Self-Care Between Massage Appointments

As good as a daily massage might sound, the sad truth is that it simply isn’t realistic for most of us. But there are ways you can prolong the feel-good benefits of your massage between appointments.

Hydrate There are a wealth of opinions regarding the exact amount of water needed each day in order to stay adequately hydrated. Two popular recommendations are to drink 8-8 oz glasses or to drink half of your body weight in ounces. The reality is that each person is different and a simple formula, while easy to remember, may not be best solution for everyone. Generally, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women. If this seems like a lofty goal, remember that 20% of your fluids come from food.

Stretch Massage loosens and relaxes tight muscles, aiding in your flexibility. Stretching at least 3 days per week between massages is also crucial to maintaining your flexibility and optimal muscle health. It has long been believed that we should stretch our muscles prior to activity, when they are “cold”. However, research now indicates that warming the muscles with light activity for approximately 10 mins prior to stretching, will increase blood flow to the muscles and avoid injury to the muscle fibers. If you have limited time to devote to stretching, be sure to focus on calves, quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes and neck muscles.

Foam Rolling This technique, which is a form of self-myofascial release, uses deep compression to break up tight muscles and adhesions between muscle layers. The goal is to stretch and loosen the fascia in order to move more freely. Foam rollers can be used to rehab sore and injured muscles, but are also recommended before exercise to increase range of motion. Keys for effective and safe foam rolling is to (1) roll away from pain centers to the connecting muscles, (2) go slow, (3) spend no more than 20 seconds on a particular area and (4) maintain good posture while rolling.

Exercise Intense activity immediately following a massage is never recommended. However, maintaining a regular exercise program between massage appointments has a whole host of benefits, including increased energy levels, healthy muscles and bones, improved sleep and a reduction in anxiety. While exercise recommendations will vary by individual, and should be approved by your doctor, The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 75 mins of aerobic activity per week and strength training 2-3 days per week.