Massage services may be up and running again after previous lockdowns, but it is always a good idea to have a prevention plan to help reduce muscle pain in the future.
There are many things you can do in between your regular massage appointments to ensure that your muscle pain doesn't come back a week after your massage. Here are my top aftercare tips to look after yourself in between your massage appointments. The more of these you do, the better you will feel in the long run.
Stretch - Being sedentary for too long will leave you stiff. Do stretches whilst at your desk, before and after work really does make a difference. Going for a brisk walk, jog or run during your lunch break , or after work can do wonders for your body as well as your mind. To balance your cardio work, take up a gentle online Yoga or Pilates class. The key is to help your muscles pliable and get them moving. The more you increase your movement the more the better you will feel.
Take a warm bath or shower - My favourite type of heat therapy is a bath with some of my Made by Pure Hands Aromatic Salts which really does help me relax and relieve tight sore muscles. Other products to add to your bath are Epsom or Magnesium salts, which are great for joint and muscle pain. A Magnesium salts bath is also a good way to top up your magnesium levels. According to Alice Godfrey Nutrition, western diets are relatively low in this important mineral which also aids sleep and relaxation.
Get out the heat or ice pack – If you have swelling apply an ice pack, if you are stiff then use heat. Heat can be a hot water bottle, heat pack or wheat pillow. I love my Tisserand Lavender Body Wrap which can be used hot or cold. It really does bring relief, especially after a good stretching and foam rolling session.
Which leads me nicely into my next tip - invest in a Foam Roller and some Massage balls. As a Massage Therapist these are my best friends. They are great for reaching hard to reach areas on the upper back and do ease tight muscles. However if you’re new to foam rolling, do seek advice form a Therapist. Also if you are in chronic pain or have swelling forgo the foam rolling.
Self-Massage – You will be surprised on how much relief a good self-massage session can bring. It’s great for neck and shoulder tension, as well as tight forearms and hands. If you suffer from tension headaches or find it hard to relax, I really do recommend this. If you don’t know where to start, then many Therapists offer classes, or 1-2-1 appointments. Made by Pure Hands offers a Friday evening session. But you can also book a one to one session, or organise a group appointment with some of your friends or colleagues, for more details visit our new self-massage workshop page.
See an Osteopath – Osteopaths are great as they do both soft tissue (muscle) work as well as skeletal alignment and joint work. So it’s well worth paying one a visit if you think you have more than muscle tension. If you’re not keen on the cracking, (not all Osteopaths do this type of manipulation) have a chat beforehand. Most Osteopaths are doing online or phone consultations before your actual appointment.
Keep a journal – Give yourself a body scan, write down where it hurts, check to see if there is any swelling, have a think of how long you’ve had this pain. Does it happen after you’ve done something specific like sit for a long period of time? Or do you feel it when you wake up in the morning? Make a note of what’s going on. For one, the more details you keep, the easier it will be to locate the cause or explain to a bodywork practitioner when you see one. Also don’t forget to check in with yourself. Have you been feeling particularly stressed recently? Are you not feeling like your usual self? Stress, anxiety and emotional turmoil can all have an impact on our bodies.