You just had a Massage…Now What?

November 20th, 2010

So you just got a massage.  You’re leaving the spa, or medical office, or wherever you may be.  You’ve been told all sorts of things to do after you leave to keep yourself in tip top condition after your massage, but most of it just went in one ear and out the other.  You step into your car, relaxed and sleepy, and decide you are going to take a nap and ignore most of what you have just been told, or what you could hear, at least.  “How bad can it be?”, you wonder, starting the ignition and pulling out of the parking lot.

Stop!  Whatever your massage therapist has just told you, he or she has told you for a good reason.  Having a massage, especially a deep tissue massage, is a form of passive exercise, as hard as that may be to believe, and you need to take care of yourself as if you have just exercised.  You don’t want to ruin that relaxed high you’re on right now, do you?  Since you were too relaxed to hear or listen, let me give you some information and rules to follow.

  1. Drink Lots Of Water, Especially For The Next 24 Hours – this is perhaps the most important rule of all.  Rehydration is key to a healthy body, especially after a massage.  Since massage promotes lymphatic movement, drinking water and hydrating yourself is key to moving toxins through the kidneys and out of the body.  Drinking water is the best way to do this – and no, water in tea, coffee and soft drinks doesn’t count!  Don’t be surprised if you seem to have an increased urine output, i.e. you are peeing much more.  This is also normal.
  2. Take A Bath – A nice warm bath is very soothing after a massage, particularly with Epsom Salts.  Epsom Salts are just Magnesium Sulfate, which is a natural muscle relaxer.  They are also wonderful at drawing out toxins in the body, as is massage, so you may get a sort of detoxifying effect which is very beneficial to the body.  You can get Epsom Salts at most grocery stores or pharmacies.  If you don’t have Epsom Salts, don’t worry – a nice warm bath will do just fine.  Please note that I said warm and not scalding hot!  This is important because if you have any inflammation in the muscles the excessive heat can serve to exacerbate the injury.  If you have a very sore muscle or injury, try icing the area.
  3. Pay Attention To Your Body’s Reaction To The Massage – You may be sore after the massage.  This is normal with Deep Tissue massage, but it can happen with the more gentle Swedish Massage as well.  Sometimes you may not feel the soreness until the next day.  Why?  Well, as mentioned before, massage is a sort of passive exercise.  If you are not one to get massages often, or do not exercise and are not used to using the muscles, then they may respond with soreness.  This should only last for a day or perhaps two; anything more indicates that perhaps your therapist worked on you a little too hard.  This should be adjusted in the next segment.  You can help your therapist by stretching before you arrive for your segment.  Remember anything that was particularly painful and report this to your therapist at your next visit.  The therapist should be open to what you are saying and should tailor your visit from the information they receive from you.
  4. Rest - You may feel tired, as if you want to lie down and take a nap.  This is completely normal, and you should listen to your body.  If you can, make sure you have nowhere to go and nothing to do after your massage.  Massage is not just work on the body; it is work on the mind too.  It helps to destress and relax you; this in turn may make you feel tired.  This is your time to recover your mind and body and it is your body’s time to rebalance itself and retune.  Don’t feel like you SHOULD be doing something.  There is nothing worse than hearing a client say, “Oh, that felt great.  Too bad I have to go back to work.” or “I think I’ll go work out now”.  Make time for yourself and your body will thank you.

As you can see, there aren’t that many rules to follow, but it’s important that you do!  Following the above rules will help you to get so much more benefits out of your massage and your presence of mind will be that much more peaceful and invigorated.  Always remember, if you have any questions whatsoever, be sure to call your therapist.  We are here for you to help you to heal and to get the most out of your session that you can get.  They don’t call us therapists for nothing!

How to Benefit most from a Massage

November 16th, 2010

Here are some tips adapted from the American Massage Therapy Association to help you enjoy your massage.

* Be receptive. Don’t eat just before a massage session.

* Be on time. If you arrive in a frenzied, rushed state, it will take longer to relax.

* If you don’t want to remove all your clothing, discuss it with the therapist. Wear what you will be comfortable in that will allow the therapist to work on the areas of your body that need it.

* Good communication is very important. Before the session, give accurate health information and let the massage therapist know what you want from the massage. During the massage session, Speak up if you have any feedback on the amount of pressure, speed of movement, room temperature, music volume, or lighting.

* Some people like to talk during a massage session, while others remain silent. In general you should do whatever you feel like, and the massage therapist will follow your lead.

* Breathing helps to facilitate relaxation. People often stop breathing when they feel anxious or a sensitive area is massaged. If you realize this is happening, remind yourself to breath.

* Try not to tighten up during the massage. Let your massage therapist know if this is happening. They may need to adjust the massage technique being used. They may also be able to help you relax the affected area.

* If you find your thoughts are racing during the massage, one way to be more “body-centered” and to quiet the mind is to follow the hands of the massage therapist and focus on how the touch feels.

* If anything happens during the massage that you dislike or seems improper, you have the right to ask the massage therapist to stop. If necessary, you also have the right to end the session.

* If you are dizzy or light headed after the massage, do not get off the table too fast.

* Drink extra water after a massage.

* Allow for some open, quiet time after your massage session if possible. Sometimes one needs a little time to integrate or absorb the results of the massage session or needs some “re-entry” time.

Remember, massage has its greatest benefits over time. The therapeutic effects of massage are cumulative, so the more often a person gets a massage, the better he or she will feel and the more quickly one’s body will respond. If you are getting massage to address chronic muscular tension or recovery from a soft tissue injury, more than one session is usually needed, so be prepared to schedule several sessions.

Raab Chiropractic has Moved!

November 9th, 2010

After 14 years at the same location Raab Chiropractic and Massage Therapy has moved.  We are now at 1020 W. Francis, Suite A.  Our new office is just 5 blocks west of the old office on the opposite side of the road.  Our new office is in the same building as Hancock Fabrics.  We are excited to be in our new office, so please come and visit us.   Here is a google map of our new office!   Google Map 1020 W Francis

Raab Chiropractic

Use massage as another health care tool

April 30th, 2010

Brush aside any thoughts that massage is only a feel-good way to indulge or pamper yourself. To the contrary, massage can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being, whether you have a specific health condition or are just looking for another stress reliever. You can even learn how to do self-massage or to engage in massage with a partner.

What you can expect during a massage

April 16th, 2010

You don’t need any special preparation for massage. Before a massage therapy session starts, your massage therapist should ask you about any symptoms, your medical history and what you’re hoping to get out of massage. Your massage therapist should explain the kind of massage and techniques he or she will use.

In a typical massage therapy session, you undress or wear loosefitting clothing. Undress only to the point that you’re comfortable. You generally lie on a table and cover yourself with a sheet. You can also have a massage while sitting in a chair, fully clothed. Your massage therapist should perform an evaluation through touch to locate painful or tense areas and to determine how much pressure to apply.

If you want, your massage therapist may use oil or lotion to reduce friction on your skin. Tell your massage therapist if you might be allergic to any ingredients.

A massage session may last from 15 to 90 minutes, depending on the type of massage and how much time you have. No matter what kind of massage you choose, you should feel calm and relaxed during and after your massage. Pain that’s more significant than momentary discomfort could indicate that something’s wrong. If a massage therapist is pushing too hard, ask for lighter pressure. Occasionally you may have a sensitive spot in a muscle that feels like a knot. It’s likely to be uncomfortable while your massage therapist works it out. But if it becomes painful, speak up.  

Taken from the Mayo Clinic

Your Neck and Chiropractic

April 16th, 2010

Your neck, also called the cervical spine, begins at the base of the skull and contains seven small vertebrae. Incredibly, the cervical spine supports the full weight of your head, which is on average about 12 pounds. While the cervical spine can move your head in nearly every direction, this flexibility makes the neck very susceptible to pain and injury.

The neck’s susceptibility to injury is due in part to biomechanics. Activities and events that affect cervical biomechanics include extended sitting, repetitive movement, accidents, falls and blows to the body or head, normal aging, and everyday wear and tear. Neck pain can be very bothersome, and it can have a variety of causes.

Benefits of Massage not often thought of (Part 5)

January 4th, 2010

5. Self Help. You can massage yourself. Although you don’t have to massage the part of the body that hurts to relieve pain, targeting that area does tend to help more. One example is massaging the arms. If you’re in danger of developing inflamed nerves in your hands or arms from repetitive movements (like typing on a keyboard, or even gripping a steering wheel for hours at a time) try massaging your arms for 15 minutes a day. Stroke from the wrist to the elbow and back down on both sides of the forehand.

Benefits of Massage not often thought of (Part 4)

January 1st, 2010

4. Technique Tactics: There’s little evidence to support one kind of massage over another, says Field, so don’t worry about whether your therapist is schooled in Shiatsu, Swedish or some other technique. The key is pressure firm enough to make a temporary indentation in the skin. If you try massage with a partner, use massage oil, which you can find in a health-food store or pharmacist, but test a little on your skin first to make sure you are not allergic.

Benefits of Massage not often thought of (Part 3)

December 28th, 2009

3. Blood Pressure Benefits: Massage reduces hypertension, suggests a good deal of research. This may be because it stimulates pressure receptors that prompt action from the vagus nerve, one of the nerves that emerges from the brain. The vagus nerve regulates blood pressure, as well as other functions. In a 2005 study at the University of South Florida, hypertension patients who received 10 massages of 10 minutes each over three weeks showed significant improvements in blood pressure compared to a control group who simply rested in the same environment without any massage.

Benefits of Massage not often thought of (Part 2)

December 22nd, 2009

2. De-Stress, Stay Healthy. Massage may boost immunity. Several studies have measured the stress hormone called cortisol in subjects’ saliva before and after massage sessions, and found dramatic decreases. Cortisol, which is produced when you are stressed, kills cells important for immunity, so when massage reduces your stress levels and hence the cortisol in your body, it may help you avoid getting a cold or another illness while under stress