So, you’ve had your massage, you’re feeling nice and relaxed…you know, that muscles melting off your bones feeling. You know your massage therapist was talking to you at the end of the treatment, but you were feeling too sleepy to really take it in. So what to do now?
You want to make sure the benefits are going to last as long as possible don’t you?
Here are some tips and tricks for getting the most out of your massage session.
We know that a very large percentage of our body is made up of water (between 50-75%…around 60% on average for an adult). Massage helps to increase the circulation of both the blood and the lymphatic system. Your blood needs water in it to keep it moving and doing its job of bringing oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, organs and other tissues. It also helps to take away the waste products created by the cells in these areas.
While your lymphatic system is responsible for maintaining your immune system, it also helps in the removal of toxins. It serves as the fluid transport system between the cells and the bloodstream. Without adequate water, the lymph system becomes sluggish and doesn’t do its job properly. This can lead to low immunity as well as aches, pains and fatigue from the build-up of these toxins. It can be common to need to go to the toilet frequently after a massage, this is because the increase in lymph circulation is helping your body to get rid of any toxic build-up.
When you add water into your afternoon also keep in mind that the water content of a cup of tea, coffee, soft drink or alcoholic beverage isn’t the same as adding that extra glass of water. In fact, after a massage I would recommend you avoid these things. Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics. Basically this means that you lose more fluid than you gain when you drink it. So instead of helping to flush out toxins, fluids with these in them will pass through the system more quickly than water, and won’t actually help the lymph and circulatory system at all. In fact, because they stop the body from absorbing water effectively, it will do the opposite and your body will struggle to get rid of the toxins.
Yup, have a snack on hand to have after your massage. Because massage speeds up your circulatory systems, other body functions can also be increased — this includes your digestive system. Have you even felt light headed after a massage? This could be because your body needs a fuel boost. Make sure you have a good choice too, some kind of protein and good fats which will help the body fuel the repair of muscle tissue.
Heading back to work, or out for a night on the town, are both not the best options for you right now. While sometimes it’s unavoidable, 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, have a nap…whatever helps you to continue to feel good and helps to prolong that calm feeling of wellbeing. Listen to your body. If you feel like having a sleep — do it. If you want to stretch out on the couch — go for it. Your muscles have just been worked and manipulated, similar to an intense work out — this is your time to recover, repair and retune yourself.
I also recommend not to do any intense physical activity after a massage. Heading to the gym, or going for run are not the best options for you right now. Remember, your muscles have just been given a workout (especially if you’ve had deep tissue work), and need time to recover. With the muscles being lengthened and worked, you run the risk of injury if you then go on to do an intense workout. Even more important, you’ve just taken time out to pamper your body…make sure you give yourself the chance to enjoy that feeling. You can go back to your training regimen the next day.
Have a bath.
What could be better than that feeling of sinking into a nice warm bath? I’ll tell you — sinking into a nice warm bath after a massage! Adding some Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) and wintergreen essential oil to the bath will also help with easing any aches and pains. The magnesium in the Epsom salts will absorb through skin, while the warm water helps to open your blood vessels, therefore helping to increase circulation and the wintergreen warms the skin allowing for improvements in circulation.