Stress levels are at an all-time high in the US. According to the American Institute of Stress, 83% of workers across the nation are coping with work-related stress, while 26% struggle to juggle work and personal affairs. This can have serious effects, such as lowered productivity, burnout, increased rates of panic attacks and even severe depression. To avoid these stress-related problems, it is important to take a break and de-stress once in a while. One effective way to do so is to get a massage. Here are some things that you can do to get the most out of a massage session.
Before a Massage
Preparation is never a bad thing, and this applies even when you are going to have a massage. The things that you do before even going to the spa can have significant effects on how your massage session can go. How do you exactly prepare? First, hydration is key. It is known that hydrating is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, hydration helps you regulate your body temperature and lubricate your joints. It also keeps your organs to function properly. Hydrating before a massage ensures that your muscles are easily pliable, which in turn avoids soreness later on.
You may also want to clean yourself thoroughly by taking a warm shower. Hot baths can help release tension from muscles, according to experts in sports and exercise psychology. It will also remove any dirt and pollutants so that these aren’t further rubbed into your skin during your massage therapy. Not to mention being clean during a massage is the polite thing to do, as your massage therapist will be in constant contact with your skin.
During a Massage
There are also some things that you need to bear in mind in order to ensure that your actual massage session goes well. First, remember that it’s okay to go into your therapy session naked; however, if you’re not comfortable with this, that’s okay, too. A massage therapy session is a judgment-free zone, and your comfort should be the priority. Also, don’t forget to breathe. Deep breathing has immense benefits during a massage session. Experts say that breathing properly helps muscles to relax while also increasing the amount of nutrients sent to your tissues. In some cases, when sore spots are pressed during a massage, breathing properly ensures that the tension in your muscle is released.
Make sure to communicate with your massage therapist as well. As a matter of fact, massage therapists encourage this. Let them know if you have any medical concerns or injuries, or if you have any allergies to lotions, powders, or oils. Don’t hesitate to tell them about your preferences, too. Would you prefer that your therapist talks to you during the session, or would you rather have a more quiet experience? Ultimately, the goal of a massage therapy session is to ensure total relaxation, and this can only be achieved if you establish an open communication line with your therapist.
After a Massage
Right after a massage, two things typically happen: you’ll feel thirsty and you also need to urinate. According to experts, these happen because a massage pulls fluids out of tissues in the process of eliminating toxins. These are then taken to your kidneys, which should then be expelled out of your body. If these fluids are not replaced, the body cannot properly eliminate other wastes in your system, which can lead to muscle soreness and even toxin build-up. To avoid soreness and to ensure that you reap the most out of a massage therapy session, make sure you drink water and stretch. Doing these can help you replenish the fluids you lost while also improving your circulation.
Massage therapists typically use oils and lotion during a massage therapy session, and it is tempting to immediately shower off the slick feeling on your skin. However, a bath right after a massage session, especially a hot bath, might not be a great idea. As established earlier, a massage helps in increasing your blood circulation. When you take a hot bath, your blood circulation increases as well. Too much blood flow, in turn, can cause surface congestion and dizziness. It’s better to wait for at least an hour after a massage therapy session before taking a bath. Then, make sure that you shower with warm instead of hot water. This will ultimately help you feel fresh while reaping the benefits of the massage session you just had.
Following these suggestions can help you make the most out of a massage. Massage therapy can have wonderful effects. Not only does it relieve you of stress, but it can also help you reset so that you can take on whatever life throws your way.