A woman enjoying a therapeutic foot massage as part of her self-care routine.

Post Therapeutic Massage Therapy Self-Care

You just had an AWESOME massage. (Of course you did, because you came to see us at Active Back to Health Center).
You feel relaxed, rejuvenated, balanced and that back that was giving you grief feels almost pain free! Time for a nap! WRONG!!
Here are 5 of the most common things I advise my patients to do and not to do after a massage
  1. Take a short walk – After a massage, a lot of my patients will say they’re tired and want to go take a nap. The reason I advise against this is because during a massage, the circulatory system has been stimulated and there is an abundance of blood flowing through your muscles. If you were to go lay down after a treatment, you may run the risk of your muscles seizing up and when you get up from laying down, your muscles may feel even tighter than before. A little walk or movement after a massage treatment will keep that blood flowing through your muscles and decrease the chance of muscles seizing up.
  2. Drink water – during a massage your muscles will release toxins into your bloodstream and so you need to flush all that out by drinking an abundance of fresh water. It will keep your muscles soft, lubricated and functioning properly.
  3. Ice or heatNO HEAT! For the first 24 hours after a massage I usually suggest to apply ice to any areas that may feel tender after a treatment. During the massage I may also find some areas that will benefit from using ice to avoid any additional inflammation that may already be present due to the nature of your injury. I also say to avoid heat as that may cause more swelling or pain and have an adverse reaction to the massage treatments. Heat may be applied if needed a couple of days later if necessary. The massage therapist will let you know what he/she thinks is best in each situation.
  4. Exercises/Stretches – stretch, stretch stretch! Your muscles will be loosened up after a massage treatment so why not keep them loose by stretching as much as you can at home. Most importantly it’s vital to hold each stretch for at least 20-30 seconds each time. Muscle has memory so if you don’t hold your stretch long enough, it will just go back to it’s contracted state. Hold it the full 20-30 seconds to give your muscles a chance to elongate and reset its’ tone. The more you stretch, the better to prolong all the effects of that wonderful massage you have just received.
  5. Book your next appointment – depending on the injury and each individual (as everyone is different), you may want to book your next massage appointment for as soon as possible. If the injury has been present for awhile, it may take longer to treat. You don’t want to leave too much time in between massage treatments because if you do, you may find you’re starting from square one and everything you’ve accomplished from today’s treatment may be lost. As I have mentioned before, muscle has memory and may contract again as before if you leave it too long. The more frequent your massages are, the quicker your injury may heal. Usually at the start of each session, your therapist will reassess the injury and can give you an idea of how many treatments an injury may need to heal.
Of course everybody is unique. Some of these may or may not apply to you.
Your massage therapist should assess your needs and give you a personalized treatment plan for each injury or situation.
Always feel free to ask your massage therapist any question that you may have. We are here to help!
Contact our front desk today 403-252-3316.

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