you to use, or you may already have them at home.In your comment describe what two products you used; what your experience was using them and your conclusion/opinion.


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