Whether you receive regular massage therapy or are considering adding massage therapy to your self-care regiment, I have some easy tips you can follow to make the most out of your next treatment.
- Be hydrated – Arrive to your treatment well hydrated. Your fascial tissue is much more fluid and pliable when it is hydrated. You should avoid caffeine and alcohol both before and after massage treatments as they can dehydrate you. After your treatment it is important to hydrate to flush toxins from the body. For an extra boost, try coconut water; it is one of nature’s best electrolyte beverages! An Epsom salt bath can also help after a massage. Just add 1 cup of Epsom salts to your bath water.
- Arrive warm – Do that boot camp or workout before your treatment, not after. Or have a warm bath, shower or sauna session before your treatment. Warm tissues respond better to treatment. And you will get more therapeutic hands-on time if your therapist doesn’t have to warm up your tissues while you’re on the table.
- Arrive clean – It is also nice to arrive with clean skin for your therapist….not only for hygiene but also for certain massage techniques. If your therapist uses Myofascial techniques or mobilization techniques, you don’t want them to lose their grip because of the lotion or moisturizer you applied hours ago.
- Turn off your phone – I cannot emphasize this enough! You have set time aside for your wellbeing. Unplug from tech as well.
- Be self-aware and present – It’s okay if you drift off and fall asleep every once in a while. Heck, most of us are sleep deprived and could use the nap! But if you are sleeping, you’re not focused on what you are feeling or how your body is responding to your treatment. It is optimal if you can be in the state of relaxation that is experienced just before waking or falling asleep. Allow all thoughts, feelings and imagery to come to the surface, without judgement. This takes practice and no therapist is offended by your snores or twitches! If relaxation is something you struggle with you may want to familiarize yourself with diaphragmatic breathing, yoga Nidra or another form of meditation. If you practice at home it becomes easier and quicker for you to let go on the table.
- Keep your conversation treatment focused – When it comes to talking, less is more. If you are talking throughout your treatment about subjects not related to what you are currently experiencing, you are not as present as you could be. After the first 5-10 minutes of a treatment you should be done with catching up, polite conversation or asking initial questions. Conversation is great for building a trusting relationship with your therapist, just don’t lose focus.
- Maintain a level of frequency – Massage, just like any therapy, is not a single visit or quick fix! The recommended frequency will depend on what state your tissues are in. Your therapist may suggest multiple treatments in a month or week to address injuries, persistent pain or postural issues. As your tissues return to a healthy state you can plan on booking “maintenance” treatments every 4-6 weeks. Talk with your therapist and create a treatment plan after your next massage.
- Follow up with complementary care – Post massage is a great time to schedule a chiropractic adjustment, physiotherapy session or other treatment! The tension surrounding your joints has been relaxed and your other treatments may be easier and may last longer with less discomfort over the following days.
– Briana Descalchuk, RMT & Myofascial Release Practitioner