When you hear the word “massage,” you probably think of a lovely trip to the spa. Being pampered and enjoying ultimate relaxation. Your picture may involve hot stones or beautiful, calming music playing in the background. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

What if I told you that massage therapy isn’t only for relaxation? Remedial Massage therapy actually targets injury and tension to relax your body and make you healthier. In fact, consistently getting massages can decrease anxiety and help with pain relief. And these state-of-the-art treatment options may even be covered by health insurance, so there’s no excuse—start today!

Just like any treatment program, communication is key between you and your specialist. At the end of the day, massage therapists do have that medical specialty, but they can’t read your mind. The art of massage is intimate, and your therapist can help you best if you let them know what you need. Here is a basic list of what you should be sure to bring up at your next remedial massage.

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Injuries, Past and Present

Because remedial massage is so tied in with injury and pain relief, especially in sports, this tip may seem self-explanatory. Making sure your therapist is aware of your conditions and history is a must. If it’s a fresh injury, be sure your joint pain has subsided and you’re initial physical therapy is completed. The goal of remedial massage is never to aggravate a current injury, but rather soothe the pain.

Not only is proper communication key in case of further injury, but mainly to cure your muscles and joints. After all, the point of remedial therapy is to help with these injuries. But your therapist can’t help you unless they know the full story. Share any muscle tears of orthopedic treatments from your past. Then your therapist can gear their treatment to your body, its scrapes and scratches included.

Needed Areas of Tension

In conjunction with injury, be sure to alert your therapist about areas of tension and irritation. You should never leave a massage feeling the same as when you came in. Your entire body should feel rejuvenated and tension-free. But again, your therapist can’t accomplish this goal if you stay silent on what’s going on with your body. So share about your tension-type headache or your tight shoulders. Massage therapists are trained to use deep tissue massage to aid those areas of tension, not just for a few hours, but for the long term.

Lifestyle

Before getting your massage, you’ll often fill our an intake form where you can list the above information about injuries and tensions. You’ll also answer some questions about your general lifestyle like how active or sedentary your job is or if you exercise daily. Your lifestyle may create problem areas that you don’t even realize, but the good news is, your therapist will recognize and treat those as well.

Speak Up—They Won’t Be Insulted

So now that you’ve given your massage therapist all the information about your body up front, feel free to embrace your role in your treatment. Speak up during your massage. Let them know if something feels uncomfortable (it should never hurt) or if you need a little extra pressure in a certain area. This intimate treatment works best when you feel like you’re an equal part in it and you’re comfortable speaking to your needs.

Take Care of Yourself

Remedial therapy is a legitimate medical treatment, so massage therapists want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself before and after. A lot of these tips are simple to navigate on the day of your treatment.

Before…

On the day of your scheduled massage, avoid eating a big meal before and maybe take a hot shower if possible to help open your muscles. If you are someone with a daily gym routine, go before your appointment. The last thing you want is to relax your muscles just to turn around and work them out again. Overall, you know your daily routine, so try to schedule your massage around your preferences.

After…

The biggest tip after a massage is to hydrate. Deep tissue massage works your muscles in ways that you aren’t used to from day-to-day. Just like a workout, you have a recovery process and will want to drink water afterward. Likewise, maybe avoid the caffeine right away. Instead of your afternoon latte, maybe reach for a tea or more water. Again, you don’t want to hype up your muscles right after you spent time and money relaxing them.

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