Getting the most value out of our purchases is desirable for most people. Consider a situation where a person is able to receive a 90-minute massage once a week. That massage equates to less than 1% of that person’s time spent in a week, leaving the remaining 99% of the time to either help or harm that person’s path to well-being. So what are some things that can be done during 99% of the time to increase the efficiency of massage and create the most value?
Making sure you’re properly hydrated is crucial in the overall function of soft tissue. Around 75% of your muscles are made of water. Imagine driving your car on low oil—your engine is unable to function smoothly and problems will start to occur. The same can be said about the relationship between your muscles and water. Hydrating with a glass of water before massage will surely offer benefits. Even more importantly following massage, as your muscles react the same way as they would towards a strenuous workout.
This goes hand in hand with hydration to ensure optimal function of muscles. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to list in order of most deficient to lesser (but still deficient) vitamins and minerals deficiencies found in U.S. citizens sourced from the CDC’s Second Nutrition Report. Interestingly, all listed deficient vitamins and minerals play a role in muscular health and are as follows; Vitamin B6, Iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Folate. So make sure you’re not in this deficient majority and are doing your best to provide your body with building blocks to recover. Many of these come from vegetables and fruit, so try to purchase a variety of colors to ensure the best nutrition.
Exercise following massage is another important factor. I’m not talking about big heavyweights, but more-so light functional movement pertaining to the areas you’ve had work done in massage. Most likely you go into a massage with a problem and hopefully leave feeling relief from that problem. If so, then you’ve gained back muscular functionality. This should necessitate some movement in order to “retrain” your muscles by letting them know there is less restriction to deal with.
Sleep is another crucial factor in relation to muscular health and the efficiency of massage. During this time our bodies release human growth hormone and go through most of our protein synthesis; repairing what we may have been damaged during exercise, massage, or other daily activities. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night, especially following massage, will provide the most value and add to the overall efficiency of massage.