Let's talk about the elephant in the room: even the best massage can be just okay if there are distractions from the present moment. Some days it's harder to physically or mentally relax. Sometimes, the pressure needs to be switched up. Other times, the temperature or music needs adjusting.
Your time is a huge investment, and you deserve the most from it! These simple tips will help optimize your massage experience before, during, and after your visit.
Stretch & Hydrate Before (And After!) Your Session
Honestly, who doesn't love stretching after you get started? We are living, breathing, and moving creatures who benefit from stretching so much that our brain releases a feel-good hormone to reinforce it.
Stretching prior to your session is particularly helpful for muscle mobilization and tissue health. Focus on stretches that lengthen the muscles and improve range of motion to help relax the muscles and increase circulation. Your massage therapist will notice the difference, and you will too! Plus, that endorphin release helps to aid mental relaxation, decrease pain, and reduce stress.
Of course, drinking plentiful water hydrates the muscles in order for all this to happen. We recommend slowing down water consumption 1 hour prior to avoid a mid-session intermission to the bathroom. Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine on the day of your massage.
After your session, regularly stretching can preserve the benefits of massage and act like a "tune-up" in-between sessions.
Take A Few Deep Breaths and Meditate Before Your Session
Seriously, it works. Even a few minutes of meditation and/or mindful breathing has positive, lasting effects on the brain.
If you forget or don't have time, try to take a few grounding breaths before your massage therapist enters the room. Inhale deeply, then exhale for twice as long. This will help you identify how you currently feel in your mind and body while limiting external influences.
Most massages begin with gentle compressions or techniques to introduce touch and bring circulation to the muscles. Some therapists might encourage and remind you to breathe throughout the session, especially if you share this intention.
Your Massage Therapist Is There to Support You
Our LMTs will always consult with you before your massage to identify your goals for the session, specific requests, type of pressure, and any adjustments for your comfort (temperature of the room, music volume, lighting, etc).
One of the most common misconceptions is that this is where the conversation ends. During the session, we encourage you to inform your therapist if anything changes. Sometimes the level of pressure originally requested is actually too light/intense, or the area it's being applied at has a different tolerance. Maybe the room temperature became too hot for your warmed up muscles. We want to know!
The more clarity and information you can provide about your massage preferences, the better we can accommodate for you, and the more you can relax and "fuggedaboutit" - for the right reasons.
Create Your Post-Massage Ritual
This is one of our favorites because the possibilities are endless!
Here are a few ideas to seal your massage with embodied self-love and care:
- Don't rush out. Take your time getting up and dressed after your massage.
- Spend a few minutes simply noticing your breath and any sensations, old or new, in your body.
- Enjoy a warm cup of water or tea and emit that post-massage glow.
- Take an Epson salt water bath to soak your muscles.
- Light a candle and journal about your feelings, read, write, or meditate.
- Take a nap. It's normal to feel tired after a session.
- Drink more water. Trust us on this one.
- Smile and celebrate for taking care of yourself.
Optimizing your massage experience doesn't have to be complicated. All it takes is a little bit of mindfulness, combined with voicing your needs, a dollop of stretching and hydration, and a sprinkle of a post-massage treat.