A massage or facial session allows us a break from the stress of our everyday life and you will leave feeling relaxed, refreshed, and peaceful.  But did you know there are things you can do before, during, and after the massage to get the maximum benefit from the massage session?

There are a few things that you can do before a massage or facial that will allow your body to fully relax and make the experience even more relaxing.  

  • Have a shower before leaving for the massage.  This will make you feel fresh and your body is more receptive to the oils used during the massage.
  • Do some light stretches or light warm up exercise.  The activity will warm up your body and increase your metabolism, which will in turn make your muscles more flexible and allow your massage therapist to do deeper work if needed.
  • Avoid having caffeine on the day of the massage.  Caffeine can affect the body in a way that is counterproductive to massage – it can make some people nervous and jumpy and actually cause the contraction of muscles.
  • Drink lots of water on the day of the massage. Water will keep you hydrated, help flush your system of toxins, and may help mitigate soreness.

Receiving a massage may seem like a passive activity, but there are things you can do during this time to ensure a great experience.  Keep these tips in mind to not only be a good massage recipient but to also get the most out of your massage session.

  • Communication is key.  Just as an informed doctor has a better chance of helping you heal, an enlightened therapist can target trouble zones and generate solutions. Use the brief conversation with your therapist at the beginning of each session to create your own hybrid experience. The greater the insights into your individual history, the more tailored your treatment will be.
  • If something is not to your liking, let your therapist know. The therapist will check with you several times during the massage to verify the pressure feels just right. But, if at any time you would like more vigorous action or less intense effort, don’t be afraid to speak up. Because everyone has a different tolerance to touch, therapists depend on their client’s instructions and reactions to determine the depth of pressure to apply.
  • Cold muscles are tense muscles. Since body temperature can fluctuate throughout the massage, don’t hesitate to say something if you need more or less coverage. Tell the therapist if the room needs to be warmer.
  • Stop thinking, start being.  When you’re getting a massage, don’t think about what you should have done or plan to do. A massage is time to be here now.
  • Keep breathing.  While receiving a massage, focus your mind as fully as possible on your breathing to bring your awareness back to your body.

Just as it is important to prepare for your massage it is just as important to follow a few easy tips once the massage is complete.  The benefits from a massage may not last as long unless you follow these tips.

  • Drink water.  One bit of advice you’ll hear over and over again is to drink plenty of water after a massage. A massage releases toxins, such as lactic acid and carbonic acid, which need to be flushed from the body. Post massage hydration helps to eliminate released impurities.
  • Do some stretches. Stretching between massages to maintain joint mobility, prevent muscles from tightening up again, and keeping the life energy flowing is a great way to extend the benefits received from a massage. This may mean doing yoga or whatever specific or full-body stretches suggested by your massage therapist.
  • Adjust your diet.  Since you’ve just rid the body of toxins, support the body’s renewed state by adhering to a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, which will continue the detoxification process. Keep away from caffeinated drinks and enjoy the calm brought by a good massage.

The benefits of massage are many, including: increasing circulation, allowing the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients throughout the body; stimulating lymph flow and boosting immunity; and relaxing overused or tight muscles.  However good all of these benefits sound, if you aren’t doing a few simple things before, during, and after your massage then you aren’t getting the most from the time spent on the massage table.