Your massage session is a sacred time. It is likely you have carefully carved out this time to honor and invest in your wellness. I believe you want to get the most therapeutic benefit possible and get relief from whatever is ailing you. It is likely you have been looking forward to your massage session for some time and whether you are seeking pain relief, or have a deep need to rest and rejuvenate, you should make the most of it. Here are 5 suggestions to help you to have the best massage session ever!
1. Be Early
If at all possible, be a few minutes early. Allowing yourself enough time to get to where you are going, will reduce much of the stress, tension, and pain your body holds. Next time you are rushing, notice the difference in your body. Do you feel tension in your upper back and shoulders? Is your head more forward then usual? I don’t know about you, but when I am running late and rushing somewhere, I can feel the stress hormones flooding my body. Rushing activates your fight or flight response in the central nervous system. Inducing this response so close to your massage time will likely increase the time it takes for you body to relax and delay deep benefits from the massage. We all have those days, though. If rushing is your only option, try deep, slow breathing to lessen the stress response in your body. I like to inhale for a count of 4, hold for a second, then exhale for a count of 4. While you are breathing, you can also say the following mantra: “There is enough time”.
2. Breathe Deeply
Once you arrive and are safe and cozy on the massage table, be sure to breathe deeply and fully. Due to stressful lifestyles and postural distortions, many of us are shallow breathers. Deep breathing activates the central nervous system and will allow your body to begin melting as I begin to warm up your tissues with long gliding massage strokes. I encourage my clients to take some deep breaths as we begin, but practicing randomly through out your day will help this breathing to feel more natural.
3. Keep Chatting to a Minimum
I love to chat with my clients! However; I usually don’t because the therapeutic benefit to silence during your massage is great. I have observed that bodies stay tense when clients are reliving all the stressful things in their day or week. Because of this, I put any desire I have to chat aside while I am giving a massage because I want my clients to experience the highest benefit possible from their massage session. This also allows me to be totally focused on your body and what the tissues are telling me. You may have noticed that I follow your lead, and if you chat, I will respond...but I typically do not initiate conversation through out your session. I always check in at the beginning, and may have a little chat before we really get to the heart of the massage, but mostly I am silent.
4. Reflect on the State of Your Body Before Your Session
I always ask my clients how their body is feeling before we start a session. For you, this question begins the process of re-connecting the mind-body and is important in getting your mind-body to receive what it needs. Your answer allows me to strategize the best possible session for your needs that day. You may need a little extra time in your neck or low back. Perhaps your feet have been hurting, and I need to spend a significant portion of our time on your calves or feet. If stress levels have been high since your last session, then a therapeutically relaxing session is more appropriate than trigger point work. Customizing your session for your specific needs is something I take great pride in doing well.
5. Try and Schedule Some Down Time After Your Massage
I like to recommend my clients schedule some down time after their massage. A short time period to integrate the deep work that was done during the massage session is essential to getting the highest benefit. Even just spending a few moments reflecting on all the wonderful sensations that were experienced during the massage can be very beneficial. If no down time is possible, know that you will still receive many benefits from your regular massage sessions.
Again, I know how important your massage sessions are to your well-being and want you to receive the highest therapeutic benefit possible. Regular massage therapy as part of your self-care and wellness routine is and investment in your health. As your massage therapist, I will always do my part, and provide compassionate, superior massage therapy services. When you actively participate and practice these 5 suggestions, I guarantee that you will receive the highest possible therapeutic benefit from your massage session.