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  • Karen Stoner, LMT

4 Ways to get the most benefits from your massage

1. Be on time or even a little early

Short Answer: You will likely have to do some sort of paperwork before your massage, plus you want to be relaxed, so arriving a few minutes

early gives you time to breathe and ensures you get your full appointment time.

More details: Time is valuable and sometimes squeezing a massage appointment in can be rough. Not to mention the usual stresses of traffic, etc. It can be possible to run in to an appointment at the last minute or even late. However, that can make you more stressed and may even cause you to not get your full massage. Make the most of your massage time by making sure you can get there with enough time to breathe, do your intake work, and increase the stress you are already trying to get rid of. Plus, if you do end up coming in late, your therapist may not be able to give you the full amount of time. Even if you have 60 minutes scheduled, if your therapist has another appointment after yours, they may have to cut it short to stay on schedule. Plan ahead to cut down on the stress.

2. Don't eat a big meal before your massage

Short answer: While it may seem like a comforting idea to eat and then get a relaxing massage, a big meal can force your digestive system to work hard while the rest of the body is trying to relax, so it may cause discomfort instead.

More details: Comfort food is great, however a full belly may not be the most comfortable thing to lay down on. If you want your back worked on, and you have to lay on your full stomach, that may not feel great, which negates the relaxation from the massage. Additionally, the sounds created by digestion may not be the most pleasant to listen to during your time. Gurgling stomach, and the food moving throughout it's course and any ... byproducts of that moving ... can be embarrassing and unsettling. So leave the big meal as your reward after your massage is over.

3. Communicate with your therapist about exactly what is going on

Short answer: Even if massage is part of a regular routine, each massage is different and can need different focus or pressure in

some areas. It is important to let the therapist know if something doesn’t feel right or if something else is needed.

More details: It is great when a client trusts their therapist to "do their thing", however therapists aren't mind readers. In order for you to get the best results from your massage, you need to let the therapist know what your expectations and goals for the massage are. Even if you don't exactly know what needs work or why, that's ok - you can still tell the therapist that you're 'feeling a little more tension in this area' or 'earlier this week, I moved a certain way and something felt off here'. It is also totally acceptable to communicate with the therapist during the massage, even if what they usually do has worked well in the past, but is a little more painful today or needs to be a little more focused this time, speak up so your therapist can make the adjustments that you need.

4. Take your time getting up at the end

Short answer: After your massage is over, take a minute and get up slowly rather than jumping off the table. You’ll

feel better longer and won’t undo everything that your therapist just did.

More details: At the end of your massage, your muscles will likely be very worked over and very loose, and you may have been laying still for an extended amount of time which your body isn't used to. (Even if you think about sleeping - you are laying down, but rarely are laying completely still, the body moves around while you are sleeping.) Your muscles need a minute to re-connect to your brain to get you back off the table without re-spasming or tightening up what just got relaxed. Also if you were lucky enough to have been so relaxed that you dozed off, you need a second to wake up or else getting off the table could cause you to stumble or get injured since you are trying to walk and think in a dark, unfamiliar environment. Take your time and get up slowly so your body can re-adapt to being upright and functioning again.

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