Asked by TimS55 Feb 2010
I have the task of writing a report contrasting the use of 3 differing massage mediums (oil, talc & cream). Do you have any input on this subject. Also how the differing mediums effect clients that are both hairy & non hairy.
Thanks for answering - your answer appears below
SethLevine Feb 2010
Here is a little input for you on the subject of massage lubricants, without going into too much detail. These are some generalisations on the subject. Each Massage Therapist will have their own opinion and preferences depending upon their style and technique. There are countless brands and blends of oils and lotions/creams, each with their own unique qualities however in general oil is very useful for achieving that glide that is so nice for Swedish relaxation massage where most of the strokes are superficial to medium depth and a primary goal is to stimulate the Parasympathetic Nervous System to induce a relaxed state of being. Oil is of course not limited to these techniques and when used more sparingly can very easily create a feel that has less glide and more drag so as to allow stokes to engage the muscles and the fascia that surrounds all the various tissues of the body. There are dozens of different oils to choose from (not going into that here) and many clients may have certain sensitivities to some or even many of them.
Massage Creams vary also but in general they give a bit more drag once they absorb into the skin a bit and are great for engaging the muscle tissue and the fascia for deep tissue or myofascial work. Lotions are usually a bit slicker than creams but when used sparingly are also useful for engaging the body tissues. Some clients my also have some sensitivities to these products.
In certain cases of sensitivity to oil or cream based products Talc can be a very nice option. Few clients typically have sensitivity to Talc and it is great for those clients who don't like the slickness of oil or lotion on their skin.
Some Myofascial and Deep Tissue work is done with little or even no lubricant at all depending upon the slickness of the individual clients' skin.
All these types of products usually work great for people with little or no hair on their bodies. However for those clients who are very hairy it is best to try different things until you find something that works for you and your client. Don't be afraid to ask your client for their input. You may want to demonstrate some options to find out which one they prefer. It's a fine way to give your client control of the massage experience. Check in with them to see if your choice of lubricant is comfortable for them.
From my personal experience with very hairy clients, a mix of oil and lotion seems to work great. It gives enough glide and enough drag to engage the tissue without creating much if any pull on the hairs. There are products available that are already a mix of oil and lotion. I just mix as I'm working . For me it's easier. To prevent hair pulling by using oil alone usually requires more oil than would be functional for effective massage. This much oil alone gets too slimy to be comfortable for a client and far to glidey to facilitate effective engaging of muscle tissue and fascia. Talc is also a fine option to prevent hair pulling on some very hairy clients, however for me it seems to lack a certain contact quality that I personally prefer. Also, it can be a bit challenging to use oil or lotions/creams on some areas of the body and switch to talc on just the hairier areas. So if you're using talc you may want to use just talc and nothing else.
These are just a few ideas. Ever"body" is different and will have different experiences with this situation. Hope this was helpful..
SilverHand Feb 2010
SethLevine has covered the topic rather well and I would only add that hair can be an issue of personal embarrassment for some clients. Special care during intake interviews can help avert uncomfortable dialogue for the client once on the table. Regardless of the lubricant choice always keep respect for the client in mind.
serbugabi Mar 2010
I actualy got to the point where I use coconut oil on 99% of my clients. I only have 2 people who are sensitive to it and they break out, so with them I have to switch to cream or lotion. Oil works great in most circumstances, whether you are workin deep or swedish. Most people use it to hydrate their bodies and hair anyway, so it is a lot healthier, and it has no added additives. Lotion absorbs into the body too fast for my comfort, and I have never used talk on anyone. I had no idea you could do that, although I think that could be a huge mess and very uncomfortable. Not one of my favourites, unless I fill my husband's shoes with it. As far as I know, it is good to absorb moisture and smell. In that case you could probably use baking soda and get the same effect. Just joking! Anyway, I hope it helps a bit.
scole Mar 2010
Oil is best for hairy clients, because hair just soaks up lotion. I use cream because it gives a glide, but its not slippery or greasy and it last long. I don't have to keep in re applying. Lotions tend to be more wet and you have to re apply more often but give a great slip for swedish massage. I tend to do more deep tissue and as I said before the cream works best for that. Even gel works great. Its a combination lotion and oil and it seems to last long and works well on hair as well. I have never used talc so I cannot help you on that one.
Martha Mar 2010
Oil is the best medium to use in massage i think. Even with clients that are hairy it just gives you a good slide.
Talc might feel better to a client with a lot of hair but they are not going to get the complete benefit of a massage as the therapist can't put the same amount of pressure on than they could with oil.
Cream can be ok but soon absorbs into the skin and doesn't have the same effect and if they have no hair at all it can be too slippy.
EmeryMassageandBodywork Mar 2010
I have only used oil, cream and gel. Oil I like for hotstone, cream I like for all massages and the gel I used once and it was very very oily, maybe best for hairy clients.
TimS55 Feb 2010
Hypnosis Feb 2010
Coconut oil is my preference. I believe in the saying, you should only put on your skin what you would actually eat. All natural all safe.
Oakynleaf Feb 2010
I practice relaxation, deep tissue, myofascial release, and trigger point work. Whenever possible I go without lubrication. For relaxation I use a really nice Thunder Ridge Emu lotion and Bon Vital deep tissue cream. Again, very little, but enough to get a slow glide. I gave up on oil two years ago. Oil stains. My customers like the change.
Joons Mar 2010
To be honest, I mainly use oil so I can't really comment on talc and cream. But definitely using oil will make it easier to
massage hairy person, and it works perfectly well for non-hariy person. I believe talc can be too dry and make it harder to massage hairy ones.
Hope that helps..
Bracken2001 Oct 2010
Hi there I know this is late but I have just started using talc so I can get a grib on all meduims I can and its great to use on clients with greaser skin and if you use and pre-treaments like G-5 then its a must, It gives you a much better grib for picking up the muscle and adding in a deeper massage. Im not to keen on the feeling it leaves my hands in but it does the job and some clients even prefur it than oils or creams.