10 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Massage Session
1. If possible, plan your day around your massage. Meaning, plan on taking time for yourself for the remainder of the day. As therapists we do our best for the amount of time we have you on our table, but we can’t control your nervous system once you step outside our door. Know that while on our table we are working to return your body systems back to homeostasis, by reducing stress it helps to get all of your systems back to “normal”. Normal being where you are when you aren’t stressed, anxious, irritated- and all of the neurotransmitters floating around your body that come along with those emotions. When you’re on the table we are reminding the body that it can return back to this calmer state. The longer you’re able to prolong this, the better the body has the ability of recalling this “normal”. While it is helpful to get a massage at any time, before big board meetings or a week with the in-laws….it’s even better to get it when you know that you have time to rest, recharge and get acquainted with how your body feels at that moment.
2. Manage your expectations. Your daily habits and daily activities are your condition your body. If you get a massage 4 times a year and you sit at a computer all day, spend a good chunk of time head down on your phone…and this has been normal for a decade, do you think your massage therapist can fix you in 60 minutes? And while we’re at it, let's stop using the word fix. Your massage therapist can help you to feel better and give a subtle reminder to your body of where it’s supposed to be, but they won’t be able to unwind everything. Consistency is key! I recommend my clients come in monthly. We live in a time where we utilize technology in a way that isn’t in the best interest of our body. Your body is a machine, one that needs maintenance and support.
3. We think your body is just a body, a meat suit that houses all of your super cool systems like your nervous system, respiratory system, digestive system, muscular system, etc. I mean no disrespect, I think all of your body’s are awesome body’s. All I notice is that you have a body. If you are able to detach from self-conscious thoughts you’ll be able to relax even more on the table. This gives you a better experience, which you deserve!
4. If you are cold/hot, don’t like the music, music is too soft/loud, want more/less pressure…anything the massage therapist has control over, please speak up! We want you to be as relaxed as possible, lying on the table freezing while listening to music that irritates you is not what we want. So please, if there is anything the therapist can change to improve your session, let us know!
5. Get on the self-care wagon. We can work on you once a month, sometimes more, but the truth is that you spend more time outside of our office, so help us help you! Develop a self-care routine, journaling, meditation, stretching, time for yourself to take care of you. Since most self-care rituals tend to take place in the early morning, my favorite recommendation to clients is an end of the day ritual. A hot cup of tea after dinner, going to bed at a decent time, keeping the cell phone out of the bedroom, or at least on airplane mode.
6. Don’t eat a heavy meal before your massage. Lying on a full stomach doesn’t feel good. And being gassy on the massage table isn’t relaxing.
7. Breathe. Breathing makes EVERYTHING better. I often ask my clients to take a breath in, breathing into the area I am working on as if their lungs are beneath my hands. Often when we’re getting worked on and the therapist finds a tender spot we brace our muscles and hold our breath. Both are counterproductive. By tensing up your muscles my hands are now fighting your muscles, and I refuse to fight you. By holding your breath you may also be triggering a nervous system response, plus shutting off the flow of air which the blood carries to the muscles. We can back off the pressure, still working and perhaps gradually applying more pressure if the body allows it.
8. Massage is about what your body needs, not what YOU think your body needs. Do you know the difference? Sounds easy but can be tricky as many of us are a bit disconnected from the ability to hear our body speak. More on this later, I really wanted to plant the seed ;)
9. Book your next 3 appointments before you leave the office. Yep, I said THREE. Consistency is so important for massage. Booking your next 3 appointments guarantees your preferred day and time, and also you don’t have to keep thinking about how you need to book. Don’t worry, check with your therapist but most of us have a 24 hr cancellation/reschedule policy, so you can always reschedule as need be. Don’t feel bad if you need to move your appointment we want you on our books!
10. Still need a bit more convincing to schedule your next 3 appointments? The therapeutic effects of massage are cumulative, so the more often you get a massage, the better you will feel and the more quickly your body will respond. From one session to the next, relaxation deepens as the chronic patterns of stress in the body are affected and released.
I’d love to see you in the office, click the Book Now button to book your appointment. And as always, if you have any questions please email me Jen@JenniferSimons.com