Whether you are looking to relieve aching muscles or simply relax, a massage can provide a sweet escape from the daily grind. Let these tips for what to do before and after a session help you achieve the stress-free experience that will make the most of your massage.


Paige Wilkinson of Knot Magic


Do your homework. Research therapists to get the right treatment—massage can focus on relaxation or therapy.

Dress the part. Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing.

Put health first. Arrive 10 minutes early to complete paperwork, indicating any serious health concerns or special requests.


Indulge in a relaxing bath. Before bed, take a 20-minute bath to increase circulation and process lactic acid that has built up in muscles during the massage.

Stay stress-free. Avoid too much activity, such as playing with the kids or pets, before bed.

Slumber. Sleep will help decrease soreness, so be sure to get more than six hours.

Beki Burley of Massage for Healing and Wellness


Avoid distractions. Skip the lotion, perfume and shaving—all of this can interfere with the massage.

Arrive early. Relax and become emotionally calm so you can fully take in the massage.

Voice your opinion. Communicate your preferences, from the ideal pressure to the areas you would like to concentrate on and avoid.


Stay hydrated. Similar to exercise, your body is going through changes during a massage—replenish it with plenty of water.

Be aware of your body. Don’t race back into your life—listen to your muscles, as well as your emotions: Slow down, take a deep breath and allow the massage to work throughout your body.

Take it to heart. Listen to your therapist’s suggestions about taking care of your body—massage is part of a health care regimen that can help in many ways when approached properly.

Alison Bell of Go!Spa


Hydrate thoroughly. Muscles respond well to therapeutic bodywork when hydrated, resulting in a more beneficial and healing massage.

Feel well. If you have an illness, reschedule when you are feeling better—massage can stimulate your immune system even further and cause your body to overwork, making you more sick.

Breathe and be ready to receive. Breathing is a vital method of detoxification, and when we feel anxious or stressed, a deep, cleansing breath can have an immediate calming effect.


Listen to your body. Some will want to be active, while others may enjoy a period of rest after a soothing, healing massage.

Enjoy an aromatherapy bath. Take a calming soak in a bath with sea salt and a few drops of aromatherapy oil.

Just breathe. Purposeful, focused breathing allows the body to release tension and accept the beneficial bodywork.