9 Activities to Do Before a Massage

If it’s been a while since your last massage, or if you’ve never experienced one before, you may be wondering what to expect from your treatment. The answer will depend, in part, whether you are planning a massage for a specific reason, or for general therapy and relaxation. Your Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) will take the time to understand your goals, pain and any limitations you may have.

Regardless of your motivation, if you have an appointment booked with a registered massage therapist, you might be wondering what to do before a massage. In other words, is there anything you can do ahead of time, in order to make the most of the experience? We’ve put together a list of things to do before a massage:

1. Hydrate

One of the most important things to do before a massage is to drink plenty of water. Proper hydration helps to soften tissues and allow your RMT to mobilize your muscles and tendons more easily.

As massage therapy helps to release and flush out toxins and lactic acid build-up, well-hydrated cells help to make this process more efficient. Remember to drink plenty of water after your massage, too.

2. Be Ready for Medical Questions

Before your first appointment, your registered massage therapist will do a thorough review of your medical history, both to help relieve pain or tension where necessary and to avoid causing harm.

Your RMT may ask for medical history documents to be filled out online or at the office, in advance of your scheduled appointment. Be prepared to answer questions about your circulation, history of surgery, known conditions and areas of pain.

3. Grab a Shower

While most RMTs will say you don’t need to worry about shaving before a massage appointment, it is basic etiquette to make sure you are clean. Just as important, a nice warm shower before your massage will help to relax your muscles and ease your mind into a more relaxed state.

4. Wear Comfortable Clothes

Whether you have the time to take a shower right before your appointment or not, it’s a good idea to arrive for your session in comfortable clothing. Ideally, you should wear something loose-fitting, something comfortable to put on after your muscles have been treated.

Your RMT will likely tell you to get undressed to the point that you are comfortable, with the understanding that your privacy will always be maintained with clean, comfortable sheets.

5. Plan Your Activity

If you know you want to work out on the same day as your massage, try to plan your activity before your appointment. This approach is related to muscle fatigue and risk of injury.

Once your muscles have been stretched and relaxed through massage, you may risk injury if you jump straight into a high-intensity workout.

6. Plan Your Work

While you’re at it—planning the best time of day for your massage—be sure to take your work into account. As you are deep into a state of relaxation, the last thing you want to be think about is the time.

If you are able, try to either clear your schedule after your appointment or arrange for it to occur at the end of your workday, when you might have more flexibility to run a little late.

7. Be Open About Your Preferences

Let’s face it—one person’s ideal massage is another’s waste of time. When you meet with your RMT, be sure to be honest about the amount of pressure you prefer. If you are sore or feeling tender, you may not want a deep tissue treatment.

While your RMT will very likely ask your preferences, be sure to express your interests freely. If you change your mind mid-session, speak up to have the amount of pressure altered.

8. Avoid Big Meals

According to the experts, it’s a good idea to avoid a big meal before intense exercise. The same is true if you are about to undertake a task that requires your direct focus.

Similarly, although your focus is not required, it is best to avoid a large meal right before your massage appointment, in order to prevent feeling uncomfortable. Instead, opt for a lighter meal with a bit of time to digest.

9. Hit the Washroom

As everyone knows, it’s hard to fully relax when your bladder is full. After you have checked in and filled out any necessary paperwork for your appointment, be sure to use the onsite washroom one more time. An hour into your treatment, you will be happy you made the effort. Planning for a massage can feel like an indulgence, even when it is a medical necessity.

If you are planning your first visit to an RMT, or the first in a while, these ideas on what to do before a massage provide a few basic starting points to help you make the most of your time on the massage table.

If it’s been a while since your last massage, or if you’ve never experienced one before, you may be wondering what to expect from your treatment. The answer will depend, in part, whether you are planning a massage for a specific reason, or for general therapy and relaxation. Your Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) will take the time to understand your goals, pain and any limitations you may have.

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