Regular massage is great, but it is also important to take care of your body with a variety of methods to get the best results you are looking for. Living a healthy lifestyle consisting of regular massage, chiropractic adjustments, yoga, swimming, drinking plenty of water, getting rest, taking care of your mental health, using hot or cold packs when needed, soaking in Epsom salt baths, indulging in a float tank session from time to time, eating a healthy diet, getting exercise in whichever sport best suits your body type and so on. I am going to describe some of the benefits of each of these and how they are different.
Regular massage is excellent for your muscle health, balancing your muscles, relieving pain, releasing areas that are taut and pulling your body into unbalanced postures, creating flexibility in your joints and more. I recommend at least one massage per month as maintenance to check in and see where you are overusing muscles. Massage also feels quite amazing and is relaxing to the mind. Massage can make you feel like a new person with a new start to your month. In some cases more than once a month is beneficial especially for people who get frequent headaches, those recovering from car accidents or whiplash, scoliosis, athletes, people who tend to hold more stress than average and more. I make recommendations individually per what I am feeling and seeing in the client on my table. I don’t recommend the same frequency for each person.
Between sessions there are some things that really help make your massage treatment last longer or give you a new added benefit. Chiropractic helps create a flexibility between stuck discs and releases impinged nerves. I have personally gone to my chiropractor weekly for both me and my kids. I have benefitted by relief of headaches and whiplash coupled with my once a month massages.
Yoga helps stretch your muscles and creates a body awareness and sense of calm. Stress and lack of sleep can also have a big effect on your muscle tension. Yoga is a great practice for this. Yoga also creates flexibility in your muscles in a different way than massage through stretching whereas massage is a more detailed and focused approach to relieving precise muscles. I have also found swimming to be very beneficial not only for overall cardiovascular exercise, but the constant movement of shoulder joints and hip joints (kicking in the water) seems to loosen up adhesions held within the joints.
Drink plenty of water especially after your massage session. This helps flush out anything that was freed up and circulating in your system. Water also hydrates your tissues and your body responds better to the treatment and you will have less soreness after your massage. Get plenty of rest, give your muscles time to relax from a hard day. Throw some essential oils in a diffuser, cozy up with a warm cup of tea. Take care of your mental health, start seeing a psychologist regularly for managing stress, maybe incorporate even a 5 minute daily meditation to your day.
Epsom salt baths are beneficial because it is the one salt that contains the most magnesium. If you take a therapeutic bath (which consists of at least one hour) your body will detoxify and restore magnesium to your muscles. To create a therapeutic bath you need more Epsom salt than most would think. A full two cups of Epsom salt to one bath is not a bad thing, its great for you. You can also add baking soda to your bath (about half cup) to soften your skin. If you want to make your bath even more enjoyable you can mix essential oil (5-6 drops) in some milk or oil (recommending something like jojoba, grapeseed, or almond oil). It’s important to mix your essential oil into something before putting it into your bath because oil and water don’t mix and you don’t want the essential oils to just sit directly onto your skin. There are some essential oils you would want to avoid in a bath. Any essential oils that are warming, cooling, or possible skin irritants, or phototoxic you would want to avoid here. Lavender and Frankincense are great for skin and good simple and popular essential oils to add to a bath. Take it up a notch and book a float tank session. Float tanks contain enough salt to make you float effortlessly. Float sessions aid in recovery, help when you have the common cold, is great for stress relief and that magnesium exchange for muscles.
When exercising, it is important to know your body. Get good running shoes, have them fitted by an expert (I recommend Performance Running Outfitters, they will record your gait and play it back in slow motion, then choose a shoe that works best for you) If you are a great runner, awesome! If you have painful joints stick with walking or elliptical. Be careful when weight training that you are using proper form. Maybe hire a personal trainer to show you proper form when lifting. If you play sports or exercise regularly make sure you stretch after! You would be amazed that we can feel this difference in massage. I will have a client who never stretches and all the muscles just feel like solid rock and layers stuck together. Then they will start stretching after and I can feel the flexibility between layers which then saves me time during massage on getting deeper into the good stuff.
Using a hot pack on sore muscles can soften and melt down some of the tension. I always say they are great when you go home after your massage to further relax the muscles or even after a hard day at work. Now when you have a painful joint or inflammation then a cold pack is nice. When you have both muscle and joint issues in the same area its nice to alternate. Do 10 minutes hot pack, 5 minutes cold pack, followed by another 10 minutes of heat.
If you just aren’t getting the results you were hoping for after several sessions it’s also a good idea to consult your family doctor. They may suggest an MRI, or physical therapy. My family doc has also sent me to a nutritionist.
All I n all there are many ways to take care of our bodies. If we continue to just work hard day in and out and not stop to take care of ourselves then pain shows up. Tension builds up and sometimes to a more severe state where it takes more frequent sessions to get back on track. Be in tune with how you are feeling, get to know some of these ideas and get a sense for how each make you feel. Learn when your body is needing any of these types of therapies. Be good to yourself. Live fully, feel younger longer, and get rid of those pains that ail your body.