Self care - Looking after yourself in-between massages
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could have a massage every day of the week? Sadly, most of us don’t have the time or the money to indulge in quite such a regular massage routine, but we can make the most of massage treatments by taking care of ourselves in between massages.
First rule – drink the water!
There’s a reason why your therapist gives you a refreshing glass of cool water after a treatment; it’s to help hydrate your body and keep your muscles relaxed. Water is great for your skin and your muscles, plus staying hydrated can even help to prevent headaches.
Keep up the stretching
It’s a very common problem, but there’s a very simple solution...if you are one of the many people who feel achy and tight after a day at work, stretch!
If you make a habit of including stretching in your daily routine, it will really help you with all muscle aches and soreness, and will make the effects of your massage last longer. In between sessions, having a good stretch session helps support the work that’s been done to your muscles on the treatment table. It doesn’t matter when you fit your stretches in, as long as you make a habit of it. Stretches shouldn’t ever hurt, so don’t overdo it. Easing into stretches gently, and holding them for at least a minute will give you better results than shorter, deeper stretches.
Epsom salt baths are great for keeping any muscle aches and stiff joints at bay – they contain magnesium which is also good for relieving stress. To prevent soreness after a massage, add Epsom salts to your bath as directed and relax.
Feeling hot and cold
In between massages you might start feeling that tell-tale build-up of tension – nip it in the bud with heat therapy. Applying heat can help to sooth aching muscles and relieve any tightness and tension. Heat can also improve and stimulate blood flow to the area. Try a heat pad, or heat up a damp towel in the microwave using 30 second intervals to check the temperature.
If you injure yourself in between massage sessions, try using cold therapy to numb the pain. Cold therapy is good for strains, sprains and other minor injuries (if you’re unsure, or are in serious pain, see your healthcare provider).
For severe pain and/or swelling, take a cold pack (or you can use a frozen bottle of water, or even frozen vegetables in a bag) and wrap it in a towel to avoid cold burns. If you’re using a frozen bottle as a cold pack, a thick sock works well as a barrier, if you’ve been overdoing it and you have sore feet, try rolling the frozen bottle under your foot. You can alternate between hot and cold therapy but always leave a period in between for your body to adjust.
One last and very important tip; make your massage sessions part of your regular self-care routine. If you’re unsure about how often you need a massage, the best person to ask is your therapist. She will know if you need extra sessions or just maintenance care, and will make sure your massage is tailored to your needs.