Massage creams are used for a variety of purposes. In massage therapy, they can be lubricants or used for aromatherapy, pain relief and various skin conditions. Massage therapists use a variety of creams depending on the type of massage and the condition and preferences of the massage recipient. Therapists also develop personal preferences for which creams work best with their type of massage. Quality massage creams include natural ingredients that are good for the skin and do not have synthetic ingredients.
Pain-relieving creams that include capsicum, an ingredient from peppers, are used to soothe muscle pain, joint pain and other painful conditions. Holland-Frei Cancer Medicine lists therapeutic massage with capsicum cream as a complementary therapy for cancer patients. Capsicum’s ability to stimulate blood circulation makes it a popular ingredient in creams for scalp and body massage.
The American Cancer society promotes the use of peppermint oil in massage creams to ease muscle pain, soreness, arthritis, rheumatism and neuralgia.
Massage creams used as lubrication for massage include jojoba oil or grapeseed oil as the main ingredient. Jojoba oil is made of fatty acids and is a good skin softener and moisturizer. Jojoba oil is similar to the sebum secreted by human sebaceous glands. Grapeseed oil is another antioxidant-rich oil; it is used in massage creams as a humectant, which draws moisture to the skin. Grapeseed oil contains vitamin E and is non-allergenic, which makes it useful for people with sensitive skin.
Massage and aromatherapy work together to soothe or stimulate, depending on the type of oil used in the massage cream. The American Cancer Society recommends aromatherapy massage for cancer patients to relieve stress and reduce nausea and depression. Different essential oils can be added to massage cream bases to dilute the concentrated oils. For example, lavender is used for relaxation. Rosemary stimulates circulation and is used for scalp massage.