11 Jan How to Have a Massage
Your therapist knows what she’s doing, but do you?
ACHEY MUSCLES, STUBBORN KNOTS. You’re sitting at your desk trying to get some work done, but your body is yearning for a massage. I feel you. Over here, the usual scenario is I call Anna, my years-long massage therapist with magic hands. An hour or so of her signature dry shiatsu massage and I am fixed. Other days, my husband and I go on a massage date to our favourite Chinese reflexology place on the other side of town. Either way, it’s the same massage, every single time. And every single time it works wonders. When you’ve found the right therapist or massage place, the rest is really up to you. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned on how to get the most out of your massage…
Some people like to book a massage at a certain time and day every so often. This definitely helps if you’ve got a packed schedule and ensures you’re making time for some relief and relaxation. I tend to schedule a massage when my body needs it, usually after a stressful day when my upper back and neck have become the centre of the universe for achey knots. Sometimes a good workout helps with that, sometimes a massage is all I need. So I get one only when I need it. Although those free impromptu back massages at the salon after a hair treatment are always welcome, I feel massages are most relieving, relaxing and satisfying when you had it because you truly needed it, and not just for the sake of it.
#2 UNWIND FIRST
On my way to my favorite massage place I get very quiet. I’m psyching myself for the massage. Just as I like to sit quietly in my room waiting for Anna to show up. I mean, picture the alternative: You’re in the zone, totally focused on something at work or anything stressful and then BOOM—massage? I’ve found that switching gears too quickly like that diminishes the benefits of a massage. Do what you can and then do what you must to unwind before a session (put that phone on silent). Whether it’s having a meal (not right before, health experts say), or taking a shower (especially if you’ve come from a workout or intend to nod off after), or sitting in quiet anticipation—allow your body and mind to relax before having a massage.
#3 SPEAK UP
This becomes routine when you’ve had massages for awhile. But if you’re new to massage, remember that the point of the session is to get you relief and relaxation. Feel free to inform the therapist about how you feel at the moment. If you find the room too cold or too warm. If you’d prefer to keep your clothes on. If the music is too loud…don’t suffer in silence. Remember that the therapist will (and should) gladly make an effort to make sure your session goes well, if not great. Don’t hesitate to speak up especially when a certain technique is uncomfortable or painful, or when you’d like a certain point in your body to be given more focus. Trust me, there’s nothing more frustrating than when a therapist works on every other area except that ONE KNOT in your back that’s been bothering you all day.
#4 TRY NEW THINGS
My massage technique of choice is Shiatsu. It is a dry massage that really gets into where my pain or tension is and I rarely go for other techniques or the use of oil. But lately I’ve tried other techniques like Deep Tissue which requires an oil. The massage oil line of Santa Maria Virgin Coconut Oil has made this transition easier for me. Made from cold-processed VCO, the Santa Maria line is available in Eucalyptus and Orange essential oil-infused massage oils. Santa Maria VCO is topnotch, and coconut oil is anti-inflammatory, which makes it perfect for massage. It is also a great carrier of essential oils in my opinion. When used in massage, the scents fill the room and my session becomes a relaxing sensory experience. Which is how massage should be.
#5 DRINK WATER, GO PEE
There’s a reason they give you water to drink after a massage. And there’s a reason you want to go pee right after too. Anna has actually told me this, that you should be well-hydrated and that you should go pee after a session, to get rid of accumulated toxins and metabolic waste (from tight muscles and poor circulation) that massage helps to release. The release of toxins might cause sleepiness in some. Which is why it’s probably not a great idea to schedule a massage right in the middle of a hectic day, but towards the end of it instead.
Hope these tips will help to make your next massage session a great one. A belated Happy New Year to everyone. Wishing you guys a 2017 that’s filled with joy and good work, and the gift of time for lots of relaxation and rest. Thanks for reading!
Sources: How To Have A Massage, by Ina Amor Mejia. talesfromthecusp.com