The Care and Keeping of You: Thoughts from Emily Brown
Ever wonder what to do between massages? We asked the wise team at Freed Bodyworks what wisdom they have for clients who want to take care of aches and pains between sessions. Here's what Emily Brown had to say:
I often tell my clients that self-care is an essential part of maintaining the benefits of a therapeutic massage. For me, it is like another part time job! Between massages I practice yoga and meditation daily to maintain comfort in my active body. Yoga is especially helpful for managing pain between sessions; in fact, directly after a massage, I like to do some gentle yoga to stretch the area that was treated.
If we worked particularly deep in one area, I will use aromatherapy with a warm compress. My favorite oils for acute aches are peppermint and rosemary. I add 2-3 drops of each oil to a sink filled with hot water. Then I put a washcloth or hand towel in, ring out the excess water, and apply it to the area in question. The contrast of the temperature of the water with the cooling effects of these oils is awesome!
There are many things you can do to take care of yourself between sessions, and the advice can change over time as we learn more about the human body. When I was in massage school 11 years ago, the "go to" recommendation was to ice after massage or injury. There has been some interesting research in the Physical Therapy field that confirms what my acupuncturist has always told me: ice is not always the answer. What researchers are finding is that while ice does dull the pain signals, it also slows the inflammation response. Inflammation is important in the healing process, as it brings in all the cells that will clean up debris and speed healing. The recommendation now is shifting from R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) to M.E.T.H (movement, elevation, traction, and heat). You can read a really great article about research being done by one Physical Therapist by clicking here.
Whether you ice or not, I’ve always found meditating and doing gentle stretches to be a restorative way to tide me over until my next bodywork session.