There’s nothing quite like the feeling of sheer relaxation you get at the end of a massage. But did you know that what you do following a treatment can help you reap the benefits for hours afterwards?
Here’s what you should do after your massage treatment:
1. Have a snack: Massage can lower your blood sugar levels, which can leave you feeling lightheaded. In fact, it has even been shown to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. A light, unprocessed snack containing healthy carbohydrates and protein is the best choice. Try vegetable sticks with hummus or an apple with a piece of string cheese.
2. Drink plenty of water: Massage therapist Jim Memory advises that massage can dehydrate muscle tissue, so keep your water bottle to hand.
Massage promotes the breakdown of metabolic waste, and your body requires water to flush this through the lymphatic system. Your kidneys will be working harder than usual, which will draw water from your bloodstream.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as they will dehydrate you further. If you can’t stand the taste of regular water, add a few slices of lemon. Caffeine-free herbal teas are another good choice.
3. Take it easy: If possible, take the rest of the day off as “me-time.” Massage therapist Laura Allen recommends that you avoid stressful situations or heading back to work after a treatment. Try to avoid stressful situations and negative media, as these will spike your blood pressure.
Allow at least 12 hours between a massage and heavy exercise. Because your muscles will have been loosened during your treatment, a heavy workout will place them under strain. A particularly deep massage can cause similar micro-tearing, and this needs time to heal. If you really want to take some exercise, stick to gentle movement such as walking.
4. Address muscle soreness: A vigorous massage is a thorough workout for your muscles. Take similar measures to those you use following exercise. You can use icepacks and light stretching to reduce discomfort. If you are in pain or, if home remedies are not helping, contact your massage therapist for advice.
Therapist Natalie Johnson advises that pairing a chiropractic adjustment with a massage can be a great combination. You could also take a light yoga class.
5. Change into suitable clothes: After a massage, wearing close-fitting or restrictive clothing will probably feel uncomfortable. When preparing for a treatment, pack soft, loose-fitting clothes you can change into afterwards.
6. Be prepared to experience some deep emotions: Many massage therapists report that their clients experience a range of strong emotions during and after massage. Massage can release a lot of stress. If this has been building for some time, you might feel the urge to cry following your treatment. This is completely normal. Let the feelings come and go.
Finally, take a few minutes to book your next session. A one-off massage may help you feel better in the short-term, but regular treatments will offer substantial benefits. Getting a massage every month will keep your stress levels under control and improve your quality of sleep.