You head into a massage session looking forward to the sensation of working out those tensions and muscle aches. You step off the massage table feeling relaxed, calm and whole again. So how do you keep that feeling? Massage takes a time and financial commitment, and these simple tips will help you get the most from the massage. Here’s what you can do:
Before the massage:
- Think about how your body’s been feeling the last few days or weeks. Communicate this information and your goals for the session to your massage therapist. The session is all about you – what you need and what you want. Letting your therapist know insures a good session.
- If you’ve got the flu or a fever, call ahead to cancel your appointment. Massage is contraindicated if you’re running a fever.
- Avoid eating a meal right before your appointment. Getting a massage on a full stomach can be uncomfortable – especially while face down.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for what you need during the massage to be more comfortable. This can be anything from a blanket, to an extra pillow, the volume of the music or the depth of the pressure. Massage therapists truly appreciate this information!
- Before and during the session, breathe deep even breaths. Deep breathing relaxes the body and helps in releasing stress from the body.
After the massage:
- Just before you get off the table, take a moment to sink into the table and really feel your body in a relaxed state. Close your eyes and remember this sensation in the days and weeks after the session to bring your body into a more relaxed state.
- Stay hydrated. Drink at least 8 glasses of water in the 24 hours following your session. Massage works out toxins in the muscles, and drinking water helps those toxins move out of your body as quickly as possible.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Rest is required for the body to heal itself, and it allows time for the muscles to get used to a slightly different, looser configuration.
- Avoid strenuous exercise for 12-24 hours, especially any that works on muscles you focused on in the session. For example, if you needed a lot of neck work during the session, refrain from going to the gym that night and working the trapezoid!
- Let your therapist know if you experience discomfort more than 24 hours after the session. She will want to think about possible causes and changes to your treatment plan in subsequent sessions to provide you with the massage you need.
Massage presents a wonderful means to relax the body and mind, and making sure you do things to extend the health benefits of your massage keeps you in good shape. Remember to do something for yourself on a regular basis. It could be taking time to exercise, spending some time browsing a bookstore or a hot bath. Caring for yourself helps your body maintain its health, and it also contributes to your overall wellness.