5 tips to get the most out of your massage
5 tips to get the most out of your massage
1. Stay Hydrated
Most people know that drinking plenty of water after your massage session is very important to reduce the chances of getting sore or post-massage discomfort and to flush out the toxins from your muscles. But it is also important to stay well hydrated before a treatment. Without enough water, our blood flow may be somewhat stagnated and sluggish to process the lactic acid and toxins that emerge from the muscles during the massage. Recent study shows that your connective tissue/fascia are more elastic when hydrated. It is true that you should drink plenty of water after a massage but if you prepare to have a treatment with well hydrated, you will experience less aches the next day!
Muscular aches and pains can actually be a sign of chronic dehydration, so it is important to drink enough water on a regular basis! Oh and if you are an exercise enthusiast (those who sweat a lot!), don’t forget to take enough electrolytes as well!
2. Get Warmed Up
In my massage treatment, I always make sure to warm up the tissues where I work before going in too deep by using a technique called effleurage. It is the same thing as your exercise or training. Your body needs to be warmed up to prepare for the work you do otherwise it might get damaged or take some more time to be effective. Having a shower or bath beforehand helps loosen up your muscles and tissues and create some sort of relaxation to help you receive more benefits from a massage treatment. It is also effective to enhance better recovery because it improves blood circulation and metabolism on your skin. However please be mindful if you have high blood pressure because massage itself improves circulation.
3. Feel “Good” Pain
Is there any good pain at all? You know what I mean. Massage doesn’t always have to be very firm or painful to get the most out of it. The pain threshold varies from person to person that is why your therapist constantly asks you how you feel the pressure. When you feel too much pressure and pain, your brain sends a signal to your muscles to contract in order to avoid making them injured or damaged. It is opposite effect to what is intended. So no more than 8 out of 10 pain scale. It is very important to communicate with your therapist about how you feel. I’m pretty sure most therapists appreciate how you react on what they do on you.
4. Make It Regular
It is important to make it regular to get the most out of your massage because the more time you leave, the more space to cover for the next session. But, how often? Well, once in a fortnight would be a good interval for everyone. If you are in a heavy training block or you have to deal with some more stressful environment, consider having one more frequently. The periods people feel more stress both physically and mentally is most likely the time they will get injured or become ill. So do not make lots of space between the sessions.
However, on the other hand, having treatments too often is not a very good idea unless you are a professional athlete that requires to play matches or to compete every day, because our body has the ability to heal itself from physical and mental stress. If you receive a massage too often, your body gets too used to it and may decrease the ability to self-recovery (Don’t worry too much, no one would have a massage ever single day!!) Regular massage would be a good tool to stimulate and enhance the ability to make your own body heal quicker!
5. Go Shake It Off
Lastly, I would like to share my own routine after having a massage session. After a session, I usually go for a super easy jog or swim to shake off my body. No effort, just a comfortable and relaxed jog, preferably on the beach or grass. This is probably only me but if you feel a little bit sluggish or heavy after a massage session, trust me, an easy shake off makes a big difference about how you feel afterwards and even the next day.
As a distance runner myself, I try to schedule a massage every fortnight. This is not a luxury or a reward for me at all but a necessity. I just don’t want to get injured which prevents me from training consistently and doing what I love. Obviously marathon running needs to cover lots of mileage especially on a building up phase (which I am at the moment towards GCAM16!) then shifting to putting up with speed endurance to achieve a certain time goal. You are most likely to get injured when you feel tired or lack concentration. Whatever sports or activities you love, your body is the only place you have to live, so why shouldn’t it be well looked after?
Try these few easy tips to get the most of your massage!
Accredited Remedial Massage Therapist