How Does All of this Work – Part 9: What to Expect When You Get Home
What to expect in the coming days
When you get a massage or bodywork session, you and your therapist initiate a number of changes in your body. These changes don’t stop happening when you get off the table. Some may take days to finish processing! And the process and its duration varies quite a bit between bodywork styles.
Here are some of the things you may notice in the days following your session:
Soreness. Yes, lets get that out right away. If you’ve received deep tissue work, or a massage with lots of pressure, or had even gentle work done on a very tight area, you may find that you feel a bit stiff or sore the next day. It might feel like you worked out hard, for example. This is normal, and should not last more than a day or so. Whether you are working the muscles via exercise, or we are working the muscles manually through massage, the muscles are being worked — and feel like it later. The best thing to do if you feel this kind of soreness is to move! Even stretch gently. But holding it still will just make things worse in the long run. Drinking water may also help if you’re at all dehydrated ( and in America, many of us are).
Feeling a little foggy. When you first move back into the world after a massage or body work session, you may feel a little foggy. As though you’ve drifted off somewhere and are not really back yet. This is normal. During bodywork sessions, we allow ourselves to stop thinking, stop focusing, and drift. This is actually very good for you, as it helps your mind come back to all sorts of issues from a new perspective. If you find it unnerving, you can stamp your feet – driving your heel into the ground (not too hard). Moving, drinking water, and eating also help. You should feel sharp again fairly quickly.
Dizziness. Massage turns off your fight or flight responses. As you relax deeply, your blood pressure drops. When you first stand up, it make take a moment for your blood pressure to normalize. Just take it slowly at first, and that should clear up fairly quickly. Do ask your therapist for help if you feel unstable. This should not last beyond a few moments. If you feel dizzy the next day, contact your therapist and/or your physician.
A Sense of Tiredness. Many of us push ourselves so hard all of the time, that the only time we allow ourselves to really relax is when we’re going to bed. Then, when we actually just feel relaxed, it feels like tired because we don’t do that other times. Enjoy the relaxation.
Bursting with energy. As we release the places you hold tension in your body, it can be rather like releasing a tightly coiled spring. There was all this potential energy being held (and that itself uses energy). Once it’s released, it’s no longer costing the energy to hold it tight, and things are moving more freely. This is what it’s supposed to feel like most of the time. If you can resist the urge to go paint the ceiling, and instead take it easy for a day or so, you’ll find that your body sort of reacclimatizes to a state in which you just have a little more energy each day.
Feeling Rested. Relaxing in a massage is like taking a nap. Additionally, it helps your body use less energy to hold tight muscles tight. But most of all, it facilitates good sleep. You may find that you fall asleep more easily, or stay asleep better, over the next several days. This will let you wake feeling rested.
Better Sleep. Many people notice that they sleep better in the days following a massage. They find it easier to get to sleep, and easier to stay asleep. This is even more evident in people who get massage regularly.
Clearer Thinking. Allowing our minds to drift, and relax allows them to filter out some of the unnecessary clutter in our thinking. This leaves us with clearer thinking.
Feeling Taller. As we tense our bodies, we contract them, pulling ourselves in. When we relax, and allow the muscles to lengthen, we allow ourselves to return to our full height.
Moving more easily. When your muscles are no longer holding tightly, your joints are free to move more easily. You may notice that your stride lengthens, and that your shoulders move more easily.
Best of all, these wonderful feelings are available to you after almost every massage — frequency does not diminish the benefits!
Part I: Booking an Appointment,
Part II: the Health History Form
Part III: Privacy, and What to Tell Your Therapist
Part IV: Getting on the Table
Part V: This is YOUR Massage
Part VI: On the Table
Part VII: Returning to the World
Part VIII: Leave-taking and Re-Booking