There I was, lying on the massage table, basking in the afterglow of an hour of totally relaxing massage bliss. Do I really have to get up now? The reality of daily life was slowly creeping in.
How can I make the most of this experience and carry the tranquility of this moment throughout my day? My week? Anyone who has ever had a great massage has likely had these thoughts. There are a number of things you can do to maximize the physical and emotional benefits, post-massage.
Consider scheduling your massage at the end of the day to avoid making a mad dash back to the office or picking the kids up and running them to their myriad of activities. Try not to fall into a routine of drinking coffee to keep you revved up for the next thing on your list for the day.
Savor the moment. Make the most of extending your massage. Enjoy a cup of tea in a quiet setting or take a nice long bath with candles and soothing music. We may be aware of relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing to sustain that inner peace, but there are also things we can do to help our physical bodies garner the maximum benefits of massage.
Eat lightly and drink plenty of water. These are two of the simplest ways to continue the cleansing process initiated by massage. The Swedish style or lymphatic drainage massage is best supported by a light diet of steamed vegetables or fresh fruit. Fresh squeezed juices such as carrot, beet, and parsley are often recommended in a cleansing regime.
Deep tissue massage needs protein to help rebuild connective tissue that has been heavily worked. Following any style of massage you should avoid stimulants, sweets and fatty foods. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids after a massage. A minimum of one quart of water or herb tea is required, but two quarts is best. Electrolyte replacement beverages, such as coconut water, are beneficial.
Physical manipulation can stir up a lot of toxins and drinking lymphatic cleansing herbal teas such as cleavers and calendula are very helpful in continuing the detoxification process. Also useful is supporting the organs of detoxification such as the kidneys and liver with burdock, dandelion, parsley, yarrow, and celery seed.
Nervine tonic teas such as wild oat, vervain, chamomile, linden, or passion flower can help sustain a calm interior and maintain a sane life in a world filled with stress and high tension. Sore muscles can benefit from circulatory stimulant herbs such as ginger and peppermint, or a liniment infused with cayenne and rosemary oil. The antispasmodic activity of crampbark, black haw and kava is also useful for muscle cramps.
Let’s not forget the benefits of fragrant plants in the form of essential oils. The scent alone is enough to trigger a memory association in the brain, bringing you back to the massage table and that same state of relaxation, if only in your mind. Studies have shown that is all it takes to relive the benefits.
If your massage therapist used lavender scented oil for your treatment, using it in the bath can help recall the experience. Lavender oil itself has many benefits. Its healing attributes for the body include benefits for sore muscles, insomnia, stress and depression. It is healing for burns, bites or abrasions of the skin, and it helps to slow the aging process with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; best of all, most people find the fragrance appealingly pleasant.
About the Author:
Mindy Green is a nationally recognized authority on botanicals and co-author of Aromatherapy, A Complete Guide to the Healing Art, 2009. Friend her on Facebook or see more at www.greenscentsations.com