Massage can be a wonderful way to relax, lower your stress levels, improve your health, treat specific conditions, and even improve your sex life. Whether you’re contemplating your first professional massage or you’re a confirmed “massage” devotee, avoiding the following “massage” mistakes will you to get even more out of your professional massage session.
Not seeing a qualified massage therapist
If you’ve never had a massage, it’s important to understand that this is a lot more than a backrub. It’s a real skill that requires countless hours of training and professional licensing. If you don’t know any massage therapists, be sure to look for a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) – like the ones who partner with Candle Spas – who has specific experience in the type of massage you want.
Top massage therapists should meet with you and take your history before they ever touch you. Expect to answer questions about medical conditions – including any chronic illnesses you have or whether you’re pregnant – in addition to queries about the types of medications and supplements you’re taking. Your therapist will also go over any specific complaints you have – such as muscle pains or recent surgery – and ask you about your goals for the massage.
Receiving a massage treatment from a therapist who doesn’t have the skills and experience required could, at the very least, result in a terrible massage. In the worst cases, you could wind up injured if a procedure isn’t done correctly.
Eating the wrong things before and after a massage
Save the double cheeseburger splurge for another time. You can eat before a massage, but keep it very light and don’t eat too close to your appointment time.
After the massage, stick with light and healthy foods for the rest of the day to give your system time to recover without taxing your digestion as it’s eliminating toxins from your body.
Not drinking enough water before and after a massage
Drinking enough water – before and after a massage – can be one of the most important things you do.
Going into a massage well-hydrated means the LMT will have an easier time manipulating your muscles. But at the same time, drinking plenty of water for the rest of the day after your massage is even more important.
Massage is a workout for your body, and it tends to dehydrate you. Your lymphatic system has been stimulated to draw out toxins, meaning that you need the extra water to rehydrate and flush your system completely, pushing the toxins and debris out of your body. If you don’t drink enough H2O, you’ll end up with significant muscle soreness (and you might even get sick).
Failing to take charge of your massage
Your therapist is the expert, but you are the subject matter. You must communicate your needs for the massage to be enjoyable and efficient.
If the therapist puts too much pressure or is too soft, speak up and ask for a change. If the therapist hits a painful spot, let him or her know – it could help locate the source of a particular strain, or it may just indicate an area that requires special attention from the therapist.
If you enjoy conversation, let the therapist know that talking is fine (though your therapist may prefer to concentrate on what your body is saying instead). Or, if you need a quiet time of relaxed reflection to sink into the magic of massage, then make that clear up front so the therapist knows what you expect.
Alert your LMT if you have any type of allergies. Many therapists incorporate aromatherapy and essential oils into their treatments that may bother you, even if you aren’t allergic.
Remember, this massage is about you and your health and enjoyment. Don’t be afraid to speak up when it comes to expressing your preferences.
Forgetting to breathe during your massage
While it might seem silly to remind you to breathe, many therapists see clients holding their breath or breathing shallowly at various points during the massage – especially during deep tissue manipulation or stretching.
Focus on your breathing before and during your massage. Breathe deeply, letting air completely fill your lungs and send nourishing oxygen to all your vital organs. Simply breathing this way can reduce stress and tension by itself, while also allowing your body to relax more and become more receptive to massage benefits.
Doing too much after a massage
Your life is busy – no doubt about it. But you’ve got to learn to chill out after your massage. Your body needs time to recover, even though you may feel great. For a minimum of 6 – 12 hours after a massage, you should:
- Avoid working out or exercising, unless your massage was specifically designed to boost your performance in a sporting event. Doing so puts you at risk of injuring yourself or dramatically increasing muscle soreness, and you’ll undo a lot of what the massage did for you in the first place.
- Avoid heavy lifting of any kind, including chasing after kids or pets. This can also cause painful soreness and shorten the effects of your massage.
- Don’t attend stressful meetings at work or rush around doing errands.
- If you can arrange to go home and have a nap after your massage, that’s great. Just be aware that you may sleep deeply, so be sure to nap in a comfortable spot and position!
- Taking a bath with lukewarm water and baking soda and Epsom salt to soothe your muscles.
Enjoying a cocktail after your massage
It might seem like the ideal way to cap off a day of relaxation, but don’t toast your relaxed state with alcohol of any kind until the next day. The reason? Alcohol dehydrates your body, and after a massage, you’re already fighting to rehydrate. The state of dehydration from the massage will intensify the effects of the alcohol, sticking you with the world’s worst hangover the next day – even if your consumption was light or moderate.
By avoiding these massage mistakes, you’ll get more out of your massage experience and enjoy the results of your session for much longer. Massage is an excellent way to boost your mood and health, but – like everything else – it’s up to you to be informed and in control of what happens with your body.