"How beautiful it is to nothing and then rest afterwards."-Indian Proverb

You arrive for your massage session, eager to relax, to quiet your mind and allow the tension that binds the tight muscles in your neck and shoulders to be released. For the next 70 or 90 minutes you are vaguely aware of the therapists hands, the scented oil and the serene background music, but you are not focused on any of it. 

The session ends. The therapist quietly exits the room with instructions to relax for a few more moments and slowly get up from the table. But you hear the door close and suddenly you are in "thinking mode". You quickly get up from the table, dress and exit the room already thinking about the errands you need to run on your way home. Stop! The massage session may have ended, but the relaxed feeling doesn't have to.  Here are a few ways to maximize your massage:

1) Schedule your appointment on a day and time that allows you to just go home and relax. Don't leave your massage table viewappointment with plans to grocery shop, mow the lawn, pull weeds, clean the house or do laundry. Relax, relax and relax some more. 

2) Don't get up too quickly from the massage table. When the therapist leaves the room, remain on the table for a few moments with eyes closed. Rub your hands together creating heat, rest the palms over your closed eyes for a moment, slowly open your eyes, absorbing the heat from your hands and spread your fingers slightly, letting a bit of light through, then gradually remove your hands from your eyes. 

3) Book your next appointment before you leave. It's always nice to have something to look forward to on your calendar and many clients say that even if they are having a stressful day, they just have to see they have a massage appointment after work and they begin to relax just from that knowledge.

4) Try to limit exposure to people and situations that trigger stress for you, at least for the remainder of the day or evening.

5) Go home and take a 30 minute power nap and end the day with a relaxing hot bath. To create a spa like ambiance add a few drops of lavender oil, dim the lights and light a few candles, as a finishing touch you can add a few fresh flowers or flower petals to the water. You can make the bath more therapeutic by adding some Epsom salts or dead sea salts. A little soft background music will help with that feeling of aaahh.

after the massage6) Remember after a massage your body is detoxing, so try to limit caffeine, alcohol and sugar consumption for 24 hours after the session. If you can limit them 24 hours prior to the session that is beneficial too. Drink lots of water to help your body re-hydrate.

7) Buy some quiet relaxing music to listen to at home and in the car. The music played during massage sessions is usually composed at about 50-60 beats per minute, which helps lower the heart rate. Music without lyrics is good because you won't focus on the words of the song. Ask your therapist for recommendations.

8) If you use a scented oil during your sessions then buy the same scented oil or lotion to use at home in between massage dates or buy the essential oil to burn in a diffuser to inhale. The fragrance will help take you back to that relaxed feeling.

9) Get back to nature. Buy some fresh flowers for your home or take a leisurely stroll outside, immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of nature.

10) Gratitude. Every evening before you go to bed list at least three things that you are grateful for that day, or that made you happy. They can be simple things, like you had all green lights on your way to work, your grumpy co-worker is on vacation, or your kids cleaned their room without a fight. When we remember to be grateful then burdens seem a bit lighter and the world a bit brighter.

11) Breathe. A relaxing breathing technique is the 4-7-8 breath. Breathe in through the nose for the count of 4, hold your breath for the count of 7 and exhale through your lips for the count of 8. Do the breaths at a rate that is comfortable for you, gradually slowing the counting. Enjoy your massage sessions and continue to enjoy the relaxed feeling between appointments. 

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