You know the drill. After a massage you are always told to make sure you drink plenty of water. Almost obnoxiously so EVERY TIME by your massage therapist. But WHY?!? There is always the elusive answer, because you need to flush out toxins . But what does that actually mean? Am I more toxic after a massage? Did my massage therapist just rub out all my toxins that were mysteriously trapped in my muscles? Are they just free flowing in my body waiting to wreak havoc on my system if i don't re-hydrate?!?
If you are anything like me, then you question every little thing when it comes to why you should or should not do something. I think it is half rebellion and half knowledge seeking. Regardless, I believe it is always a good thing to know why. So in the spirit of "WHY" I am going to explain our reasoning behind the importance of drinking water.
Think with me for a moment about your typical morning. Most of us start the day with a hot cup of fresh brewed coffee. Then we get ready for work, we run around feeding and watering animals, then we prepare breakfast, prepare lunches, help get the kids and our other half ready for the day. We try and clean up a little before running out the door as fast as we can so we wont be late. We get in our cars, take a deep breath and try to re-group from the morning chaos. This is our daily routine everyday and it is only 9am. If you start your day out like most people with STRESS and CAFFEINE, Raise your hand!
Coffee is an evil necessity for most of us. Unfortunately, Caffeine dehydrates us. So all those sodas, teas, chocolate, etc, are depleting our bodies of hydration that is vital for our systems to function properly.
When our bodies are functioning poorly we feel sluggish and achy. Our muscles and joints hurt. We get headaches, our digestion slows down. Stress also creates these symptoms as well. We breathe in toxins from the air, absorb them through our skin and have bad eating habits. All of this contributes to why we feel crummy at times.
Massage therapy relaxes us, it breaks up that "stuck" feeling in our muscles caused by toxins and lack of blood flow, it brings circulation to areas that need it and as a result we feel little to no pain afterwards. It helps to activate our bodies ability to detox and heal.
Water helps to detox us by supporting the kidneys. The kidney's filter out toxins through the urine. The more you drink the more you pee. It's not rocket science, we all know this to be true. The more you can eliminate and hydrate, the better you feel. this is why drinking water is one of the best ways to lengthen the benefits of your massage. A helpful tip I learned in massage school is to take your body weight and divide it in half, that is the amount of ounces you should be drinking of water on a daily basis, and for every cup of caffeine filled liquids you intake, replenish your body with an extra cup of water.
We as massage therapist's want you to feel great long after the hour you spend on our table. So... Stay calm, Eliminate & Hydrate!
Whether you have had a massage in the past or this is your first time, there are a few things all clients should know or be aware of.
Our main objective as massage therapists is to provide you, the client, a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. We want you to leave our massage rooms feeling like you can once again take on the universe, or feel relaxed enough to know that the universe will be there tomorrow. You can put your superhero capes away and take a day just to focus on you. Think of it as a much needed break away from the stress of everyday life.
Now aside from relaxation, massage therapy has been used for the health and maintenance of our bodies for thousands of years. There are even paintings of people kneading each other found in the tombs of Ancient Egyptians. In fact, the first written accounts of massage were found in Egypt and China dating all the way back to 2500-3000 BC. It was one of the first known "medicinal" practices. This makes sense because the first thing we do when we have pain is usually to rub the area that hurts. Think about the last time you had a sore neck, maybe a fall or a sprained ankle. Wasn't it instinctual to hold or knead the spot that was effected? Our ancient ancestors must have realized the benefit of massage from the beginning when you think about it as an instinct.
Today, massage therapy has developed and improved over the years. There are many different methods and styles of massage that a seasoned massage therapist will know. There are times when you get a massage that you won't even know a certain area bothered you until it is worked on and you experience the relief from pain or tension that has been there for awhile.
Now, let's get into what you should know when getting a massage. If this is your first time, congratulations! You have made a choice to do something for you that is healthy, beneficial, and that feels great as well! For those of you that are frequent to massage you probably know most of this but there may be a few things you did not know or that you may have thought of but never said during your massage.
Here are the 9 things you should know.
1. The first thing you will be asked to do is to fill out a client intake form. This is for our protection as well as yours. It is usually a short, one page sheet of paper with your base information, the reason you are here for massage, (i.e. problem areas, sore spots, stress or relaxation) and any health issues you may have. It is important for us to know a little about you before working on you in case there are conditions or areas that we may need to avoid. The last thing is your signature agreeing to our terms and conditions.
2. Meet your therapist. After filling out your form you will be greeted by the therapist that will be working with you. They will show you into their massage room and explain to you what you should do with your belongings and your clothes. Generally, we tell you to dress down to your level of comfort and get under the sheet provided for you on the massage table. We will leave for a minute or two so you may get undressed. This is where a lot of people question how far is to far to undress. Unless it has been stated otherwise, this is entirely up to you. As long as you are FULLY covered by the sheet when we re-enter the room, we are ok with nothing on under it. And we are equally ok with you keeping on your unders. So feel free to do whatever makes you most comfortable. It is law to have the client covered under a sheet and we have proper "drapping techniques" that alow us to massage the exposed area without "exposing" you.
3. Just RELAX. That is all you need to do for the rest of your time on our table. We encourage this with our low lights and music. The main thing you need to remember is that this is YOUR time. If you would like us to change the c.d, don't hesitate to ask. If you feel the pressure is too heavy or too light, please let us know. Some people relax better with conversation, while others want to get lost in the music and not have to think for a little while. Both are absolutely o.k. We are here to provide you with the best massage we can give you. Feedback is always welcome. Let us know what you enjoyed about your massage. This allows us to conform the massage to your needs.
4. Moaners and Groaners. Don't be afraid to let out a sigh of relief or to make some noise when we are on a knot that hurts but feels good to get it worked out. That is normal! There is something about letting out a sigh of "Ahhhh" that seams to help release tension. So let it go!
5. Farting... Yes, it happens. No, we do not judge you for it. When you are in a deep state of relaxation there is nothing you can do about it. Don't be embarrassed.
6. Shaved legs. We are not focused on that. We are more concerned about helping your muscles feel better. So please don't let that stop you ladies from getting your massages when you need them.
7. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER!!!
We will tell you this every time you get a massage. This brings hydration to your muscles, and helps the benefits of your massage last longer while pulling out toxins that have settled in the muscular tissue.
8. Re-book. This is different for everyone. Some people go on a maintenance plan once a month, every other month, Or every other week. Your therapist will recommend what they think is best for you based on their professional opinion. If you have really tight or sore areas, you may consider coming back frequently until you feel better. There should be improvement in how you feel each time. The main goal is to get you feeling good for the duration of time in between your appointments.
9. Know that at The Therapeutic Wellness Center, our therapists will give you the best they have to offer for you to feel the best you can. Here, You are in good hands! Literally.
Written by: Stacey Blackmon LMT