Whether you splurged on a massage or invested time to pamper yourself at home, you want that feeling of euphoria to last as long as possible. Don’t let the tension return shortly after leaving the treatment room.
What you do after the massage can be almost as important as the massage itself. If you do the right things post-massage, you will feel a big difference. Follow these tips to extend the benefits of your massage session.
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Is it Normal To Feel Sore After a Massage?
Yes. Think of massage as a form of exercise. Your muscles are being worked! The pressure from a massage forces blood into the muscle, bringing nutrients and removing toxins. It can temporarily increase inflammation and discomfort to areas that the body feels need attention.
The first time you exercise or if you haven’t exercised in a while, your muscles will feel sore after a workout. Expect the same with a massage. The soreness from a massage will typically last 1-2 days. If the discomfort persists, consult a healthcare professional.
Remember if you don't feel sore that doesn't mean you didn't get a good massage - that's a common misconception about massages. Each body is different when it comes to pain tolerance and intensity preferences.
Tips for After a Massage
If you want to maximize the benefits of your massage, we have a few post-massage tips for you. Follow these tips and it will also help minimize the amount of soreness that you feel after you have a massage.
Get Up Slowly After Your Massage
There is no need to rush, try to hold on to that relaxed feeling for a few minutes longer. If your eyes were closed, open them gently. Then, if you were lying down roll on to your side, then slowly push yourself up into a seated position.
Stay seated for at least a minute while focusing on how your body feels. Have a sip or two of water, then you can stand up when you are ready. It’s OK if you want to stand still for a minute before moving on.
What to Eat After a Massage
You're not supposed to eat much before your massage. It’s likely you will feel hungry after your massage, so you might want to bring a light snack with you. A piece of fruit like a banana or maybe some trail mix will work well. Stay away from anything with processed sugar.
Don’t have a heavy meal after your massage because it can make you feel bloated and sluggish, rather than re-energized. Choose a vegetarian meal or maybe some fish instead. Don’t eat anything fried or greasy.
If you want to treat yourself, have some dark chocolate. The flavanols and antioxidants in dark chocolate can help reduce inflammation in your system and improve your mood.
Drink Water After Massage
It’s common knowledge that you need to drink water on a daily basis, but it is important to increase your water intake on the day of a massage. Before the massage, it will help hydrate the muscles so that they are easier to manipulate.
After your massage, you need to drink even more water. This will help your body flush out the toxins that have been released from the massage. If these waste materials build up it can cause soreness after the massage. This is especially true with deep tissue massages.
Another reason you should drink water after a massage is the treatment can be dehydrating. When the muscles are worked, they lose water and electrolytes.
If you want the water to be more flavorful, add a slice of lemon or lime. You can also infuse it with basil, mint, cucumber, or berries. It doesn't have to be a boring glass of water.
How much water should you drink after a massage? It depends on how much you water you typically consume on a daily basis. Try to increase that by at least 10%.
Take a Bath or Shower
Taking a bath or shower a few hours after your massage will help you prolong the zen feeling. It’s also helpful to wash off any of the excess lotions or oils used in the massage.
If you have a shower massage head, it can make the experience more spa like. Just be sure the water is not too hot.
If you want something more luxurious, make your own bath salts with essential oils. They are also wonderful at drawing out toxins in the body. When you rid the body of toxins, it will retain less water and you will feel less bloated.
You could also try these homemade natural bath bombs.
Take it Easy
If you can, don’t plan anything that requires lots of energy right after your massage. It is normal to feel a bit tired afterward. Don’t feel guilty about taking a nap. It could even be a good time to try this chamomile tea bag eye treatment.
If you feel the need to exercise, try yoga, swimming, stretching, or a peaceful walk. Don’t attempt a high-intensity workout. Give your mind and body time to recover and re-balance itself.
Moderate Alcohol Consumption
I wouldn’t worry if you have one drink, but it’s best to stay away from drinking alcoholic beverages for 12 - 24 hours after your massage. The toxins that the massage released into your bloodstream can increase the negative effects of alcohol. Additionally, both a massage and drinking alcohol can make you dehydrated.
If you do decide to have alcohol after your massage, it is critical that you drink extra water. Be aware that you may feel the effects of the alcohol faster than you normally would. Also, be prepared for a more intense hangover.
Like alcohol, caffeine can be dehydrating so it’s best not to drink any for at least a few hours after your massage. If you would like to have a warm drink, consider an herbal tea like chamomile which is calming. It could be a nice addition to your evening routine.
Wear Comfortable Clothes
Comfortable clothes will help you stay relaxed after a massage. If you are going to your massage appointment straight from the office, bring some relaxed clothes to wear after your massage.
Keep in mind massage oil will have a cooling effect as it evaporates from your skin so you might want warm clothes. Also, avoid elastics and man-made fabrics that don’t let your skin breathe.
Be Prepared to Get Emotional
As your body relaxes, emotional baggage you may not even realize you had can surface. Sometimes the baggage will make you feel joy and other times sorrow. If you feel the need to cry, it’s OK, just let it out. You will feel better after the emotional release.
Avoid the News
Reading the news in today’s environment can quickly raise stress levels. The press tends to focus on negative news because it sells. Try to avoid checking the news after your massage so that you don’t get worked up.
Plan Your Next Massage
You feel amazing after just one massage, but to see long-lasting health benefits, it’s best to make it a regular habit. This will also help minimize the amount of soreness you feel after a massage. How often you should get a massage is going to depend on your body and its needs.
Regular massages at a spa can get expensive quickly. If there is a massage school near you, that could help save some money, but it is more economical to have massages at home. You don’t even need another person, there are fancy massage chairs or handheld massagers that will do the job.
Get more massage tips here.
What to Do After a Massage
After your massage, you need to focus on staying relaxed and re-hydrating yourself. It’s simple, yet, so many people try to jump right back into life and think that the massage didn’t make much of a difference. Follow our recommendations. They are not difficult to do, but you will see increased benefits from the massage.
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