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  • Chelsa Connolly

Getting the most from your massage therapy

Some tips for the most effective self-care to gain the most benefits from your time receiving massage therapy.

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Massage therapy appointments always pass too quickly. Regardless if it's for prenatal, postpartum, working with an injury or just self-care to escape the daily stressors. We all wish the time spent in a quiet room, soft music, a warm, comfy blanket and the skilled worked of a massage therapist just didn't have to end so quickly.


Unfortunately, time flies when it's blissful. The benefits of the time spent on the table don't have resolve so quickly. There are things you can do following your appointment to help your body continue to reap the benefits of your massage and prolong those moments escaping the tension of daily life.




Take a walk - Keep your body in motion


Movement keeps blood flowing through your body, assisting in removing the normal day to day toxins (cellular debris). While washing over the cells in the body with oxygenated red blood cells to keep everything functioning at optimal levels.


Take it outside to give your mind/body a similar sensory experience to engage you to experience a moment of grounding, calling awareness to the present moment. The birds singing in the trees, the cool breeze on your face bringing the smell of freshly mowed grass to your nose. Each a momentary escape allowing you to reset.


Use a foam roller/tennis ball - Self-myofascial release techniques that can be performed regularly


If your massage therapy is targeted toward a specific medical condition or involves specific myofascial release, daily stretching and foam rolling will help to improve tissue mobility.


Wrapping around each individual cell within the body, giving us shape and structure, the fascia is magical tissue. As it grows stronger and more supportive with time, unfortunately it can also work against us, restricting movement. Using a foam roller or variations such as tennis ball, peanut, high density foam ball, etc. frequently for short periods of time will help to lengthen and stimulate the tissue to grow in a way that is both supportive and functional.


"The soul of a man, with all the streams of pure living water, seems to dwell in the fascia of his body. When you deal with the fascia, you deal and do business with the branch offices of the brain" – A.T. Still M.D.

Stretching and challenging the fascia helps to relieve stress on the nerves. Releasing endorphins similar to receiving massage therapy. Pulsing through our bodies like little lullabies to the cells, asking everything in the nervous system to calm and relax.


Avoid strenuous exercise - focus on quality of movement


Getting off the massage therapy table slightly unsure what world you exist in is often normal, your therapist lovingly refers to it "massage drunk". It's just those endorphins we were just talking about. Everything from the warmth of the table, to the smell of the aromatherapy and the pressure on sore muscles encourages the nervous system to calm and give the tissue space to heal.


Rushing to strenuous activity reactivates those nerves abruptly. Undoing the effects of the massage, while disrupting the healing processes that had begun. Instead, try focusing quality of movement.


Ex: Form work with body weight squats, or light work with bands or dumb bells, or the specific way your heel hits the ground when you walk


Massage therapy, especially myofascial release, can be thought of a reset button for the nervous system. This makes the hours and days following high quality massage therapy a perfect time to improve your movement.


Combine modalities - Mix it up


Heat vs Cold, infrared light vs red light therapy. Massage therapy holds its very own in the world of health and wellness. In addition to hands on professional body work, other therapies also work with the processes of the body to encourage healing. Which one works best for each individual in a given situation is best to be discussed with your care providers.


A few rules of thumb:


If it's swollen ( and you've already made sure there isn't a severe injury): cold and compression


If it's "tight" (and you've already made sure there isn't a severe injury or disease): heat and stretching


Infrared and red light therapy can be wonderful complements to help manage systematic responses to multiple issues, providing a similar escape from the day that is more cost effective than an hour of massage therapy.


Drink your water -


When the therapist says drink lots of water to help flush the toxins, you may conjure images of water washing over cells rinsing away evil little beings set on destroying you from the inside out. Truthfully, drinking water just helps to keep the kidneys flushing out from having fluid being moved more rapidly than normal.


Drinking water is especially important when receiving cupping therapy or lymphatic massage therapy. Frequently used techniques in injury or exercise recovery.


Water intake is also especially important during pregnancy when the body requires more fluid to fuel two bodies. Naturally, therapists just want to encourage and support the momma's they are caring for with prenatal and post partum massage therapy.


All good things must come to and end but stay hopeful!


No one enjoys how quickly their massage therapy session comes to a close. But with improved self-care the time between appointments doesn't seem so bad. Work with your therapist to find the best schedule for how often to receive the most benefits of massage therapy for the demands your body faces regularly.

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