Tips from NYS licensed massage therapists to make the most of massage’s medical benefits
There’s nothing like the feeling of sheer relaxation that washes stress away when you’re on the massage table, listening to soothing notes and breathing in aromatic scents. How great would it be to carry that feeling of calm right out the doors of that massage room, and out into the world?
According to two medical massage experts, you can.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOUR MEDICAL MASSAGE
Liat Forti, NYS massage therapist at the Medical Massage Group in NYC and Holistic Health Coach, believes that simple adjustments like the amount of fluids you drink and the depth of your breath can make a difference on how long the effects of massage last.
“Drink water before any medical, orthopedic or deep tissue massage,” Forti says, “because when performing focus work on an area, you’re drawing blood and fluids to the superficial tissue.” The superficial layer is directly affected during a medical massage. “Increasing fluid and blood circulation can help speed up the healing process.”
So drinking plenty of fluids can boost the effects of your massage — but, Forti adds, don’t forget to breathe. “The deeper and longer we breathe, the faster the fluids will circulate — promoting healing and relaxation.”
“Breathing exercises also help stimulate circulation. You can try imagining that you’re holding a balloon in your lower abdomen, feeling the balloon fill up as you inhale through your nose, and how it deflates as you exhale through your mouth. Deep breathing also allows for a greater sense of relaxation and tension release.
WHAT TO DO AFTER YOUR MEDICAL MASSAGE
Coconut Water and Potassium
“Drink coconut water after any massage, especially targeted massages,” Forti suggests. “Your immune system is working hard to heal the target area, so it’s important to nourish it with natural electrolytes and sodium to prevent soreness – potassium!” Grab a banana and a bottle of unsweetened, pasteurized coconut milk to make the most of your massage.
Epsom Salt Bath
“Take an Epsom salt bath and do some light stretching after your massage to see lasting results,” suggests Rachel Savageau, NYS licensed massage therapist at the Medical Massage Group and graduate of the Swedish Institute. “Don’t do anything strenuous, and you’ll stay in a relaxed state for a longer period of time.” Epsom salt baths are known to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, improve circulation and even help with migraines. Just like you would after a workout, it’s essential to give your body a rest day, so fill up the tub and have a nice soak.
“Don’t wait until you’re feeling pain or discomfort to come back for a massage treatment. Do breathing exercises between treatments to get your stress under control between sessions,” adds Savageau.