Our biggest piece of advice is to check in with your massage therapist. Many massage businesses will have directions on what to do to prepare and, if they don’t, you should be able to contact them and ask ahead of time. Because massage procedures can have very different preparations associated with them, it’s always best to check. If for some reason you can’t find appropriate information or if you haven’t chosen a therapist yet, there are some general rules and tips that should get you through just about any massage style.
- Wear flexible or loose clothing. Some massages require you to strip down to get the best possible massage—which is something you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about!—but for those that don’t, loose clothing is essential. As you can imagine, it is difficult for a therapist to work on your muscles through rougher materials like jeans or thick sweaters. Coming in loose clothing ensures that, no matter if your massage will happen with or without clothing, your therapist will be able to efficiently work on relaxing your muscles.
- Hydrate—but not too much. Keeping yourself hydrated before and after a massage is crucial to how much the massage will benefit you. Think of it like this: if you’re going to run a 5k race, you’re going to want to drink water both before starting the race and after it’s over. It’s the same with massage. Though you aren’t doing the work, your massage therapist is working out your muscles, sometimes in extreme ways. Water is so, so important for this process. However, don’t try to drink a huge amount of water right before your massage, because having the urge to go to the bathroom can be quite unpleasant while getting a massage! (If you do find yourself desperately needing to go, be vocal with your therapist. Let them know so they can find a good stopping point to allow you to use the restroom before continuing.)
- Don’t eat a huge meal before your massage. Some massages require fasting to a certain degree, but if you do happen to eat food, make sure it isn’t something big and greasy. Because massage can stimulate your organs—including your digestive system and intestine tracts—having a ton of food before getting one can be a bit unpleasant.
- Book your appointment for a time when you can go home and rest after. Though it may be tempting to pop in for a massage during a long lunch break at work, we encourage you to plan ahead and pick a time that leaves you space to relax when it’s over. Just like when you participate in a heavy workout, getting a massage can be taxing on your muscles—in a good way! Regardless, it’s always a good idea to go home and take a load off after a muscle workout, and your body will feel much better if you give it some time to rest.
- Have an open mind. Though it can be easy to feel stressed about your first appointment, it’s best to just let it go. Take a deep breath and know that you’re doing something great for your body. Your therapist will not judge you for your body type, skin condition, or any other part of you that you feel self-conscious of. They are there to help you heal from the stresses of daily life—let them work their magic while you relax!