When you come to me for a massage treatment, often one of my aims is to pour you out of the door at the end of your time on my couch: I want to help people de-stress and relax, both in mind and in body. So when we get to the end and I give advise for helping you continue to reap the benefits of the last hour or so, I suspect you are sometimes floating off in the clouds and not listening!
So, I thought I’d write them down for you to read before or after your treatment :)
Drink plenty of water!
I know this is the one that all therapist say, but it is very important. And when I say plenty, I mean an extra glass or two on top of what you would normally have. Massage, like a workout, will dehydrate your muscle tissues, so it is important to replenish your hydration level to help remove any waste that has been released.
Train before rather than after a treatment
A class or gym workout will help warm up your muscles nicely before a massage, but in general training straight after a massage is not a good idea as you are likely to stress and strain muscles that were just relaxed.
Don’t have a large meal right before a treatment, its likely to feel uncomfortable to lie on, and an abdominal massage wont feel as lovely as it should! It’s a good idea to have a snack on hand for after a treatment though, massage can boost your digestive system and you might want an energy boost.
Rest and relaxation
Try and book a massage time when you can go and put your feet up for a while afterwards. My acupuncturist says that your body systems run in 20 minute cycles, so for every 20 minutes of resting after a treatment increases the benefits your body can receive from the treatment.
Have a bath
Add this to your relaxation time above for a bonus! Especially if you add Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) to the warm water. A bath can help you take more time to relax, and allow your body to continue in a state of total relaxation. The salts can help to further ease any muscle soreness, and help to further promote good sleep and de-stressing.
Welcome any emotions
Massage helps the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in. This helps to reduce stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol It also increases levels of dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. These three lovely hormones make you feel good, happy and light. This combination though can also leave us feeling like having a good cry sometimes too, once the stress barriers have come down and we allow ourselves to release emotions we’ve been holding on to. So whether you feel elated, refreshed, energised or teary – that’s ok – don’t fight it and let your body do what it needs to do.
Notice the changes
After a treatment, you may notice that your knees feel less achy when you walk up the stairs than they did before, or that you have more mobility in your shoulders from the stretching work your therapist did. Or you may get a headache, or notice some muscular soreness. IT would be great if you make a mental note of these things and share them with your therapist at your next treatment. They can all be taken into account and can help us tailor your massage even more and give you the best possible treatment.