Getting a massage is easy and straightforward: You simply show up at the spa or wellness and natural therapy center, lie on the massage bed, and let the therapist work his or her magic.
But with some additional preparation and steps, you can enjoy a more relaxing and rewarding session — not to mention experience more benefits from the massage as well.
Here are some handy tips for getting more from your massage:
1. Show up well-prepared for your session
Avoid eating at least an hour before getting a massage. Give your body time to digest your meal first.
However, drink some water 30 to 60 minutes before the session. This is to prevent the blood flow from being too sluggish in processing the lactic acid and toxins that will be flushed out from the muscles during the massage. You will also experience fewer aches or soreness the next day if you get a massage while properly hydrated.
Lastly, arrive at the spa or massage center before your appointment or on time. By showing up early, you will have enough time to decompress, and have an easier and faster time relaxing and getting your mind and body ready for the massage.
2. Enter the massage room fully comfortable
When getting a body massage, you do not always have to be fully naked; take off only as much clothing as you are comfortable removing. If you do not want to remove your clothing, wear something that will be comfortable during the massage but would still enable the therapist to touch and move the areas of your body you want massaged.
3. Talk to your massage therapist before the session
Before the session starts, give your therapist important health information he or she has to know. Tell the therapist what your expectations are and your reasons for getting the massage as well.
In addition, make sure you have a talk with your massage therapist about the following:
- Any allergies to certain fragrances, oils, lotions or powders, so that the therapist can use a substitute.
- If you prefer a quiet session or to have a light chat with the therapist during the massage.
- If you want music to be played during the session.
4. Do not be afraid to speak up during the session as well
If you feel any pain or discomfort during the session — whether it’s from the massage, room temperature, music, or the overwhelming scent — tell your therapist immediately. Do not be shy to share what is on your mind with your therapist regarding the speed of hand movement, the amount of pressure you are feeling, and other things, especially during a deep tissue body massage.
In case you would like some focused attention on tender areas or you would like your sensitive spots to be avoided, inform the massage therapist as well.
5. Be mindful and present throughout the session
Pay attention to any changes in physical and emotional tension during the massage. If one part of your body tenses up as another relaxes, think of a way to help the muscle relax.
If you tend to fall asleep while getting a massage, try to avoid doing so every session. Staying awake, alert and present throughout the session will allow you to enjoy more health benefits. You get to experience the healing process as it happens, too.
6. Breathe normally
Breathing normally helps facilitate relaxation. If a sensitive area is being massaged rigorously, take deep breaths. This will help you focus on relaxing the involved muscles. It will also help the therapist have an easier time releasing the muscle’s tension.
As much as possible, avoid contracting or hardening your muscles during the massage. This will not facilitate any kind of healing. In case you are having a hard time doing this, tell your therapist; he or she may need to adjust the massage technique to help you relax the affected area better.
If you cannot seem to empty your mind or relax during the session, follow the hands of the therapist and focus on how the touch feels. This will help you become more mindful and stay in the present as well.
8. When the session is over, don’t rush out
Finally, once the session is over, take some time to think about and relish the experience. Savor and linger in that post-massage feeling or sensation. Try to remember this feeling to avoid being overcome by stress easily when you go back to your daily routine.
Don’t forget to drink some water as well to help flush out more toxins from your body.
Even though a typical massage may just take one hour, you can experience its healthy effects for days as long as you follow the right steps and tips before and during the session.
Marc Innes is the Owner and Principal of the School of Natural Therapies, a training school for Massage & Holistic Therapies located in London. Marc began his career in the NHS, working in a number of managerial and training roles within the Ambulance Service in London. He spent much of that time educating and coaching medical staff. Over time, he developed an interest in all things complementary to Allopathic Medicine, in particular, Reiki Healing and EFT, which culminated in running a successful teaching and ‘energy healing’ practice. Marc is passionate about the massage and complementary therapy industry.