Although it’s true that bodyworkers use lubricants to be able to easily glide across tissue without causing discomfort, more often we use lotions, oils and creams out of habit.
As an example, when I learned reflexology, I was taught to work ‘dry’. When I learned how to give a Swedish massage it was using an oil; connective tissue and neuromuscular therapy, a butter. It’s what I was taught and how I carried on.
You may have been shown something different. No matter what though, we could all give a little more conscious thought to the use of lubricants so that we can make our work easier and more effective, because too much lubricant (the word means ‘slippery’) decreases real contact.
I still prefer to offer reflexology without lube; I can distinguish between tissue changes better and feel like I am making better contact with my client as well. Anointing the feet with oil or butter at the end has become a luscious way to end the session for me.
Maybe we might better serve our clients if we reduce the amount of lubricant we use to just enough to reduce friction but still allow for ‘meaningful contact’. After all, that is one of the main reasons people seek us out, isn’t it?