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How to get more out of your massage

Four Seasons
Four Seasons
Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images

You’ve fallen in-love with a massage because it released you from pain, but now you’re upset with the massage therapist because of the pain it caused. A massage’s job is to heal, and sometimes the cure is in the pressure- whether delicate or deep. The deeper the massage the more it realigns deeper layers of the muscles and connective tissue, and releases the body of its kinks it once suffered from. What’s not natural is what you do next, after the massage. The misplaced blame of blaming the massage therapist rather than yourself is unfortunately the norm, but who can be surprised when misplaced blame happens so frequently in society? Let’s focus on reasons it may be your own fault the massage caused you more pain than it should have. Did you drink liquor before or after the massage, or did you drink any or enough water before or after the massage? Those are just a few of the reasons to why you would be in pain after a massage. A massage and pain sometimes go hand in hand, but it’s what you do before and after that determines the level of pain.

Before a massage, do consume a lot of water, and definitely drink plenty of water after a massage. It’s especially important after having a deep tissue massage to drink a lot of water, because drinking water (hydrating yourself) pushes toxins through the kidneys and out of the body. This process can cause you to urinate a lot, so don’t be alarmed if this does occur because it’s natural. A massage does help to push toxins out of the body, and helps to promote lymphatic movement- so do drink plenty of water after a massage to assist the body in pushing out waste. Besides water being essential to life and the human body, it goes hand in hand with a massage to help push waste out of the body, and helps the lymphatic system to perform its natural job of draining the body of waste.

Your lymphatic system, sometimes called the lymph system, is the body’s drainage system. A brief description of the lymphatic system is it’s the ‘other’ circulatory system. Too often, the body is thought to have only one circulatory system but it actually has two, which are the cardiovascular and lymphatic system. If you were someone who believed the body only had one, then it’s time to return back to basics- maybe all the way back to elementary science class even.

To take a bath is another solution, and this soothing fix will calm the affected muscles. Commonly it’s said to use Epsom salts in the bath water, but let’s take it to greater heights and start using better salts. Try using salts with essential oils, because not only can you compare it to Epsom salts that is Magnesium Sulfate, which is a muscle relaxer, but it’s natural. Both will draw out toxins and will have a detoxifying affect, but salts with essential oils will have a lasting affect on the body because your essential oils are the strongest due to the purity they possess. To obtain Epsom salts is easier because any grocery store and convenient store carries it, but if you spend a bit more effort to explore less traveled options then you can come across places that carry natural items that assist in healing your body better and wholistically. Don’t worry if you don’t use any of these things because just warm bath water will calm down the inflammation in the muscles, and do make sure to use warm water instead of hot water because the excessive heat will exacerbate the injury or pain.

Listen and pay attention to your own body. Does it tell you it needs sleep or rest after a massage? If so, then do listen because the body knows itself, so sleep or rest if you must. You may feel tired, and feel like you should lie down and take a nap. This is a normal occurrence so if you do feel like this hopefully you don’t have any immediate plans right after the massage session.

So far we’ve discussed what to do, but let’s now discuss what to avoid. That steak, mashed potatoes, broccoli with butter poured all over it; with that wine to top it off is a ‘no no’ before and after a massage. You want to eat lightly right before and after a massage, but you don’t want to get a massage on an empty stomach either.

Be aware and conscious of your body and actually a massage will teach you to do this, but as you pay attention to your body it may so happen that you feel the pain the body is going through. This is normal with deep tissue but pain can also derive from the more gentle types of massage too, including the Swedish massage. It’s also normal to not feel the pain from a massage until the following day, and since a massage is a passive form of exercise then that delayed soreness is normal. Stretching is a prescription, so do stretch before and after a massage, and since stretching is what you should be doing anyway it won’t hurt you either way.

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