Getting a remedial massage can be the highlight of your day, but did you know there’s ways to make the experience even better? Follow these hot tips to get the most out of your massage experience!
Turn your devices off
I’m sure you have heard of the term ‘fight or flight’ but have you heard of the less commonly known term ‘rest and digest?’ essentially these two terms refer to the state in which your nervous system is functioning. Rest and digest refer to your nervous system being in its parasympathetic state where some of its activities include stimulating digestion, activating metabolism and helping the body to relax. This is the most optimal state to be in when receiving a massage however things like receiving a text/phone call/notification of your mobile can prevent you from reaching this state. Switch your mobile onto ‘do not disturb’ or switch it off and pop it in your bag to avoid any unwanted distractions so that you can enjoy your hour in a nice relaxed state. Don’t forget to take off your smart watch too!
Building on what we’ve just learnt about our nervous system my second tip (and favorite!) is to practice some deep breathing whilst in your massage. Deep breathing can help to switch that nervous system into its most relaxed state and promote healing. 4-7-8 breathing is a great place to start, by this I mean take a 4 second breath in, hold that breath for 7 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds. This is only a guideline however, taking slow deep breaths at a comfortable speed that suits your body will work just as well. Want to take it one step further? How about some meditation practice during your massage? Try starting off with some deep breaths and then try and clear your mind from thinking about your up coming meeting or what you should make for dinner – simply recognize you are having a thought and bring your focus back to your breath without attaching yourself to your thought.
Think about your scheduling time
Scheduling your massage right before a big meeting may not be the best idea. Schedule your massage at a time that fits in well with your existing schedule and allow some time after your appointment to have a sit down and a drink of water. Usually after a remedial massage, patients can feel quite spacey and relaxed so its nice to allow a bit of time after to let your body adjust to being mobile and alert again. My favorite time to have my massages is at the end of the day or on my days off so that I can really enjoy the benefits of the massage I have just received. This is not always the most ideal time for every patient so I would recommend allowing 30 mins before attending any pressing matters post massage if possible.
Follow up with some home care
Massage/Osteopathy/Physiotherapy/Exercise Physiology are all tools that you have in your hypothetical tool box, but no hypothetical house was built only using one tool. We are but one part of the plan to get your body feeling its best and what will really matter is what you are doing at home and throughout your day-to-day life. Home care doesn’t have to be hard or scary and no matter how many times we practitioners have heard that our patients ‘didn’t have time’ to put a heat pack on or do their exercises we just know its simply not true. Heat, ice, keeping hydrated and performing your prescribed exercises and stretches are all simple tasks but they can make a huge difference! Wanting to know more about home care? Usually, practitioners will give you some homework to do at the end of your session but don’t be afraid to ask for their advice if you want to know about the homecare that will work best for your body.
Do yourself a favor and pop a heat pack on those sore shoulders at the end of the day and see how addictive it becomes (especially in this chilly Canberra weather!).
Are you a regular or do you book your treatments in once your body feels like it’s falling apart? If you do the latter, I would highly recommend switching over to maintenance treatments. By this I mean booking treatments periodically in a time frame that suits your body. For some patients that may mean every two weeks, for others that may mean every two to three months. The most common time frame for my maintenance patients is four to six weeks – but get to know your body and notice when your body starts feeling in need of another treatment after your next massage. Its also a great idea to book in your treatments in advance otherwise time really does get away and before you know it six months have gone by and you just haven’t realized it (until your body starts telling you it’s been way too long). Booking a few sessions in in advance can be a great way to ensure you get the time and day that’s best for you as our CCHN practitioners are known to fill up fast.
We hope you enjoyed our top five ways to maximize your massage experience and will see you in the clinic soon!