If you’re considering a visit to the Macedon Ranges or are looking for a good massage, Good Self’s holistic space is the perfect place to take an hour or so out of life with a massage in Kyneton.
There’s a certain ‘feeling’ that we take out to the waiting room after being on the massage table. It’s been described as being somewhere in between just waking up and just dropping off to sleep. Following small wellbeing rituals before and after your rub can actually help to lock in all that good body work well into the hours following a massage and keep those nice vibes flowing.
Prior to a massage you’d be well advised to get guzzling on any clean, hydrating (preferably ones with with balanced electrolytes like spring water or electrolyte water) fluids that you can at least 2-3 hours before-hand. Remember, our bodies are made-up of 60% water and the lymphatic system specifically (that’s activated during a massage) relies on adequate fluid to be able to pump waste materials and toxins out of the body (via the skin and bowels).
One way to know that you might need to slosh the water before your massage is if you tend to get sinus congestion while lying face down. The sinuses are cleared with the lymphatic system, so if it’s getting clocked up and causing you pain/discomfort during your massage, you might just be dehydrated.
Getting moving a few hours prior to your tissues and muscles are kneaded and cared for is an excellent idea. Movement helps to encourage circulation, allowing blood to ‘flush’ the body. This increased blood flow during a massage will help you to stay warm and also ease you into the kneading, trigger point therapy and myofacial releases you will experience.
A Reformer Pilates Class is a great way to prepare for a massage as it’s a type of low-impact exercise that anybody can do and can be adjusted to be a whole-body workout. Good Self has classes for all levels and classes can be married up with a remedial massage.
Clear out those bowels!
Probably not the first thing you think of when booking a massage but having empty bowels will help you to be able to relax through your massage and also tell your digestive system that it can have a cat-nap for a while! This allows you to concentrate on breathing and meditation. Plus, nobody wants to break the zen half way through a massage to nip to the loo right?!
If you’re not already moving your bowels daily maybe it’s time to find out why! Our Naturopath, Kate can help to identify potential causes of your constipation – likely to be intestinal dysbiosis (overgrowth of less-than-friendly bacteria in the small or large intestine) or poor motility due to nutrient deficiencies, medication or intestinal infection.
Take mood enhancing plant medicines or supplements
We want to promote as much of that gooey, euphoric, serotonin enhancing feeling as possible during your massage. And although massage itself has been shown to reduce blood pressure, cortisol and elevate endorphins – there are some natural supplements that can amplify these natural side effects.
Traditionally , Californian Poppy has been used to reduce pain, promote sleep (due to its sedative chemicals) and help reduce agitation and irritation of the nervous system. This can be a really nice herb to take prior to a massage, as it increases the amount of GABA (a chemical in the brain that promotes relaxation) that can help to amplify the deeply rested feeling that often comes with a (good) massage.
Taking Kava (sometimes known as kava kava) kinda feels like taking the first couple of sips of alcohol. Yes please! Relaxing, yet uplifting as it contains kavalactones that are mood-altering. Kava is also effective at reducing acute-anxiety and some say it’s like ‘ chamomile on steroids.’
GABA is a chemical that we naturally produce in the brain to promote relaxation and reduce pain. It can enhance alpha-wave activity in the brain, promoting stress relief and mood enhancement. Side note – it can also increase secretory IgA, an immune modulator that can help with stress induced immune suppression.
L-Theanine is actually one of the main components of green tea. It’s what causes the alert, yet relaxed feeling that you get after a nice hot brew. L-theanine, like GABA promotes relaxation but is non-sedative through its alpha-wave activation.
Use a heat pack when you get home
And finally, when you get home pop a heat pack in the microwave over any painful, achy spots and use a good quality, natural rub or oil containing things like eucalyptus, wintergreen, arnica, chamomile that help to reduce inflammation and promote blood flow to accelerate healing and detoxification.
Author: Kate Cawley
Clinical Naturopath & Co-Founder of Good Self.