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.