You know you’ve had a disappointing massage experience when you leave a session feeling mentally and physically dissatisfied. Whether you had a hard time relaxing, you weren’t comfortable with the therapist’s massage approach, room temperature is not to your liking, or the music or lighting, there are many internal and external factors that can come into play during a massage session.
To make the most of your next massage, adopt the following four tips before, during and after your session so you can maximize your experience and leave feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Find the Best Massage Therapist for You
Finding a massage therapist that you’re compatible with and comfortable with in regard to personality and massage delivery techniques can make or break your satisfaction. At Elements Massage, our massage therapists are given different pressure levels. When you initially call our studio, you will be placed with the best massage therapist to fit your needs. It's important to know that every massage therapist has a unique approach and specific areas they focus on. You're welcome to do research prior to a massage to make sure a therapist’s approach aligns with your goals and expectations, or we can place you with one that fits your goals.
Communicating your specific aches or pains with the therapist both prior to starting the session and during the session is also important to ensure your needs will be met during the massage.
“If you have specific problems or issues you want addressed, it’s a really good idea to check out a therapist’s resume, certifications and continuing education,” advises Angel Wossum, massage therapist at Elements Massage Florence. “Being honest and upfront with the therapist also is essential so that everybody is on the same page about the purpose of the massage from the beginning.”
Be Early and Be Prepared
Rushing around and running late for a massage session will only lead to a sub-par experience, since you aren’t giving your mind and body time to pause and prepare for a relaxing experience. To get the most benefits out of your massage session, Wossum recommends that you arrive at the studio at least 15 minutes ahead of the appointment to fill out paperwork, use the restroom and decompress any stress you’ve encountered throughout the day.
When you’re lying on the table waiting for the therapist to come in to start the massage, it also can be helpful to take a few deep breathes to clear your mind and prepare your body to melt into the warm, comfortable table.
“When clients are running behind, everyone feels rushed and stressed,” says Wossum. “Being early is being on time when you get a massage. It allows you to be prepared and ready so your experience is everything you want it to be.”
Leave Your Thoughts At The Door
One of the biggest obstacles to a successful massage experience is letting outside stresses, devices and frustrations sneak into the massage room with you. Both massage therapists and clients need to make concentrated efforts to remove distractions that can negatively affect the outcome of the session such as cell phones, memories of a heated discussion or home and work stress.
“As you’re in a session, try not to think about all of the things that are stressing you out,” says Middleton. “Whether it’s good or bad, leave your attitudes and frustrations at the door so you can have a more relaxing experience.”
“As a therapist, I have to leave all of my personal things at the door as well,” continues Middleton. “People feed off each other’s energies so I can’t come in being mad at the world. I do a couple stretches and breathing exercises before a session to help clear my mind and prepare for the massage. It can be helpful for clients to do this as well.”
Adopt a Relaxed Post-Massage Routine
After you’ve taken at least an hour out of your day to focus on relaxing and unwinding during your massage session, the last thing you want to do is run out into the world full speed ahead. Instead, Wossum and Middleton both agree that the best post-massage prescription is to head home to a relaxing environment where you can take a hot bath with Epsom salt to relieve any soreness and keep your muscles loose.
“The best day to schedule a massage is when you can just chill out afterward,” says Wossum. “If you get a massage and then spend the rest of the day rushing around or doing strenuous exercise, you’re not going to enjoy the full benefits of the massage. We do a lot of work to fix things during a massage. So you don’t want to undo it all by doing too much for the rest of the day.”
Getting a massage is great for relaxing your mind and body, but reaping the benefits of a massage long after the session ends is when you can really start establishing total health and wellness. The next time you schedule a massage, maximize your experience by following these simple but effective tips before, during and after your session.