Maximize Your Massage: Tips for Post-Massage Self-Care

Tips on taking care of yourself after a massage including hydration, nutrition, exercise, rest, skincare, and compression.

After receiving a massage, whether for therapeutic or relaxation reasons, there are several things you can do to maximize the benefits.

As an RMT, offering nutritional advice is beyond my scope of practice. However, after most complementary health treatments, or fitness routines, clients vocalize feeling better if they practise common sense and follow the below suggestions.

Hydrate yourself

Drinking water is helpful. If lying on a heated massage table, you naturally sweat and lose salt, making you feel thirsty. You may frequent the washroom more than usual, especially if your lower back and abdomen are pressed upon, stimulating the kidneys, colon, and GI tract.

If you have a surplus of fluid, such as with post-surgery or lymphedema, your body will have extra fluid to eliminate, which is perfectly normal!

Eat clean

In addition to increasing your water intake, try to eat healthy, nutritious foods. Avoid processed foods and excessive amounts of salt, which may lead to inflammation, gut issues, and water retention.

Exercise lightly

Among the many benefits of exercise, it also improves blood and lymphatic circulation.

People typically avoid heavy workouts immediately after a massage because muscle tendon proprioceptors are relaxed and lengthened. You could strain a muscle and increase the risk of injury.

Rest & relax

Massage therapy is both physically and mentally relaxing. The body experiences a euphoric feeling due to the release of neurochemicals like dopamine and serotonin, causing you to feel relaxed and sleepy.

So take some time to rest and unwind after your session!

Take care of your skin

Be gentle with your skin after a massage. If you have lymphatic issues, avoid long baths or hot tubs, as heat increases fluid accumulation. Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from sunburn, and be mindful of cuts, scrapes, or bites.

For achy muscles, an epsom salt bath is beneficial in drawing out superficial waste and moisturizing the skin.

Use compression garments

Compression garments are helpful if you have chronic or acute swelling due to lymphedema, surgical post-op, or other medical conditions. Wear your garments to manage or prevent swelling during flare-ups, when exercising, or flying.

Tip: garments maintain their shape and compression longer if washed daily.

Final thoughts

These tips can help ensure your massage session is as effective as possible.

Always listen to your body, your medical professionals, and consult your RMT with any inquiries. We’re here to help!

Headshot of Catherine Walton, RMT

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