7 WAYS TO RELAX INTO MASSAGE FOR BEGINNERS
7 Ways to Relax into Massage for Beginners – If you’ve never had a massage, the idea of it may seem daunting. Choosing the right massage for your comfort level, and knowing what to expect makes all the difference. We spoke to Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), Trista Rychlik of Trista’s Therapeutic Techniques in Bismarck, North Dakota, to learn the best ways to ease into a massage. Trista also has a BA in Exercise Science, is a member of the American Massage Association and American College of Sports Medicine so her insight is valuable to anyone seeking a massage.
One of the best massages to start with is a Swedish massage. According to Trista, this massage can be a signal to the therapist that you’re new to massage. Typically, a Swedish massage is sheerly for relaxation. The therapist doesn’t focus on any specific area, and it can be either a full body or upper body massage. The massage can last between 30-60 minutes, depending on preference. Within 20 seconds of beginning your massage, your cortisol levels will start to lower. High cortisol levels may contribute to high blood pressure, rapid weight gain, anxiety, and more. Another benefit is an increase in the feel-good neurochemicals called endorphins. They reduce pain and create an overall feeling of well-being.
2. Chair massage
For those a little shyer about trying massage, a chair massage may be the way to introduce you to the benefits. While not usually offered as a service by most massage therapists, a chair massage may be provided at an event or even by an employer as a perk to employees. While the chair massage loses a little bit of the ambiance you usually get in the privacy of the therapist’s office, you’ll still enjoy those health benefits. These massages focus on the neck, shoulders, and upper back and usually last about 15 minutes. In that time, those cortisol levels will lower, and you’ll get that endorphin high. Another benefit to the shy people in the crowd is that you remain clothed for the entire session.
3. Thai massage
Trista recommended the Thai massage as a third option to those new to massage. Thai massage offers all the benefits of other massages, but instead of having to climb up on a table, you lie on a mat. You can also remain face-up, for those concerned about lying face down. Another perk to the shier people is you will dress in loose, comfortable clothing for this massage. The therapist will use their hands and feet with a gliding stroke and pulling/stretching motion. They will also stretch your limbs, flexing your joints and spine, helping with flexibility and circulation.
4. Be honest
One of the key components of any patient/therapist relationship is being honest. Trista stresses the importance of this as it’s vital to good outcomes. When you first visit an LMT, you will complete an intake form. Include all your medications and any conditions you may have. While Trista believes, “There’s no such thing as a bad massage as long as your going to a qualified massage therapist,” she also points out that the therapist may modify the massage for specific conditions. For example, pregnancy, skin conditions, and certain types of injuries require different approaches. If you’re on blood thinners, you may bruise more easily. The bottom line is, do not leave anything out of your intake form.
Trista stresses that this is your time. To get the most out of your massage, communicating with your therapist is essential. If the pressure isn’t enough, or too much, your therapist might be able to read it in your face, but she will only know for sure if you speak up. And as far as how chatty you are during a session, that is also up to you. Some people prefer quiet while others like to talk about all sorts of things. It’s your session, so you get to decide.
6. Immediately after the Massage
You might feel dizzy at first, so take your time getting up. A massage gets the blood circulating and is like a workout. Like any workout, you need to stay hydrated. Massage also releases toxins from your body. You will want to drink plenty of water to help flush them out of your body.
7. The Next Day
Since massage works the muscles, those muscles will be a little sore. That’s not unusual, and it’s usually that good sore you feel after an especially good workout. And remember those toxins we mentioned in #6? You may feel a few symptoms that might make you think you’re getting sick. But your body is working to flush out those toxins. For both these reasons, we refer back to #6 and why it’s essential to stay hydrated.
Now you’re ready to schedule your first massage with 7 Ways to Relax into Massage for Beginners. Pick your massage, grab a bottle of water, and go enjoy all the benefits massage has to offer!
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