Having a deep tissue massage feels great (albeit a little tender) afterwards...but how can you reap the benefits for even longer?
Here at Emily the Physio, we are passionate about making sure you get the most out of any treatments we give you! When treating clients that have had massages before in the past, many have mentioned that it didn't really work for them, or the results only lasted a day or two. But it doesn't have to be this way!
These are my secrets of the trade to make your sports massage results last longer! The last point is the most important!
Tip #1 - Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
When having a deep tissue massage, a lot of fluid in the musculature, lymphatic system and surrounding soft tissues gets moved. This is a good thing for lots of different reasons, however it can dehydrate the body. When the body is dehydrated it doesn't work as efficiently as when it is fully hydrated. Think of your skin for example. When someone is regularly hydrated their skin tends to appear plumper and more supple, whereas regularly being dehydrated does the opposite. So I always recommend to my clients to have a really big glass of water before and after a massage, then regular sipping of water for the rest of the day/evening.
Tip #2 - Stretch and move!
If you've come in to get a massage because you have a stiff back, the worst thing you can do is then go home, sit on the sofa and not move for the next few hours. That poor soft tissue therapist has worked so hard to get the blood flowing and muscles more supple for it all to go down the drain when you get home! So after a massage go home and do some gentle stretches every once in a while. Keep doing this for the next few days and you'll be shocked at the difference it can make!
Tip #3 - Preparation is key!
Anyone that applies make up or fake tan will know...preparation is key! And the same goes for sports massage! Firstly the warmer the muscles are, the deeper the massage therapist can go. So why not pop a hot water bottle on your back for a few minutes before you arrive for your appointment?
Secondly, rolling a spiky ball (or tennis ball, lacrosse ball or whatever small firm round object you want to use) on the area you plan to have massaged for a couple of minutes every day for a few days before the massage will mean that your body builds up a level of tolerance to pressure, dampens down the sensation for discomfort and starts the process of relaxing those muscles ready for your massage.
Tip #4 - Keep an eye on your stress levels
If you're needing a massage to help with tight muscles, especially within the upper back and neck, then chances are you're under a little bit of stress at the moment. And let me explain why:
The fight or flight response is the way our body deals with a stressful stimulus, such as a lion running towards us. It decides to either run away or to try and fight it. For either option our muscles have to be prepped ready to make a sudden move. The body moves blood away from our vital organs and pushes it into our muscles. This prepares the muscles for this sudden move and the muscles become tense ready to react.
This process works amazingly if the stressful stimulus is only a few minutes long. When we have stress over long periods of time, the same response happens but it doesn't get turned off. So these poor muscles that have been ready to fight/flight are getting pretty tired. This is one reason why people get aches and pains in their shoulders, neck and back.
By having a good look at your life and seeing what may be causing you some stress, means you can look at ways of getting around it, or if you can't change it then how to support your body through it. Sports massage is definitely one component, but looking at talking therapies, meditation, exercise or even just going for a walk will all help to prolong the relaxation of those muscles after the massage!
Tip #5 - Be honest!
I've been massaging people for a long time, as has my associate Jenny. And the BEST way by far of getting the most out of your massage is to be honest. If the pressure is too weak or too strong let us know! Sometimes with sports massage people feel they need to be shedding a tear during the session for it to be effective, when in actual fact that is not the case! Everyone we treat is different to what they can tolerate and what they find comfortable. If you'd like us to move on to another area and give that area a rest or to work on an area more then let us know. I can guarantee we won't be offended and you'll definitely get the most out of the session than keeping quiet.
Go and try it out today!
The best way to find out what works for you is trial and error. So why not book an appointment with us today to see if these tips work for you! Book now! Or if you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments below.