Avoid eating right before
Massage stimulates digestion, so a full meal right before may leave you feeling queasy afterwards. Eating lightly one to two hours beforehand is best.

Arrive early to decompress
When you arrive late or rushed, it simply takes longer to get to that ideal relaxed, healing state you’re seeking.

Warm up your muscles
Cold muscles are oft en tense muscles. A great pre-massage activity is the relaxation of mind and muscles that results from taking a warm shower.

Communicate with your therapist
According to the American Massage Th erapy Association, this step can make or break your experience. Besides issues of room temperature, music levels, and oil scents, don’t be afraid to be clear with your therapist on pressure levels. Th e “no pain, no gain” method doesn’t always apply here. Too much force can cause a muscle to tighten up more and create more pain afterwards.

Remember to breathe
Breathing helps with relaxation, as well as oxygenating your blood supply to aid tense muscles. Counterintuitive to the whole experience, we oft en tense up or unconsciously stop breathing when a therapist reaches a sensitive spot. Taking long, deep, relaxing breaths from the abdomen helps to relax both our minds and muscles.

Do not schedule exercise after massage
Think again if you’re trying to squeeze in your favorite fi tness class aft er your massage. Stress and strain to the muscles that were just relaxed is a bad idea. However, a workout beforehand can be a great way to warm up and ready your muscles for massage.

Hydrate post-massage
Drinking lots of water afterwards is essential for rehydrating, building healthy muscle tissue and removing metabolic wastes.

Avoid the post-massage coffee
Drinking caffeine right aft er a massage can tense the muscles that were just worked on. Herbal teas or water are much better choices.

Repeat the regimen
As with any healthy habit, the best results are usually seen on a cumulative basis, and as part of a long-term wellness routine. It’s difficult to get all the kinks and muscle pain under control with one massage treatment, so receiving regular body tune-ups will always result in the best outcome.

Allow transitioning time afterwards
Prolong the post-massage bliss for as long as possible. Making time aft erwards to take it slowly, and perhaps even indulge in a nap, can help extend the benefits of your massage.

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