A Letter from your Massage Therapist
When we go for a massage, we get to lay down, have someone massage our muscles and bring an end to the pain that has been plaguing us for some time. We relax, or try….if you have a deep tissue therapist like Rebecca, and rest in the knowledge that our therapist knows exactly what our muscles need and how to make that happen. But can it actually get better? Can a massage actually get to the NEXT level?
It can, 100%! I’m going to give you 5 tips on how YOU can actually make the massage work even better than before. It all starts with taking care of yourself and listening to your body. It truly will help, both to enhance the benefits of your treatment and to just make life more comfortable in general.
When you call in to book a massage because of pain or inability to move certain ways, you can take a pre-emptive strike and stretch it out. Find a place at home or at work where you can allow yourself the time and space needed to place yourself comfortably. Relax those muscles and stretch it out! Long, relaxing stretches to ease the discomfort, elongate the muscles, prep your body to be molded and softened by those well-trained hands you trust so much. Stretching on a regular basis (as well as before your appointment) helps retrain the muscle fibres and reprogram the communication from muscle to brain and back, so that your body teaches itself that its OK to let the muscle be a different length and tone allowing for more comfort and better mobility.
I cannot express how important water is to the body. Increasing water intake 24 hours before your appointment actually allows your therapist to manipulate those tight spots simply by increasing availability of fluid to move about the areas worked on and flush out any muscle waste products lingering from restricted zones after deeper treatments. On a ‘what’s in it for me’ note, being more hydrated when getting a massage actually makes the pressure a little more comfortable simply by having more lubrication within the layers and lessening the need to ‘detach’ fascia from muscle tissue.
Hot towel, hot gel pack, electric heating pad…it’s all good for use when relieving tight muscle pain. You could be experiencing tightness due to spasm, chronic hypertonicity (tightness) or a muscle pull and it all is beneficial, by applying heat for about 5 minutes. The heat your about to use helps by drawing fluids to the area, stimulates what we Brainiac’s call ‘mechanoreceptors’ which are the feel good receptors of the body; kind of like a quick release Tylenol INSIDE the body and just generally makes things feel “Oh so much much better”. This enhances your massage by warming up the area so that your therapist doesn’t have to spend as much time doing what the heat has already done and they can use that extra time easing your troubles away.
OK so this may not be a favourite, but, did you know that when you go in for a massage, one of the main goals in therapy is to ‘re-injure’ the tissue? It’s kind of like a controlled burn of a forest. We therapists are taught how to use different techniques to break up scar tissue, separate adhesions, realign muscle fibres, manipulate the nervous and circulatory system. When you work out problem areas at home with a foam roller, you are doing some work for us! This really does end up working for you in that, just like with thermotherapy, we are then able to use time more effectively to work out the area faster.
The last (but not least important) tip to make your massage appointment the best it can be: BREATHING! Like drinking water, proper breathing enhances so much within our body. Again, with aiding in nervous system function, digestion and more clear thinking, it ALSO has a ton of benefits for mental health, blood circulation, lymphatic flow, muscle contraction and release and benefits too numerous to mention right here. Proper breathing during a massage allows your muscles to melt under the glorious hands of your massage therapist. All the wonderful things brought in with each belly breath allows your muscles to release, to relax and rejuvenate that much more during the educated use of techniques working in your tender muscles. Remember, the goal for breathing is in through the nose for 8 seconds and out through the mouth; slow and controlled for 10 seconds. Don’t stress it if you cannot make it that long, proper breathing is built by regular practice just like working out at the gym makes for strong muscles. Ask your therapist about DDB (deep diaphragmatic breathing) next time you book in.
We here at Cambridge Physiotherapy & Rehab Center always want to look out for your best therapy interests and make sure you walk in strong and walk out stronger! Book in for your massage today, before we are booked up.
Looking forward to working with you!