You just got a massage - now what? Tips for after massage care.

After massage care is just as important as the massage itself!

So you just got a massage.  You're leaving the spa, or medical office, or wherever you may be.  You've been told all sorts of things to do after you leave to keep yourself in tip top condition after your massage, but most of it just went in one ear and out the other.  You step into your car, relaxed and sleepy, and decide you are going to take a nap and ignore most of what you have just been told, or what you could hear, at least.  "How bad can it be?", you wonder, starting the ignition and pulling out of the parking lot.

Stop!  Whatever your massage therapist has just told you, he or she has told you for a good reason.  Having a massage, especially a deep tissue massage, is a form of passive exercise, as hard as that may be to believe, and you need to take care of yourself as if you have just exercised.  You don't want to ruin that relaxed high you're on right now, do you?  Since you were too relaxed to hear or listen, let me give you some information and rules to follow.

  1. Drink Lots Of Water, Especially For The Next 24 Hours - this is perhaps the most important rule of all.  Rehydration is key to a healthy body, especially after a massage.  Since massage promotes lymphatic movement, drinking water and hydrating yourself is key to moving toxins through the kidneys and out of the body.  Drinking water is the best way to do this - and no, water in tea, coffee and soft drinks doesn't count!  Don't be surprised if you seem to have an increased urine output, i.e. you are peeing much more.  This is also normal.
  2. Take A Bath - A nice warm bath is very soothing after a massage, particularly with Epsom Salts.  Epsom Salts are just Magnesium Sulfate, which is a natural muscle relaxer.  They are also wonderful at drawing out toxins in the body, as is massage, so you may get a sort of detoxifying effect which is very beneficial to the body.  You can get Epsom Salts at most grocery stores or pharmacies.  If you don't have Epsom Salts, don't worry - a nice warm bath will do just fine.  Please note that I said warm and not scalding hot!  This is important because if you have any inflammation in the muscles the excessive heat can serve to exacerbate the injury.  If you have a very sore muscle or injury, try icing the area.
  3. Pay Attention To Your Body's Reaction To The Massage - You may be sore after the massage.  This is normal with Deep Tissue massage, but it can happen with the more gentle Swedish Massage as well.  Sometimes you may not feel the soreness until the next day.  Why?  Well, as mentioned before, massage is a sort of passive exercise.  If you are not one to get massages often, or do not exercise and are not used to using the muscles, then they may respond with soreness.  This should only last for a day or perhaps two; anything more indicates that perhaps your therapist worked on you a little too hard.  This should be adjusted in the next segment.  You can help your therapist by stretching before you arrive for your segment.  Remember anything that was particularly painful and report this to your therapist at your next visit.  The therapist should be open to what you are saying and should tailor your visit from the information they receive from you.
  4. Rest - You may feel tired, as if you want to lie down and take a nap.  This is completely normal, and you should listen to your body.  If you can, make sure you have nowhere to go and nothing to do after your massage.  Massage is not just work on the body; it is work on the mind too.  It helps to destress and relax you; this in turn may make you feel tired.  This is your time to recover your mind and body and it is your body's time to rebalance itself and retune.  Don't feel like you SHOULD be doing something.  There is nothing worse than hearing a client say, "Oh, that felt great.  Too bad I have to go back to work." or "I think I'll go work out now".  Make time for yourself and your body will thank you.
  5. Welcome Different Emotions - Sometimes, if you have been experiencing lots of stress, you may feel the need to cry after the massage.  Alternatively, you may feel elated, on cloud nine, full of energy.  Either response is normal.  The key is not to try to keep these emotions out.  The massage may channel these feelings and multiply them; whichever way, this is what the body needs.  I have had people break down on the table before; this is all perfectly natural.  Let it come and you will feel that much better afterwards.

As you can see, there aren't that many rules to follow, but it's important that you do!  Following the above rules will help you to get so much more benefits out of your massage and your presence of mind will be that much more peaceful and invigorated.  Always remember, if you have any questions whatsoever, be sure to call your therapist.  We are here for you to help you to heal and to get the most out of your session that you can get.  They don't call us therapists for nothing!

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Comments 41 comments

Jo Brown profile image

Jo Brown 7 years ago from North of the Border

Good hub!

Jo


rickydeez profile image

rickydeez 7 years ago from San Diego, CA

Great stuff - especially the water after. You'll need to flush out all those toxins that are in your system.

I always try to drink all i can right after.


dave 6 years ago

great article post! just wondering, is it safe to take a bath after a massage? most people would say that it's not. Care to enlighten us a bit on why it is safe or not.

thanks a bunch!


ckinnear profile image

ckinnear 6 years ago from Moseley Author

Hi Dave! I am not sure why people would tell you not to take a bath. It's very soothing for the muscles, as long as it's not too hot. I wonder why you were instructed not to? It's especially awesome with Epsom salts. Just make sure you moisturize afterwards as the salts can be very drying.


Robertbloggert profile image

Robertbloggert 6 years ago from Oklahoma

Great info though I have never went for a massage I have been told how wonderful they are. I on the other hand always seem to end up on the giving end, although I do enjoy making someone feel good. But you have peaked my interest in going. Now where did I see that local add for the Monday one hour full body for $40 weekly special? Lol

Thanks for the Hub now I'll have some ideas for after.


L.L. Woodard profile image

L.L. Woodard 6 years ago from Oklahoma City

This is good information that my massage therapist never shared with me. Thanks for filling the void.


Terry 5 years ago

Just wondering why I feel really moody and unmotivated the following day after a massage then the day after that calm and fantastic


ckinnear profile image

ckinnear 5 years ago from Moseley Author

Hey Robert, did you try one yet? Terry - a massage can actually be a very emotional experience. Some people have actually burst into tears on the table. Normally people need a full day to feel great, i.e. sometimes they are sore the next day but then feel great after that. Perhaps this is working for you on an emotional level? In any case it's great to hear that you feel wonderful the next day. :)


Adaria 5 years ago

Great hub and information. Thank you for emphasizing the importance of bringing up any longer than normal soreness to the therapist. I don't know how many times I have stressed this in my own practice only to be ignored. We may be 'professionals' but we are not mind readers into how things felt to the client.

With this said I'd like to ask your permission to print some copies of this article to hand out to my clients in addition to the aut-take bit. I know how that tired sluggish feeling can make people miss a lot that is said after the massage.

Thanks again for this short and informative article.


ckinnear profile image

ckinnear 5 years ago from Moseley Author

Hi Adria-no problem! Thanks for the great feedback. It really means a lot to me as a therapist.


Deborah Julien 5 years ago

I haven't had a massage in almost seven years, but I'm due for one next week, so I was looking for the information on after care :) Thanks for the reminder!


Ana 5 years ago

I just got a, wonderful long awaited, massage and was looking up after massage care. I am definitely on cloud 9 and all my body wants to do is....nothing. So nothing it is!! I really enjoyed this hub. Thank you so much!!!


Sinclaireliu 5 years ago

Thx. There're some helpful info in this short passage. I some time take massage to relax. But I don't like the tables therapist brought with, so I ordered one from Healthline. It's pretty good. If you need a massage table, I recommend www.healthlinemassage.co.uk to you.


patbess profile image

patbess 5 years ago

Wow! I never thought about what I needed to do after a massage. Great tips. I totally agree about drinking lots of water, I always feel very dehydrated after.


Tamara 4 years ago

Hello, I'm also a LMT and would also like to be able to print and give this article to my clients as well as post it on my FB account. Would that be okay? Thank you!


restrelax profile image

restrelax 4 years ago from Los angeles CA

I am really glad to read this hub. Keep on sharing.


Belle 4 years ago

Great... found the anwser to my question. Now I can take a bath without waiting for 8 hours to pass(that's what my former masahista told me)and nice tip about the water!


Micaela 4 years ago

Thank you nice people, for the information


Trish 4 years ago

I've been getting theraputic massages for the past 4 months, 1 to 2 days a week. I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or chronic pain syndrome. I have been drinking plenty of water, but with after each massage, I get sick. If I get a deep tissue massage, I'm in the bed for at least 3 days with flu like symptoms, vomiting, the chills and everything else. My massage therapist has never encountered this, has anyone ever had this happen, do you know why it happens?


Elaine 4 years ago

Trish, Check out this link. It talks about fibromyalgia and massage reactions. It's very well done and may be helpful to you.

http://www.massagetoday.com/archives/2002/12/08.ht...


Pelty 4 years ago

I had a massage yesterday, my last one was about 2 years ago, I never had any weird reactions but this time I had diarrea (sp?)that evening and I felt very very tired almost to the point of really feeling sick. Maybe it's just a bug or somoething and I didn't drink all of my water but I tried, I did drink some decaf tea though. I feel tired and sore today. I will in future take an epsom salts bath though. I didn't realize how the toxins released can affect you. I think I will get them more often though just for the benefits of a massage. I usually only got one when I am so stressed out at work I am ready to jump off a bridge (well almost). I guess there really IS something to this massage thing, it is relaxing if nothing else.


SidKemp profile image

SidKemp 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

Thanks! These are really good reminders. I particularly like the variety of specific things we can do physically, with hydration, and emotionally.


restrelax profile image

restrelax 4 years ago from Los angeles CA

These Reflex points when given the correct amount of pressure and on the correct point will help in curing the problem related to the body.


Janice 4 years ago

I had a face massage for my vry first time yesterday, n afta d massage wen i got home i ate dinner n i was soo drowsy i cudnt evn think straight..al i wanted to do was sleep.. n i ended up sleeping for 14hours straight.. that kinda puzzled me out tuu,, was it cus of d face massage dt i slept dt long evn afta i had sisted b4 goin 2 d massage palour? but i feel great today!


Janice 4 years ago

I had a face massage for my vry first time yesterday, n afta d massage wen i got home i ate dinner n i was soo drowsy i cudnt evn think straight..al i wanted to do was sleep.. n i ended up sleeping for 14hours straight.. that kinda puzzled me out tuu,, was it cus of d face massage dt i slept dt long evn afta i had siested b4 goin 2 d massage palour? but i feel great today!

Do i nid 2 do d face massage weekly or twice in a week? will it help wit my facial skin discolorations?


AShish 4 years ago

THanx........that bath was more soothing after the bath ............overall really nice and relaxing.....Thanks a lot.......


Jane 4 years ago

I am so glad I discovered you! Your comments and answers are wonderful! Thank you.


marg 4 years ago

Thanx to this very helpful tips for a first timer like me and had been worried on its effect plus the thought that I will be going to work the day after..so sort of gaining ideas and anticipating after effect..great job guys keep it up & will be on track here in your column..


marg 4 years ago

Thanx to this very helpful tips for a first timer like me and had been worried on its effect plus the thought that I will be going to work the day after..so sort of gaining ideas and anticipating after effect..great job guys keep it up & will be on track here in your column..


Eagurl 3 years ago

Wow that's some fantastic information you've shared. Thank you very much. I shall use this when I start working as a massage therapist.


madandproudofit 3 years ago

Hi

My wife suffered over many years as a result of a car accident and just recently has resolved her issues with her neck pains by using a deep tissue massage on a regular basis. Check out her article on

www.akeso.co/articles/2012-11-22/deep-tissue-massage-for-neck-and-back-injuries


jeanne 3 years ago

Add Your Comment..This is very important information to be sure! In order to remind our customers to follow these suggestions, do you mind if we print these and hand out as a reminder of recommendations to make the most of their massage experience.


Danielle 3 years ago

Today I got my second massage ever, and of course parts of it hurt (deep tissue for lower back pain and stiffness). Is it normal that it will hurt a bit with a deep tissue? The massage was 14 hours ago and my lower back is still radiating heat- what causes it to do this for so long (not concerned just curious) And I'm glad to hear tiredness is normal... Although is sleeping for 5-hours afterward normal?


emceee 2 years ago

So I got my First massage ever ,I went because Ive been very stressed out and its causing me to get anxiety out of the nowhere , but for the past three days I was very sick with fever got prescribed an antibiotic and ibuprofen of 800 mg. So I let the girl know once I was done she said not to keep drinking my medicine just warm water and to sleep two hours. I did sleep but my throat is hurting again I want to take the Ibuprofen what should I do ?


Amy 2 years ago

Had my first ever massage today. And feeling a bit woozy so this information helped a lot. Thank you :)


Corinne 2 years ago

I have a massage about every two weeks and today I had a two hour massage…..came home and could not even think straight. Have been very stressed lately and don't sleep well anyway and kept my 2 year old grandchild for a week. I am drinking lots of water, but I am crying and feel like I am losing my mind. Is this from a long massage and all of the toxins?


Carrie Kinnear 2 years ago

It's probably a combination. If you've been stressed it's normal to have an emotional release. You may just need a good sleep now. I normally don't recommend more than a 90 minute massage though.


lee 2 years ago

i had my first full body massage i loved it so relaxing tired now and feels like ive been puched which i haven't haha i'll do it again


asahi 2 years ago

hi i just wanna ask only it is possible to take shower upter i take thai massege pls adivce me...thenks.....


Ellie 21 months ago

Thanks. This was so helpful. Like you said, wht the therapist said went in one ear and out the next. Busy getting dressed at the time (where's my other sock?). I slept for 10 hours and woke up so thirsty. I've had another big glass now and feel better.


Lauren 10 months ago

Hi i had a deep tissue thai massage on tuesday afternoon,

I came home, felt exhausted, a little disorientated and cried for an hour. I took a bath, felt better and went to sleep, I woke up the next day feeling exactly the same, if not a little bit worse. Then experiencing hot and cold chills, dreadful next sleep and my shoulders are still aching and feel extremely heavy

This would be the second day experiencing this, is this normal? Any comments regarding this issue?

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