It’s no surprise that regular massage can enhance your overall quality of life by reducing muscle tension, increasing range of motion and reducing stress levels. Making massage a regular part of your wellness routine will help you stay stay pain free so you can enjoy your life to the fullest. While massage therapists do their best to make sure their clients are getting the best massage possible, getting exactly what you need also depends on you. Here are 6 tips to make sure you leave each massage session satisfied:

1. Start hydrating 24 hours before your session. Spend the 24 hours prior to your massage drinking plenty of water to make sure your muscles are plenty hydrated. Receiving a massage dehydrated can make the experience uncomfortable and leave your very sore afterwards.

2. Don’t eat right before your session. Being too full during a massage will cause discomfort for you and take away from your experience. Obviously you don’t want a grumbling stomach during your massage, but finding that middle ground of full and hungry is important.

3. Don’t exercise immediately after your massage. If you can, try to workout before your session. You should wait about 24 hours to engage in vigorous exercise. Exercising too soon after a massage session may impair recovery from the massage, increase soreness and inhibit the effectiveness of the soft tissue work performed during your massage.

4. Set goals or an intention before each session. Whether your intention is pain relief, improved sleep, better athletic performance or just to shut out the busyness of the world for an hour, letting your therapist know exactly what you’re looking for gives them a better idea of how to direct the session.

5. Breathe. Many people unknowingly hold their breath while receiving deep pressure during a massage, which makes it hard for the body to relax. The more you can relax your body and mind while breathing, the better your nervous system will respond to your session.

6. Communicate with your therapist. Don’t be afraid to tell your massage therapist if you feel uncomfortable or if a movement or pressure is causing you pain. Everyone experiences touch differently and your massage shouldn’t be something you have to endure – it should be something you enjoy! Your sessions are a time for self care, and you should feel empowered to speak up about anything that isn’t to your liking, whether it’s the pressure, temperature, or even the music.

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