- Drink plenty of water. A massage increases the cirulation, moving blood around the body and pushing it in and out of the muscles. That's a good thing! That blood brings oxygen and nutrients to cells and muscles, but it also carries away toxins that may have been building up in the body. Especially if you've had a deep massage, toxins that may have been trapped in the muscles were likely released. Drinking water after a massage will help the body to eliminate toxins and recover.
- Take it easy. There is a normal recovery period after a massage. You will likely feel a bit tired and lethargic for the rest of the day. Go with it! Your body needs that time to rejuvenate. Avoid strenuous exercise or stressful activities until you're feeling back to normal. Relax, put your feet up, and pamper yourself a bit. Mild exercise can be fine, but listen to your body. If you feel like taking a nap, do it!
- Stretch your body. With your muscles all loosened up, this is a great time for some gentle stretching to encourage that release. Focus on any areas the therapist spent extra time on or that may still feel tight or even a little bit sore from the massage. Get into a routine! A regular stretching regimen is a good thing. You're likely to have problem areas that tend to regularly tighten up on you. Stretching can keep things from becoming a problem down the road. If you're unsure, ask your therapist to recommend stretches for you.
- Keep Moving. Being active is a great way to maintain a healthy state of well-being. Many of us have sedentary "desk jobs" that add to the stress on our bodies. Set an alarm to remind you to get up and move around or stretch throughout the day. Exercise regularly to keep the cardiovascular system healthy and muscles strong. Weak muscles and lack of blood flow can add to the dysfunction of painful problem areas. Our bodies are made to be mobile. You'll feel a lot better if you keep it in action!
- Self massage. Most of us need more massage than we get. You can maintain the positive effects of massage by keeping it going in between sessions. There are a variety of tools out there that will help you do that. The cheapest tool you can use is a tennis ball. Using your body weight, you can apply pressure to knots and tight areas without too much intensity. A foam roller is also a great tool for rolling out the larger muscles of your legs, glutes, and back. My favorite tool is the Thera Cane. I love it because I don't have to find floor space to use it. I can use it while watching TV to find sore and tight spots, and I can get a surprising amount of pressure into them!
~Jenni Curtis, LMT