Have you ever had a massage and felt worse afterwards? It is pretty common for patients to come hobbling into my office after a Groupon massage or a trip to a spa gone awry!
Massages can be an enjoyable and helpful part of your self-care routine. Here are the most important things to look for when getting a massage, or any sort of body work:
- Fill out paperwork or have a detailed conversation about your history of injuries and health history
Things like a recurring injury or a previous surgery should absolutely impact the massage you receive. If the massage therapist doesn’t ask about that, she will not be able to prevent injuring you or irritating scar tissue. Be very, very careful about letting anyone work on your body if they have not first talked to you about your body! People get injured in massages all the time.
- Discuss any allergies or sensitivities to smell or skin irritation
Body work often includes oils, scented candles or other sensory experiences. Those things may have fragrance or other additives in them. Your bodyworker should ask you if you have any sensitivities. If he does not, you should tell him before you start! Also, if he doesn’t ask about your sensitivities to fragrances, it may be an indication of a lack of expertise.
- It doesn’t need to hurt! But you may not always feel better afterwards
Some people think you have to create pain to create healing. This is not true. If you like deep tissue work, that is great! Everyone is different and some people like more pressure. But do not think pain is necessary in a massage. It isn’t.Having said that, there are times when the healing process is not comfortable. If you are feeling achy or sore the day after a massage, come get adjusted. Your body probably needs help integrating the work that was done. The massage therapist may have released some tension, but it didn’t fully process. BGI chiropractic can help you process the tension and heal.
- Massage is not contradictory to chiropractic
Chiropractic teaches your body to release tension and to heal. Massage therapy releases that tension for you. If you want to relax and have someone take care of you, massage can be a great way to do that. Often massage therapists say their regular clients have significantly less tension once they start chiropractic care. That is because chiropractic teaches your body how to release tension on its own between sessions. That won’t happen with massage. But massage will also not hinder your chiropractic care.
- Talk to me or Will before you see a body worker
At the risk of sounding like a prude, do not let strange people touch you! There are plenty of really gifted practitioners and there are a lot of (possibly very well-meaning) people who can do more harm than good. For my specific needs, Yoli and Staci Oien are my favorite Evanston bodyworkers. But much like finding a talk therapist or chiropractor, when it comes to finding a massage therapist or body worker, you need to find the right one for you. If you aren’t sure what to look for, ask me or Will. We know what your body responds well to and we will be able to tell you who we recommend or what you specifically should be looking for.
If you have any questions about how to incorporate body work into your healing process, leave a comment below!