Some people think that massage therapists are a perhaps a little too obsessed with lubricants. But you know, lubricants are one of the most important tools of the trade next to linens, liniments, and tables.
In school, they teach you about the Big Four: lotions, crèmes, oils, and gels. Generally, they provide you with a basic, but generous, stock of lubricants and just leave you to find your own way. Soon, you’ve been smeared with just about everything and have heard stories from all the instructors on why they prefer x or y lubricant and how they prefer to x or y apply it. For example, you’ve seen lomi lomi people basically take a handful or oil or crème and just SPLAT! it onto a back, and you’ve seen garden-variety lotion lovers walking around looking confident yet goofy with big dabs of the stuff on their arms because God forbid they should have to reach down and pump a bottle and concentrate on massage at the same time. Eventually, you begin to lean toward a particular lubricant for your own work, and then just when that gets easy, BANG! You’re out of school and have to choose a type and brand of your own. If you want oil, you can certainly have it: but do you want olive, emu, avocado, sesame, sunflower, apricot, or fractionated coconut? Scented or unscented? Organic or non-organic? Blessed-under-a-full-moon-by-a-Peruvian-shaman or non-blessed-under-a-full-moon-by-a-Peruvian-shaman? Biotone, Sacred Earth, Bon Vital, blah, blah, blah, etc ., etc.?? The possibilities can be mind-boggling. The resulting obsessive opinions are really no different than the parallel situations you see with artists (oils, acrylics, pastels, charcoal, pencil, etc.) or rural Southern bass fishermen (frozen corn, chicken livers, anything-you-can mash-together-with-peanut-butter, etc.)
Lately, since I’m even pickier than most, and tend to mix gel and lotion as I work (in different proportions based on skin type), I’ve been working with one that seems to be the best of all possible worlds for me: Soothing Touch Desert Bliss Massage Lotion. It has the “soak” of a lotion with the “glide” of a gel or an oil, perhaps because aloe vera gel is one of the ingredients. Anyone else want to weigh in on your own favorite?