This economy has everyone tightening their fiscal belts and my family is no different. One of the line items in our budget, that never gets bumped, is my massage appointment.
I get one every 4 to 6 weeks depending on how busy or stressed I am. I see it as an investment in myself and my own health. It is the essence preventative health care.
And it is a way for me to mother myself. I have been saying this for years: if you don’t take good care of yourself, it is impossible to take good care of your child.
If you are like me, you want to get every penny’s worth of relaxation out of your massage appointment. So here are few tricks and tips I have picked up over the last ten years of giving and receiving massages.
1. Get to your appointment a little bit early and absolutely on time. Not just out of respect for your therapists time, but so you don’t feel like you are a chicken running around with it’s head cut off. It will take you much longer to get into a relaxed state, once on the table, if you feel rushed from being late.
2. Don’t drink caffeine or eat a heavy meal before your appointment. It is much harder for your body to relax if it is high on caffeine or working hard to digest a big meal. Not to mention, you will probably want to get up of the table and pee.
3. Talk with your therapist. If for some reason they don’t ask about your health or past experience with massage, tell them. Tell them what kind of pressure you like, any areas of your body that is in pain or tight. And once on the table, tell them if you are cold or hot, or if the pressure is not right. Therapists are not mind readers, so you if you don’t speak up, there is no way for us to know. And nothing is worst than getting a massage and being freezing or being in pain from the pressure being too deep. So just speak up! We won’t be offended, promise.
4. If you see a chiropractor, make an appointment for earlier in the day, the day of your massage appointment or a couple of days before hand. If your muscle pain is stemming from a structural misalignment, there is only so much a massage therapist can do. But if you get a massage after a chiropractic adjustment, the massage will be much more effective and the effects longer lasting.
5. When you are on the table and the massage has begun, if you find your mind racing or you find yourself not being able to fully relax, take several deep breaths. If you know some mediation techniques, like breath awareness, use them. Sometimes I like to focus all my attention on the therapists hands and follow them as they work and intently focus on how it feels. If my mind wanders, I just come back to her hands. If I am thinking about her hands and how it feels, I can’t think about my grocery list at the same time. Tip for LMT’s: I always start a massage with a good, scalp massage. And if I notice my client is having a hard time relaxing, then I will do some gentle rocking, a la Trager Method.
6. After your massage, drink a TON of water. I am talking like double the amount you normally do. The massage helps flush toxins into your lymphatic system and drinking water will help flush them out of your body.
7. Take an epsom salt bath. The epsom salt does the same thing as drinking lots of water, but I also like to ride the high of relaxation for as long as possible. In our busy, hectic lives, it is nearly impossible for us to turn on our parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest part of our nervous system) and really restore our adrenals and other systems. The longer you can stay in this relaxed state, the more restoration and healing your body can spend its time and energy on.
8. Do some yoga or simple stretches after your massage. Your muscles are warm and limber from the massage and it is the perfect time to do a little stretching. Nothing crazy, something simple like my 2 Minute Mama Yoga routine.
9. Try and stick to one therapist, once you have found one you love. I have been seeing the same massage therapist for 8 years now. She knows my body as well as I do, and knows exactly what to do. That kind of relationship and experience, makes the massage so much more effective.
10. Get regular massages. Once your body learns how to relax and rejuvenate because of the massage, it will respond faster and your relaxation levels deepen, as chronic muscular tension releases.
Now go enjoy your massage!
And if you are local, I am accepting new clients, check out this rave review Mother Rising Birth Services did if you want more info about what the massage will be like. You can email me at email@example.com to make your appointment. 🙂