One of the best things about receiving a therapeutic massage--besides it being among the most effective non-surgical treatments for muscular pain and tension--is that for an hour or two, very little effort is required of you.A good massage can be a brief and thorough vacation from the chaos and demands that often seem to accompany an active and full life.
And though there is nothing quite like the experience of allowing a nurturing touch to lull you into a state of peaceful relaxation, if you are like most people, you hope to get a little more from your bodywork than a temporary escape from the challenges of daily existence. You hope to genuinely feel better afterwards, not just for a short while, but in general.
As a massage therapist, I can tell you that there are few things more satisfying to me than hearing that my clients are genuinely feeling better after our session and attribute some of that well-being to our work together. But I know that the most transformative bodywork takes place when it is supported by sufficient and well-placed self-care, and perhaps most importantly, a willingness to let go.
Again, as a rule, therapeutic touch offers a multitude of benefits without requiring much of the recipient, but when we are armed with useful information and an intention for positive and lasting change, we can use massage therapy as a profound catalyst for healing and integration, marked by the experience of less physical pain and tension, improved physical range of motion, greater mental, emotional, and physical awareness, and enhanced relaxation skills for increased inner peace.
So please explore this 3 part blog to learn some simple yet potent tips that I recommend you try before, during, and after a session to help you make the most of your massage!
And whether you choose one option or several, besides enhancing the many benefits of massage, all of the suggestions I offer are worth integrating into your regular health and wellness plan! So let's begin with 3 simple options that you can choose in the days before your massage that will prepare you (and your body!) for your session.
Preparing for your Massage
Tip #1: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
We all know that water is essential to life. And any massage therapist will tell you that proper hydration is the single-most important thing you can do before your massage. Because, no matter how skilled your therapist, dehydration will undermine many of the muscular benefits of massage in the short and long term. Not only will your muscles be stiff and more resistant to relaxation and release, your blood will actually be stickier and less effective at removing the cellular toxins and waste that massage therapy releases into the bloodstream. But when you are hydrated, your body is better able to flush out these and other impurities, helping the body to repair and heal.
So drink up. Seriously. Do it! If you do, you will not only be meeting one of your body's most primary needs, you will have already initiated the healing process!
Tip # 2: Mindful Movement
Mindful movement prior to your massage allows you to begin the physical and mental unwinding process before your session even starts, ultimately allowing your therapist to work out even deeper tensions, enabling them to better address the physical imbalances that contribute to more complex issues like postural distortions and chronic muscular aches and pain.
Furthermore, stretching and moving gives you the opportunity to see which areas of your body need the most attention, so when your therapist asks you how you are feeling and what your goals are for your session, you can easily point out the areas where you noticed significant pain, tension, limited range of motion, or any other concerns you would like to address during your massage.
This step is certainly not mandatory, and sometimes, depending upon our schedule, it is not possible to do right before your appointment, but even if you are only able to take even 5-10 minutes to breathe and stretch before your session, it is a powerful way to leverage your time on the massage mat or table.
Tip # 3: Take a nourishing and detoxifying Epsom salt soak.
Like mindful movement, this tip is also another option that initiates the physical and mental relaxation process while simultaneously preparing the muscles for massage, allowing your therapist to work even deeper.The curative properties of Epsom salts, also known as Magnesium Sulfate, is easily over-looked by many, but adding just 2 cups of this inexpensive compound of minerals to your bathwater can transform a regular bath into a relaxing, nourishing, and detoxifying escape that will also enhance the therapeutic benefits of your massage.
Magnesium, the nourishing part, is a powerful nutrient that is also a natural muscle relaxant. In addition, the sulfates in the compound create a detoxifying effect by altering the properties of the water in a way that allows it to literally pull toxins directly from the bloodstream as the water cools. Combined, these elements contribute to less soreness, improved muscular health, greater physical relaxation, and increased mental well-being even before the session begins!
Well,that wraps up Part One. Thank you for following along this far! And now that you are prepped for your bodywork session, be sure to check out Part II: During Your Session, to find out how to turn your time on the table into a powerfully transformative journey!
For more insight into the nature of this blog and my health and wellness services, check out my Mission, Vision, and Values, or if you are interested in scheduling a massage or wellness coaching session, check out my Rates and Services page!