After getting a massage your body feels so much more relaxed and less stiff, but how do you maintain that wonderful feeling before getting your next massage? There are lots of things you can do from taking a yoga class, to using hot packs, to rolling muscles with a tennis ball or foam roller. Also, getting up throughout your work day to move around, watching your posture and being aware of what you are doing in your daily activity that is causing pain (and doing less of that action) are all helpful. YIt is suggested to add more therapies such as chiropractic and personal training.
Your massage therapist will be able to give you some pointers on things you can do at home between sessions. They will tell you which muscles in your body need more attention or any deviations they found in your posture, things that are stuck or very stiff, and give advice accordingly. For most treatment plans you should return 1-2 times per month to continue working on the specific areas causing you pain, until you are able to reach your wellness goals. In the time being, you can help yourself by doing some homework. Find a local yoga class at a studio or at your gym. This will help stretch all of your muscles and increase flexibility through out your body.
Seeking out a chiropractor or personal trainer to give you an overall wellness plan is a great idea. Personal trainers can help you strengthen muscles that are weak in order to relieve pressure off the ones that are too strong and pulling on your body. Chiropractors on the other hand can manipulate the disks in your spine to alleviate pain as well. Using heat is another way to help loosen muscles. Listen to which areas your massage therapist told you are tense and only put a hot pack on those areas. Please note: avoid putting the heat on an area that is elongated or weak because it will further relax that muscle. Put the hot pack on the muscles that are pulling and too tight. You don’t want to use a hot pack more than 20 minutes at a time and adding a barrier like a towel or cloth will prevent burning your skin so be careful!
A sauna or whirlpool is another way to use heat, but will get your full body which is still wonderful. An epsom salt bath is an easy and affordable therapy that helps relax muscles and relieve tension. Rolling your muscles with a foam roller or tennis ball is also a good option. You will have to use the guidance of your massage therapist who can explain to you where to put the ball and which direction you should roll it.
Be aware of your posture at work, while driving and even while sleeping. Be attentive to what areas of your body are being overworked. Be in tune with actions in your daily activity that are causing you pain. For example, notice when you drive a lot, you're slouching for a long time or when you sleep on your side is your shoulder being crushed? Consider getting a body pillow to help align your posture while sleeping or experiment by laying on your back with a pillow under your knees. If you sit a lot make sure to get up and move around during your work day. If you lift a lot, be conscious of using your legs instead of your back to lift or do less twisting while lifting.
I hope these ideas have helped you understand ways to use the information learned during your massage to do some homework and help maintain your massage between sessions. The more work you do on your own the more progress your therapist can help you make during sessions. You should definitely ask your therapist if any of these sound more appealing to you or if you have questions. You should not try to fix anything on your own however without talking to a therapist first because you may be counteracting the progress made.
Shannon is one of several licensed massage therapists at Elements West Allis who is eager to assist you with your wellness goals. Elements is open 7 days per week and we offer very competitive rates. Please call our studio today at 414.455.2715 to book your next appointment!