Your massage is finished; you’re feeling nice and relaxed, your blood is flowing, and your muscles feel like they’re melting off your bones. Now you have to get up and go about your day, and you want the benefits to continue. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your massage session and keeping that lovely, relaxed feeling as long as possible.
Even if you do nothing else after your massage, be sure to drink a lot of water. Massage helps to increase the circulation of both the blood and the lymphatic system. A large percentage of your body is made up of water and your blood needs water to keep it moving and doing its job of bringing oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, organs, and other tissues. It also helps remove waste products created by the cells in these areas. For 24 – 48 hours after a massage, aim to drink at least 2 – 3 more glasses of water than you normally would.
Because massage speeds up your circulatory system, other body functions can also be increased -- including your digestive system. After a massage your body will be firing on all cylinders and you’ll want to provide fuel in the form of something light and easily digestible. Think about half a banana and some dark chocolate covered almonds, or blueberries and yogurt. Feed your system without overloading it.
Establish a Routine
Massage should be regular part of your healthy life, not just an occasional luxury. Find a balance that works for you and your body, and then schedule your next appointment in advance. Sticking to a routine will keep muscle tension to a minimum and create the most improvement in the long run. Dealing with an injury or chronic stress may need more frequent sessions, and once these issues are addressed you can space your sessions further apart while still maintaining progress – extending the benefits of massage more and more each time.
Stretch It Out
The friction and pressure applied during a massage creates heat in your muscles that lasts for several hours after your treatment. This is a great opportunity for stretching. Ask your therapist for some post-massage stretches to ensure the proper muscles are being stretched and help keep your body in balance.
You’ve just taken time out of your hectic life for some self-care. You’re more relaxed, your muscles are looser, and you feel calm and content. Heading to work, or for a night on the town, are not your best options. Try to book your massage for a time when you know you can go straight home after it. Put your feet up, read a book, watch some TV, take a nap…whatever helps you continue to feel good and prolong that calm sense of well-being. Listen to your body. Your muscles have just been worked and manipulated -- this is your time to recover, repair, and retune yourself.
Relax Into a Warm Bath
As part of the above advice to rest, go all the way and allow your body to relax completely. A warm bath with Epsom salts and essential oils will also help ease any aches and pains. The magnesium in the Epsom salts absorbs through your skin, while the warm water helps to open your blood vessels and gently increases circulation. Keep the temperature of your bath water warm -- a very hot bath will increase inflammation, which isn’t a good idea after a massage. Add 1 ½ cups Epsom salts to the water, slip in, and soak for at least 20 minutes to relax and relieve your mind and body.
Welcome Any Emotions
Both during and after a massage you might feel a range of emotions. As your body relaxes, it’s normal for it to also release any emotional baggage you’re holding on to. While you might feel elated, refreshed, or energized, there may be times when you feel a need to cry. This is normal and not unusual. Prolonged stress does crazy things to our bodies. Massage helps the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in, reducing levels of stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) and increasing levels of dopamine and serotonin. Once the stress barriers come down, your body feels safe and naturally communicates this to your mind and emotions. Take advantage of this “safe space” and enjoy being in tune with every part of yourself – you can pick up whatever’s left over tomorrow!
Now that you know how to make your massage last and last, don't wait a minute longer. Book your next massage now, and continue living your best life!