Make the Most of Your Massage

This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but I got a massage for no reason at all this morning. The boys were at school for two hours, and I spent half of it lying on a table — I know, spoiled, right? In my defense, I had a gift certificate from my birthday a year and a half ago, and my shoulders were killing me from back to school stress. Of course, I have a ton of guilt but here’s the worst part … I don’t feel any better. In fact, I may feel worse! I think I did everything wrong. Next time you treat yourself to a swedish or deep tissue, make the most of it.

1. Schedule in advance. Looking forward to the massage is part of the fun. Book a therapist you know does a good job, and you’ll reap more benefit. Get recommendations from friends if the spa is new to you.

2. Make a to-do list the night before. Writing down everything you have to accomplish will settle your mind and keep your thoughts from racing through the treatment. Focus on gratitude. In the grand scheme of life, you are pretty fortunate to be receiving the luxury of a massage. When your thoughts start to wander, silently list all the things you are grateful for.

3. Prep. Take a warm shower, shave and stretch. Take off all your jewelry at home. Wear comfortable clothes. Call your emergency contact and make sure he or she will be available in case your kids’ school calls. The chances of this happening during the one hour you have your phone on silent is slim, but it will give you peace of mind.

4. Give yourself enough time — before and after. The massage should be part of a relaxing experience. If you are racing to get there on time and/or have a meeting scheduled for immediately following, you are trying to cram too much relaxing into 50 minutes. It won’t work, and you’ll likely end up feeling worse — and guilty for having spent the time and money.

5. Make your needs clear. Do you want more pressure, less pressure? Do you have a specific area you’d like worked on? Are you too cold, too hot? Etc. I know for lots of us, speaking up is difficult, and we want the therapist to like us, so we don’t complain. Massage therapists will tell you though, they want you to have a good experience and they like to hear from you. They can’t read your mind.

Now, I want a redo! How long until my birthday??

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