Whether scheduled weeks in advance or secured as a last minute booking, you're likely to feel excited about your upcoming massage - enjoy the anticipation, that's half the pleasure!
To help you get the most out of your massage I'm sharing my guidelines for what you can do to prepare:
~ Hydrate well, and make sure you're not hungry. Avoid drinking much liquid within 30 mins of the massage to prevent the call of nature disrupting your calm; no heavy meals within 2 hours of your massage, and no alcohol (massage is circulatory, moving blood and lymph around the body, thus it spreads new toxins, which your system is trying to contain and process).
~ Be ready to communicate to your therapist any concerns regarding the session, e.g. the amount of pressure, the temperature of the table/room; be as vocal as you wish before and during the session. You may phone or email me in advance with any questions.
~ Reflect on and inform your therapist about your goals from the massage; these may vary from session to session, so check in with yourself.
~ Bring information about any relevant diagnosis/prognosis from your physician. Your physician's professional recommendations are very useful for your MT: they allow the massage treatment to be more targeted. Massage Therapists may be knowledgeable and experienced at offering their sense of what you're handling, however, we cannot legally diagnose or specify a medical treatment plan. I'm more than happy to connect to your doctor directly to discuss your condition in confidence.
~ Let your family or work team know that you'll be offline for the next hour or two, so you can comfortably place your phone aside and switch off to maximize the gift to yourself.
~ If you are wanting to include an intense workout or need to engage in any heavy physical activity the day of, try to plan to finish it before your massage, since you may well not be inclined to exert yourself afterwards.
~ Arrive clean, ideally shower before the session as a courtesy.
~ GROUND IN. This is a personal practice and can take different shapes. Perhaps you would like to take a walk in nature to center yourself and clear your monkey mind. Like a mini meditation, take deep conscious breaths to center yourself, and aim to keep an open mind and heart for the massage.
I will next write about the best way to be after your massage, what to do and not to do to maximize the benefits of this special time that you dedicated to yourself and your wellbeing. Remember, that self-care is self-respect and self-preservation: we cannot pour from an empty cup, it is not "Me, First" it is simply "Me, Too."
Why is it so difficult for adults to plan relaxation time? Too much stress, too much overwhelm. But we can learn good relaxation habits.
Massage is an ideal setting for relaxation of the physical body and the spirit. It is a concerted fixed time away from the routine of the day, week and month. Massage therapists are facilitators of healing. The real healing and unwinding is never passive, rather you are your own healer, your own agent in your healing. The relaxing happens at your command, with your consent, by according to your own will. The sensory experience of my massage therapy is ideal for the unwinding described above: I carefully cater to all 5 senses, and I further guide your breath during your bodywork session.
There are many ways to relax: introverted and extroverted, solo or social, private contemplation or public expression, deep out in nature or tucked away at home. We generally agree on how restorative and peaceful is time spent away from our digital devices, the technolatry. Reducing noise and being physically comfortable in our own bodies are two more features of genuine relaxation. For only in a "rest-and-digest" aka parasympathetic state is our nervous system able to be calm on the level that meditation succeeds (N.B. meditation should be a judgement-free realm), where cognitive processing improves, and clarity of understanding and desire are possible. Breath practices are also superbly important, and bringing the breath into a healing rhythm requires that we settle the monkeymind - gently *recognizing thoughts for what they are, allowing the mind to be, accepting it* (rather than insisting on quietening it, since active attempts at controlling don't work). Energetic activities (e.g. sports) have their place in our day and week, but centering ourselves and being calm - as opposed to pursuing intense stimulation as relaxation - is paramount to our wellbeing.
It is a good idea to Relax especially before you make a Big Decision. So schedule the stillness, the downtime, the breathing practice, and the bodywork session. And then your mind and heart will be better able to process the complex elements of your big decision. And equally, massage is a wonderful way to reward yourself after that you create the change you have been seeking and want help to embody - literally, allow to soak into your tissue - the positive results of that shift.