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After Massage

Post Massage: What Should You Do after a Massage?

Question:

I’ve been wanting to try a massage for awhile, but I was a little nervous about feeling self-conscious. After doing a lot of research, I understand more what to expect. I finally got over my nerves and booked my first massage. I’m really excited! What I’m wondering about now, though, is what to do after my massage. Is there anything in particular I should do (or avoid doing) after a massage so I can get the most benefit from it?

Answer:

First of all, congratulations! Doing anything for the first time can be nerve-wracking, but rest assured that you’ll be in good hands with a certified massage therapist. Make sure you talk to them beforehand about any concerns you have, and let them know it’s your first time. They’ll make sure you’re comfortable and can have the best possible experience.

Your massage therapist can also give you some good ideas for what to do afterwards. Generally speaking, you should take some time to rest and relax. Avoid going back to work or doing any strenuous activities immediately after a massage, if at all possible – especially after your first massage.[1]

Drinking plenty of water is especially important, not just immediately after your massage but throughout the next day or so. The water helps your body flush out any accumulated fluids and tissue waste products that may have been released during your massage. Avoid dehydrating drinks, such as coffee or anything alcoholic.[2]

How you feel after your massage depends on the type of massage, the techniques used, and the length of your session. If you’ve scheduled a Swedish massage, you likely won’t feel any significant pain. However, it isn’t uncommon to feel a mild soreness, especially when you’ve never had a massage before, because your muscles aren’t used to that kind of pressure.[3]

A warm bath can feel nice after a massage and allows you to clean off the oils the massage therapist used. If you do feel a little soreness, adding some epsom salts to your bath will soothe your muscles. You may feel particularly sore in specific areas – this is especially likely if you have any old injuries or strains. Just apply an ice pack to the area for 10 to 15 minutes.[4]

If you’ve scheduled your massage close to mealtime, avoid anything heavy. A light vegetarian stir fry with pasta or rice is a good choice. You could also drink a cup of herbal tea to enhance the calming effect of the massage.[5]

Perhaps the most important thing to do after a massage is to simply be aware of the effect on your mind and body. It’s not uncommon to experience an emotional release along with the deep physical relaxation. Don’t hold in any emotional response – let it wash over you and appreciate the release.[6]

References:

[1] University of Minnesota: “What Can I Expect in a First Massage Therapy Visit?” https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/massage-therapy/what-can-i-expect-first-massage-theraphy-visit

[2] Back to Balance Massage Therapy and Bodyworks: “After the Massage,” http://www.cyndisingh.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=41&Itemid=149

[3] University of Minnesota: “What Can I Expect in a First Massage Therapy Visit?” https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/massage-therapy/what-can-i-expect-first-massage-theraphy-visit

[4] Billings Massage Therapists: “What to Expect After a Massage,” http://billingsmassagetherapists.com/after-massage/

[5] Back to Balance Massage Therapy and Bodyworks: “After the Massage,” http://www.cyndisingh.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=41&Itemid=149

[6] Id.

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