Massage & Bodywork

January/February 2010

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ten for today BY REBECCA JONES TOPICAL ANALGESICS Nothing beats a massage for working the kinks out of tired, aching muscles. But sometimes, something more than the therapeutic touch of a hand is needed. Topical pain relievers— whether in the form of creams, gels, lotions, or oils—can be useful tools in a massage therapist's kit. But before slathering any analgesic substance on a client, it's good to know the basics about their proper use and handling. SOME ARE WARM The feeling of warmth or coolness is produced by ingredients that slightly irritate the skin. Menthol and camphor are two commonly used irritants that produce a cool feeling on the skin and help control swelling and inflammation. Capsaicin, which comes from pepper plants, is a 1. commonly used ingredient that can cause a warm or burning sensation. Warm therapies tend to loosen up tight joints and muscles, improve circulation, and suppress nerve endings that transfer pain signals to the brain. "Cool therapy, or cryotherapy, is used more for injuries that just occurred, like where you would use a bag of ice to help with swelling and inflammation," says Jeff Basket, marketing program manager for Sombra Professional Therapy Products of Albuquerque, New Mexico, makers of Original Warm Therapy and Cool Therapy, both pain-relieving gels. "What's nice about cool therapy is 76 massage & bodywork january/february 2010 SOME ARE COOL;

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