You’re looking forward to experiencing your first massage, but you can’t help but wonder, “what happens before and after my massage?” or “how should I prepare for my massage?” 

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Many first-time clients have questions and concerns about their initial massage experience. 

To help you prepare for your therapeutic journey, we’re answering some of the most common questions about what to expect before and after massage therapy. 

What should I do before a massage?

Even though the massage itself is a form of self-care, it’s a good idea to add in some additional self-care steps before you arrive. One of the most important things you can do is stay hydrated. 

Aside from the general benefits of regular hydration (e.g., increased energy, healthy organ function, etc.), drinking plenty of H20 during the 24 hours leading up to your appointment will help your body flush out toxins and prime muscles for the experience. 

Another thing you may want to consider is taking a shower with warm water (not hot). This isn’t a requirement, but it can help you feel better, be more relaxed, and, like hydration, prepare your body for what’s to come.  

Finally, we recommend that you try to relax and get comfortable before your appointment. Though it’s not always possible, it’s helpful to arrive at your appointment with enough time to decompress and let go of the day’s worries before entering the massage room. 

We also recommend that you wear comfortable, loose clothing that’s easier to put on and won’t cause discomfort after your massage. 

What should I not do before my session?

You may not always have a lot of control in the hours leading up to your massage appointment, especially if you’ve booked it immediately following work or other obligations. Still, there are some things you may want to avoid if you’re going to get the most from your experience.  

Drinking alcohol or many caffeinated beverages can make it harder for you to relax and may even make it more difficult for your body to flush out toxins. We also recommend that you avoid a heavy meal or eating or drinking anything that may cause intestinal discomfort before or during your massage. 

Another thing you may want to forego before your massage is makeup and any elaborate hairstyling efforts. You’re welcome to do those things prior, but you’ll quickly find that your efforts were for nothing. 

Depending on your booked service, your massage therapist will use their hands to massage your facial muscles and scalp, which will likely interfere with your hair and makeup. 

Finally, we recommend that you try to book your appointment at a time when you won’t be forced to rush or manage stressful engagements. A massage can certainly help you let go of stress and tension, but if you’re rushing to get to your appointment or still thinking about a work dilemma, you may not be able to enjoy the experience fully. 

What should I do after a massage?

After your massage, you should follow the golden pre-massage rule: stay hydrated. Doing so will continue to support your body as it flushes toxins. 

In addition to hydrating, you may also want to consider taking time to relax and stretch in the hours after your leave. Gentle stretching can prevent muscles from tensing and prolong the benefits you received during your appointment.  

In some cases, mainly if you’ve booked a deep tissue massage, you may experience some minor muscle soreness. This is a common reaction to muscle stimulation, especially if it’s one of your first times on the massage table. If this happens, consider taking a warm bath or apply heat therapy to affected muscles. 

What should you not do after my session?

Much like your pre-massage routine, your post-massage routine should cultivate a feeling of relaxation and allow you to enjoy the benefits of massage therapy. Avoid eating a heavy meal, participating in strenuous activities, or engaging in stressful situations (e.g., going directly back to work). 

Do I need to rest after a massage?

The unequivocal answer to this question is, “yes!” You definitely should relax and rest, if you can. Resting will make it more likely that you maintain that calm and relaxed feeling, but that’s not the only reason you should take it easy. 

Massage therapy targets muscles, and those muscles need time to recover after a session. Resting gives them ample time to do so. 

How long do the effects of a massage last?

Everyone’s body is different, and how long the effects of a massage will last depends on many factors. For instance, if you booked a massage to cope with stress and achieve a state of relaxation, resting and avoiding stressful situations can help you extend the benefits. 

If you immediately jump back into the demands of life, you may find that calm feel dissipates quickly. Do your best to give yourself the time and space to practice self-care and extend the benefits as long as possible. 

If you’re booking a massage to cope with an injury or chronic pain, you may find that regular visits—every 2 to 4 weeks—may elongate the effects of massage therapy and provide long-term healing.

Massage therapy is an excellent way to treat your mind and body. If you recently booked or are considering booking your first massage, congratulations! It’s an excellent step towards the self-care you deserve. 

We commonly hear questions similar to those above, and we know that by answering them, we can provide you with a more comfortable and effective experience. If you still have questions, please let us know. We’re happy to help you make the most out of your first massage service.