So, you’ve just finished your massage, and you’re feeling ever so relaxed and stress free. Now what? You rush back to work and head for the coffee to help bring you back up to speed? Take a nap? Maybe hit the gym? After every massage, I give my clients appropriate self-care on what they should really be doing after their massage treatments. It is understandable that you’re slightly out of it and a bit groggy post massage, but really take the time to hear what your therapist has to say in regards to helping you get the best out of your massage and make the effects last longer.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you leave the treatment room.
First and foremost, drink water. We therapists cannot stress this enough! During your massage, we are increasing the circulation of both the blood and the lymphatic systems. We want to make sure that after having broken up adhesions (bound muscle fibers and constricted blood vessels), we flush out the toxins locked up in those so-called knots! Things that end up causing these adhesions or knots to form are dehydration, overuse of a muscle, or an injury. Without an adequate amount of water, the lymphatic system becomes sluggish and doesn’t do it job properly. It can take a toll on kidney function allowing kidney stones to form, etc. Therefore, water, in general is extremely important. Not only will it help you flush your body of those toxins, but it can help hydrate your organs and lubricate your joints. You can read more information on this topic at Medical News Today: “Why is drinking water important?”, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290814.php. So, even though we advise you to drink water post massage, we encourage you to always add a few more glasses of water to your daily routine. It will help keep your body functioning as it should, inside and out.
Secondly, it might be a good idea to have something with you that you can nibble on after your massage. While you’re receiving your massage your blood pressure drops, and your body switches over to a parasympathetic state. Your parasympathetic system is part of the nervous system that acts in opposition to the sympathetic system causing your heartbeat and your breathing to slow. It’s basically telling your body to rest and recuperate. Thus, having some sort of snack after your massage will help your body refuel! If anything, eat something small beforehand, especially if you are one to get light headed.
Last but not least, rest! Yes, it is easier said than done, but it would best suit you to schedule your massage where you can head home right after and further relax. Therefore, running back to work, going to the gym, or a night out may not be a good idea. So, go home take a nice hot bath or shower, incorporate essential oils or epsom salts. Naturally, clients have some sort of muscle soreness after soft tissue manipulation. Be proactive in applying heat to the area that may be most sore for you. Do not apply heat directly to the skin. Make sure there are a few layers of cloth such as a towel between your skin and the heat. Let it sit for 15 to 20 mins! All three of these points can help you get the best out of your massage and even help the benefits last longer. This is the time to let your body regenerate itself. Listen to your body; you know it better than anyone!
Kayla is a licensed massage therapist at Comprehensive Pain and Wellness.
She is available for appointment Monday-Friday by calling 815-942-8399 or scheduling online at www.comprehensivepainwellness.com