fit body body
after your Massage By Susan Lucas, CMT
assage and other types of Bodywork are often discussed for the benefits they will provide the receiver, but seldom do we discuss the importance of self-care after your massage or bodywork session to actually gain all those benefits. As a Certified Massage Therapist operating my own business for 5 years, I admit that I am guilty of not communicating what my clients should be doing after their session to feel better longer as much as I should, but it is very important to the success of their treatments. In order to better grasp the importance of and reasons for self-care after your massage or bodywork session, lets first take a look at some of the benefits. By understanding what is going on in the body during and after a massage, I think you will have a better understanding of why selfcare is so important. During a massage your body is receiving a massive amount of stimulation – to almost every muscle, tendon, ligament, joint and all of your various sense receptors in the skin – which your central nervous system is processing and then integrating. In essence, it’s like doing a software update and a full-body workout at the same time. While touch and movement were stimulating all those different parts of the body and your central processing center, we were also increasing circulation of fluids (blood and water) and oxygen within the body. This increase of circulation has the important role of flushing our tissues and muscles of toxins so that we can eliminate properly and the body can repair and heal itself. Our body also experiences an increase in the hormones adrenalin/epinephrine and dopamine, which are the balancing, pain relieving and feel good chemicals our body naturally produces. Add these hormones to the increase of circulation and suddenly you are able to experience the benefits of increased range of motion, flexibility and alertness, lower blood pressure and anxiety, more effective digestion and immune function, and much more. The very first thing you need to do after a
massage is drink a lot of water! As all these fluids and hormones are moving through our blood stream replacing stale fluids and toxins we want to make sure that they are being eliminated properly. For some people, drinking a lot of water comes naturally but others have to work at it and be more aware of their fluid intake. Making sure you drink half your weight in ounces of water a day (e.g. if you weigh 150lbs, you should drink 75ounces of water per day) will not only ensure that your body is eliminating wastes properly, but you will notice your skin is clearer and more smooth and your joints will feel better. Drinking water can also help control over eating or snacking between meals.
and relaxing. Some forms of yoga or stretching are appropriate, as is a relaxing walk in some beautiful location; just leave the heavy duty exercise for another day. Your self-care after a massage or bodywork treatment should include things that make you happy and rejuvenate your spirit. Appropriate post massage or bodywork activities could include reading a book, an Epson salt bath with herbs or aromatherapy to continue your relaxation and body detox, napping, meditation, breathing exercises and healthy nourishment such as organic fruits and vegetables.
Next is the issue of exercise. Exercise should be an important part of your daily routine to keep your body toned and fit. It really is true that if you don’t move it you lose it. Your movements don’t have to be physically demanding, but keeping all those joints moving stimulates the body to produce synovial fluids that keep our joints well lubricated. Why no strenuous exercise after massage? Well, on more than one occasion I have had clients return for their next appointment saying they felt worse the day after a previous treatment. When I asked what they did that day, it usually goes something like this, “I felt so good after my treatment that I went home and spent 2 hours in my garden, then cleaned my entire house.” In short, they over did it. My recommendation for exercise on massage day is to do it before your massage, especially the more strenuous activities like weight lifting, cardio work, gardening or cleaning your whole house. As I said before, we are getting a fullbody work out in our massage, so any activity we do after our massage should be very gentle
A massage or bodywork session is not only a software update in the form of massive amounts of stimulation to the brain (central nervous system), but it also stimulates the physical body with movement, increased circulation and hormone production. That is a lot! So let’s be kind to ourselves and refresh our systems with a lot of water, well rounded nutritious foods and activities that feed our soul.
Susan Lucas, CMT and owner of Shen Jing Holistic, 560 First St, Suite D-100, Benicia, CA has been a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist since 2006, has a Florida Massage License, California Massage Certification and specialized training in Herbal Treatments, Postural Alignment and The MyoKinesthetic System. To schedule an appointment call or email your request: 707-7047315, firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.shenjingholistic.abmp.com to learn more.
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