Don’t Sabotage Your Massage! – A Pre-Massage Checklist

Don't Sabotage Your Massage

Have you ever been disappointed by a massage? It’s bound to happen eventually if you get regular massage, but there are a lot of factors that go into what kind of experience you’re going to have. Not everything is in your control, and we certainly try to hold up our end of making your experience soothing and therapeutic, there are some simple things you can do as well.

Before your massage …

Drink water
We’ve covered the risks of dehydration in this space before, but a lot of it bears repeating. When your muscles are tight, waste can build up in there. Massage releases that waste, so it helps to come in hydrated to give your body the best chance of flushing it out.

And don’t forget to grab a cup of water aftewards.

Wellness Check-In 1: Am I sick?
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and check in with your body before you come in. There are two questions you want answered, and the first of these is “Am I sick?”

Pay attention. Are you feeling much more tired and achy than usual? Is there a tell-tale tickle in the back of your throat warning you of an on-coming cold or flu bug?

In these situations, it’s best to cancel. We’ve had clients come in feeling a little under-the-weather who got their massage, then had to pulled over to vomit on the way home. Massage is great for your wellness over-all, but it can aggravate an oncoming or present illness. Please don’t hesitate to cancel in this situation! If you’re sick, a massage does more harm than good.

Wellness Check-In 2: What do I need?

The second health check-in you need to do is related to your massage and what you need most. Again, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Bring your attention to your back, your legs, your neck, your shoulders in-turn. Where are you feeling the most tension or pain? Make a mental note of it (or an actual note of it on the intake). That way, when your therapist asks what you need worked on for your massage, you’ll be ready to tell them exactly where you need the most attention.

Get your work-out in
If you’re planning to exercise that day, make sure you plan to get it in before your massage, not after. Some athletes may get a massage before a training session, but certainly not before an event or a game. For the rest of us, massage can relax and warm up your soft tissues to the point that you’ll be at a higher risk of sprain or strain if you jump right into vigorous activity.

Getting your massage after your workout, however, can be a great way to maximize the benefit of the massage. The simple reason for this is that you’re coming in with muscles already warmed and ready to work on! It saves the therapist time relaxing your muscles and soft tissues, and allows them to do deeper work, faster, and with less discomfort on your end.

Like many of the things on this list, this isn’t absolutely essential, but you may find it helps you get the most from your session.

Take a shower
This kind of dovetails in with the last one, but whether you work out beforehand or not, you may feel less self-conscious about any possible odors. Plus, the warm water will have helped you relax, and you’ll be even more prepared for a relaxing and productive session.

Show up early
This is a great idea, even if you don’t need to fill out our intake paperwork for your visit. The worst thing you can do to sabotage your massage is to come in completely frazzled, or worse yet, late, and not even get your full session time.

On the other hand, giving yourself time to arrive early will help you physically and mentally prepare for your session. Our waiting area was created with your comfort and serenity in mind, and we really don’t mind letting you wait for your session time. Take a minute to take some deep breaths. Listen to the sound of our signature waterfall. This is a great time to do that wellness check-in mentioned above.

We pride ourselves on giving clients their full as-advertised time on the massage table: sixty minutes means sixty full minutes of massage, not fifty or forty-five when the transition time is factored in.

If you must eat, eat light
You don’t want to be distracted by intense hunger during your massage, but if you must eat anything beforehand, go easy on the portions. Most people feel queasy when getting a massage after a big meal. They may even feel like they overate, even if they didn’t. Save your meal for after your massage. Eating afterward can be a great way to shake the fuzzy “massage brain” feeling many experience after a session.

Doing these few simple things will help you get the most from your massage experience, and reflect a lifestyle that’s slower-paced, more delibarate, and happier.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can hire him to assist you with content marketing, social media, or brand development by contacting him at tomgunn@gmail.com.

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When NOT to Get a Massage

As much as we’d like to say that any time is a good time, sometimes it really is best to reschedule your massage. Massage has a significant impact on the body, and that means you need to use just a little self-awareness before getting the table. If you get this wrong, the consequences range from mild discomfort to needing serious medical attention.

Injuries
If you’ve been injured, say on the job or in a car accident, massage can be extremely beneficial and therapeutic, depending on the nature of your injuries. Having said that, we highly recommend a doctor’s referral before you come in after an injury. Massage could actually aggravate your injury, making a bad situation even worse.

Yes, we’re trained professionals, but we’re not medical doctors. It’s crucial that you be honest with your practitioner and yourself before you get on the table.

After Drinking
We strongly recommend spacing out your alcohol consumption and massage. This is an easy trap to fall into on a cruise or some kind of vacation situation. If a couples massage, for instance, is part of a date night, make sure the massage comes before, not after, dinner or drinks.

Have you ever noticed that your practitioner will offer you water after a massage? That’s because massage makes you feel dehydrated … just like alcohol. Getting a massage after a few drinks might feel really good during the session, but you may really be feeling it in the morning.

“Uh oh. Am I getting this?”
Do you have that little tickle in the back of your throat? Are you feeling some queasiness or chills? Listen to your body. If you’re feeling some of the telltale signs that indicate that you’re about to get sick, reschedule your massage. (It should go without saying that getting a massage while you’re sick is usually a bad idea. But really–whatever you’ve got, we don’t want.)

In a way that’s similar to exercise, massage encourages circulation of bodily fluids, which can temporarily tax your immune system. If your body is already fighting a bug when you get a massage, you can expect to feel worse–definitely the morning after, and maybe even right after the session.

Pregnancy?
No problem. In fact, we highly recommend prenatal massage, right up to the time you give birth. There’s a myth out there that massage can actually cause you to go into labor. This isn’t really true.

Postpartum massage is also safe, in general, but if you’ve had a c-section or other complication, it’s best to clear it with your doctor first.

… But the money!
Your health is more important. Having said that, it’s understandable to be concerned about losing a prepaid session or having to pay for a session you won’t get because of a late cancellation. It’s true that we have a late cancellation/no-show policy, but we’ve been known to grant exceptions. Talk to your practitioner or a manager if you have health concerns around keeping your appointment.

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can hire his services as a writer, editor, or social media expert at www.TGunnWriter.com.