With the current levels of infernal stress surrounding us everywhere, receiving a relaxing massage became more important than ever. If done correctly, a massage would lower the levels of stress hormones like cortisol.
But what if it can do a lot more than it already does? Knowing the do’s & don’ts before & after a massage appointment would help you get the most out of it.
To keep this article nice and organized, I’ll divide the tips into 2 sections, the before and after. Let’s see!
- The Do’s & Don’ts before a Massage Appointment
- The Do’s & Don’ts after a Massage Appointment
- To Sum Up
The Do’s & Don’ts before a Massage Appointment
I remember my first-ever massage. I was nervous about undressing in front of a stranger who would also work on my body.
If the next appointment would be your first, it’s totally normal to feel this way. Putting the following steps in mind can help you have a great first experience.
Even if you’ve been into massaging for a while, reading these tips would get your comfort to a whole new level.
Think about the Massage Type
How much do you know about massages? If you think they’re merely a great way to relax, then you need to do a quick google search.
Massaging has become much more versatile lately. For instance, deep tissue massages aim to alleviate chronic muscle pain and aid in faster injury rehabilitation.
Another type called “Shiatsu” focuses on certain pressure points in your body that are thought to induce bursts of energy. Bowen, Reiki, and crystal therapy are other great massages that I won’t discuss to keep things simple.
After reading about the different massages out there and deciding what suits you, you’ll be left with a quite similar task.
Just like doctors, not all massage therapists can do everything you’ve read about. Call and ask the receptionists about the available services. They can also recommend alternatives if they don’t serve what you need.
Carefully Pick Your Appointment
For the best results, pick an appointment that has a large wiggle room before and after. Obviously, you don’t want to pick it directly after work since you can get caught in traffic.
If possible, it would be better if you did absolutely nothing after the massage. This way, the relaxing sensation would linger around for the longest time possible.
Don’t Eat 1 Hour Before the Appointment
Being stressed about the massage can push you into the insatiable stress eating. Not to mention the extra pounds you’ll probably put on, eating would also make you uncomfortable.
When the therapist moves to your lower back, you’ll be agitated every time he/she presses down. And when it comes to your stomach, things might turn out quite ugly.
You shouldn’t starve yourself, either. You have to be in the perfect state for a massage to be enjoyable. Generally speaking, it would be safer if you have a light snack one hour before the appointment.
Stay Away from Gas-Inducing Food
Unless you want to feel bloated throughout the appointment, you should avoid food that induces gas formation. To name a few:
- Peas, beans, and lentils
- Onions, asparagus, broccoli, and cabbage
- Lactose, the natural sugar found in milk
- Corn, pasta, and potatoes
- Whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, and whole wheat
- Fiber-rich meals
Surely, you know yourself better than anyone else. You might be sensitive to a certain meal that nobody faces problems with. Avoid such foods even if they don’t cause that much discomfort.
Communicate with the Therapist
Generally, therapists would have you fill a form before your appointment. It should tell them whether you have anything that needs special attention. Nevertheless, it’s always better to restate these facts right before you begin.
Talk about things that might feel tinder with the massage pressure. This includes pregnancy, injuries, broken bones, surgeries, etc.
Also, remember to warn the therapist about your allergies. Even if you think it won’t matter, it’d be safer to avoid oils and lotions containing such allergens.
If you’re uncomfortable about the therapist touching a certain area of your body, it’s perfectly normal to discuss it. You can ask to completely exclude it or find a way that’d be less awkward.
Show Up 10 Minutes Early
Like I said earlier, you’ll need some time to fill the form and talk with the therapist. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to take that time from my rightfully paid session. That’s why I always prefer to show up 10 minutes before my appointment.
Naturally, if you arrived late, don’t expect the therapist to extend your session. More times than not, another client would have his/her appointment booked right after you. Since you’re the one who showed up late, it’d be unfair to punish someone else for it.
Don’t Smoke in the Appointment Day
Typically, you won’t be allowed to smoke inside a massage clinic. But believe it or not, going with clothes that smell like cigarettes would do the same effect.
As you might expect, this can be deeply frustrating to therapists. They’ll have to spend extra time fragrancing the room for the next clients.
But it isn’t only about the inconvenience, though. You might actually harm the therapists by not refraining from cigarettes.
By using a smart sweatband, researchers were able to confirm that nicotine exits the body through sweat. In another study, the opposite was also proven. Nicotine can enter the bodies of other people after touching contaminated sweat.
I know it can be hard to pause smoking, especially if you’ve been doing it for a long time. But it would be quite noble to help a therapist who’s trying to do his/her job!
The Do’s & Don’ts after a Massage Appointment
If you’ve been regularly getting massages, you must know how good it feels just after you finish. Muscles literally feel as if they’re melting off one’s bones.
So, what to do now? How can you leverage the benefits of your massage and make them last longer? That’s what I’ll discuss in the following section.
Drink More Water
Before we can talk about the importance of drinking water, we need to take a brief look at how your body reacts to massaging.
Without getting into complex medical concepts, the lymphatic system is among your important weapons against infection and toxins. Through a collection of vessels and organs, it absorbs harmful products and destroys or excretes them.
When a therapist kneads and presses your tissue, the lymphatic absorption skyrockets. That’s actually one of the reasons behind the heavenly post-massage feel.
But the therapist’s fingers aren’t the only stimulants, though. Normally, water acts as a great, natural medium that absorbs more toxins and pathogens.
After the appointment, make sure to drink more water than your average. Also, avoid diuretics like alcohol and coffee. These will absorb water before it can help your body.
Take a Warm Bath
Spending the night enjoying warm water in a tub is definitely the best way to conclude a massage appointment.
Warm water is crucial to enhance your circulation and lymphatics, which would get rid of more toxins as described earlier. Also, it naturally soothes your muscles, multiplying the relaxing euphoria.
To improve the experience, consider adding some Epsom salt into the tub. Its magnesium particles are known to relieve muscular pain and tightness.
Don’t Bathe with Hot Water
Opposite to the common belief, a massage could cause a bit of discomfort the day after. This gets more likely in types that involve applying more pressure like deep tissue massages.
Since these types activate muscles that you don’t usually use, they cause light inflammation. Obviously, heat is the last thing you want to get near an inflamed area. Let alone the pain, hot water would prolong the inflammation by irritating more tissues.
Feel Free to Indulge in Food
Believe it or not, as you’re relaxing after a massage, your body usually fires up. After the therapist activates your muscles, they demand more nutritious substances.
Luckily, this can be easily achieved through the similarly-stimulated circulation. But this would leave you in an especially-voracious appetite. It’s important to never hold this back. Otherwise, your muscles will take more time to recover.
Moreover, eating is a natural mode booster. It’d be the final puzzle piece missing after an awesome massage.
Do It Again Sometime Soon
As long as we live with our current stressful lifestyle, you can’t have too many massages. The more appointments, the more benefits. They’re certainly worth a place in your budget!
To Sum Up
On its own, massaging would be great to give your body well-deserved maintenance after months of work. But it could be even greater if you knew what to do before and after.
If I had to pick one “before” tip, it’d be the client/therapist communication. When the therapist knows about your special needs, he/she can modify the massage, yielding the best results.
After the appointment, it’s crucial to drink a lot of water. This will release more toxins from your body, making you healthier in the long run.
Remember, there’s no need to be stressed about the concept of undressing before a stranger. Just show up and let the magic happen! See also how often should you get a massage.
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