We would all love to lay on a massage table and have all our stress, tension and pain taken away in one session. While massage does accomplish these goals, did you know that it is an ongoing process that involves a relationship between you and your massage therapist. The moment you walk through the door your practitioner is evaluating the way you walk, your posture and your emotions and already coming up with a plan of care before they even ask you questions about your health and lay their hands on you. Here are some steps to take to ensure your massage experience is successful and your body continues to heal.
Before Your Massage Appointment
- Hydrate: be sure to drink the recommended water for your body weight to make sure your muscles are supple which will help in the healing process.
- If you are receiving a deep tissue massage and tend to have soreness afterwards, you may take an Arnica supplement to help with inflammation.
- Take a warm shower or bath; A warm shower will help soften your muscle tissue allowing your therapist to reach deeper muscle groups with more comfort.
- Our bodies change and incidents happen. Be sure to update your therapist on any new health conditions or any accidents that may have occurred so that they may adjust your treatment accordingly.
- If possible, check off everything on your to-do list. Prepare dinner ahead of time, clean the house and run any necessary errands before your massage to ensure you can rest after your treatment.
During Your Massage
- Know that you are in control of your session. Inform your therapist if anything is uncomfortable. If the face cradle is not in the right position let your therapist know before or during your treatment so that they may adjust it to a comfortable position.
- If the pressure of the massage is too much or too little, please let your therapist know. Yes, you may have asked for a deep tissue treatment however everyone’s tolerance is different. Do not try to tough it out because that will make your muscles tense more and not allow proper healing.
- Let you therapist do all the work. You are here to relax. If your therapist needs to move your arm or leg they will do so accordingly. If they need you to move to a different position, they will instruct you on how to do that.
- Breathe; allow your chest and lungs to expand naturally from the diaphragm. This is also very effective and important to remember if receiving a deep tissue massage. This allows more oxygen into the muscles and allows you to relax while having a more therapeutic treatment.
- Allow your body to release emotions. It’s natural if you need to cry. Allow your body to sleep if you feel the need. If you feel the need to be silent or talk however don’t feel forced to carry on a conversation. It is more common for clients to have more of an emotional release during a Craniosacral treatment as we are performing a technique that is known to help in releasing deep, buried emotions.
- Remember that deep tissue is not always better. A Swedish massage targets the nervous system and helps us to relax and gives us a sense of overall well-being.
- In addition to the daily water intake required for you body, it is important to increase that intake after a massage. During massage digestion and circulation increases which is why some patients say that they feel more thirsty after a massage. As your body is adjusting to your treatment and your muscles start to respond to tension being released, you may feel the need to nourish your body with more water.
- Allow yourself time for recovery. Do not do any strenuous activities or exercise.
- Apply a topical ointment such as Biofreeze or Arnica gel to help more in reducing the inflammation response.
- Take an Epsom Salt Bath for relaxation and to help with post-massage soreness.
- Make a follow-up appointment. Massage is more effective when done on a consistent basis and certain ailments can take more than one session to relieve. Massage is great for integrating into a self-care routine.
- As stated before, be prepared for an emotional release as well. Take time to journal your emotions as they come up. Remember this is completely natural.