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How choosing your massage therapist, having an open dialogue, and setting goals will change your massage experience.
Massage is the gold standard for promoting well-being and relaxation but those who have dialed in their massage practice are sure to enjoy even deeper benefits in the mind, body and soul. In order to realize these benefits, you need a plan. This is your guide to developing the plan - finding a therapist, building a treatment plan and achieving your goals.
Rule #1 is talk to your massage therapist. If you're looking for a new therapist, schedule a consultation first. This is crucial. This is where you can express your goals and challenges, your symptoms, your worries and ask questions so both you and your therapist can have a strong base of knowledge to start from.
Just because someone is licensed and was recommended by a friend doesn't mean they're a good fit for you. Massage is a highly customized experience and a good therapist will treat you as an individual according to your needs.
Take a Holistic Approach
Taking a holistic look at your health and wellness will give you the most benefit from your massage. It's critical that your therapist understand these things before developing a course of treatment.
You should check in at the beginning and ending of each sessions. There should be a space for open dialogue between you and your massage therapist at all times. At the beginning of each session express your discomforts, your goals, the way you felt in between sessions, any changes you may have noticed. If there’s something you wish was done differently or a technique you may not have felt great benefit from, here is the space to express that so each session can better align with your needs.
Frequency and Timing
The frequency of massage is dependent on what your needs are. Do they change month to month, week to week? Do they build up over time? If the issue we are addressing is acute, or in the case of chronic pain, the best course of action is to start with a series of closely consecutive sessions, perhaps once a week, to make as much progress as we can. (We have package options to make this more affordable).
Once your symptoms start to subside and you experience more relief in between sessions, you may be able to can start spacing out the sessions, perhaps once every two or three weeks. When the condition is in the maintenance phase, we recommend getting a massage once a month.
Once a month seems to be the most common timing even for those who have daily stress that builds up in the body over time, or a physical imbalance that may need a tune-up every now and then, or who may have multiple problem areas, each affecting them differently on a given day.
In terms of length, hour-long massages are best for spot specific work or general full-body wellness sessions. 90-minute massages are the ideal, both for treatment-oriented work and full-body wellness. 90 minutes allows a more thorough treatment, working on your problem area and surrounding areas for a more complete release in the body.
It’s really quite amazing what that additional 30 minutes will do. Two-hour sessions allow for even deeper work, or multiple problem areas all receiving the time they need to unwind. Sessions shorter than an hour are good for tune-ups and very spot specific work. Of course, we will get the most out of whatever your schedule and budget allow for.
After Your Session
After your session, you may have more energy right away. You may feel sleepy or chilled out. Sometimes, with very deep work, you may feel sore the next day or the day after that. This is normal. This is your body recognizing that work was done and adjusting.
If you received cupping or scraping you may feel depleted or a little off, as these therapies are very detoxifying and your body is processing a lot of stagnation and heat right away. This is also normal.
Our best advice for aftercare is to take care of yourself. Drink lots of water. Eat and drink yummy, nourishing foods. Don’t do anything too strenuous in order to give your body time to adapt to the changes that were made during the massage. Do the exercises or stretches your therapist shows you; these will differ from person to person. Try not to plunge right back in to daily life. Time for integration is key. Continue to be aware of the way your body and mind are feeling.
In Between Sessions
There will be times when your body feels in need, just not in need of touch. In these instances you can try float therapy, a few minutes of mindful meditation, a yoga class, or joint mobility exercises, etc. Through working with you, our therapists can suggest alternatives that would be most beneficial for you between massages to compliment or in place of a massage if your body is pretty healthy and regular massage may not be the ideal therapy for you.
Massage isn't a silver bullet for every issue. It's important to practice a wide variety of modalities and use them for specific purpose when needed. Some of the best alternative modalities we know about are offered right at Enlyten Lab. Float therapy, Infrared Sauna, Yoga and Meditation are all great modalities to pair with massage.
Learn how you can build a holistic self care plan, including massage, on a budget by clicking the link below.