One of the best parts about getting a massage is that you don’t have to do anything other than lay back and relax. In preparation for your zenned out bliss, there are some things you’ll definitely want to avoid to make sure you reap all the benefits of massage therapy (think stress reduction, lymphatic detox, reduced inflammation, improved breathing…) We asked a team of expert massage therapists for their top six no-no’s. The results below may surprise you.
Water, yes, but alcohol is a real no-no. Barbara Wilson, a licensed massage therapist at the Spa at PGA National, in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, warns, “when you get a massage your body moves toxins in your body, therefore any ill effects the alcohol has caused may be amplified.”. Your best bet is to be hydrated, not tipsy prior to your massage.
This is tough to avoid on vacation, but experts recommend spending the day-of your massage out of direct sunlight to help prevent sunburn. “Sunburn can be very sensitive to touch. The last thing you want to do is have somebody rubbing your sunburnt skin,” explains Wilson.
3. Feel ill
While you can’t control when your immune system fails you, it’s best to cancel your massage if you’re feeling under the weather. “If you are sick or have an infection, massage may actually spread the infection to other parts of your body,” warns John Tanner, a licensed massage therapist at the Spa at PGA National. “It is best for everybody if you cancel allowing at least 24 hours notice and reschedule for a few days later when you are healthier.”
There’s no reason to get all gussied up before your massage. As Valerie Cario, a “celebrity” massage therapist who can be booked through the Zeel: Massage-on-Demand APP puts it, “no one cares about what your hair looks like. There’s absolutely no need to apologize for not having had a pedicure for a few weeks.”
While your intentions might be in the right place, a hot shower prior to your massage is actually not recommended. “A hot rinse right before your massage can increase your circulation as well and your chances of sweating through the session. According to Wilson, “showering with warm water a few hours before your appointment is not only fine—it’s encouraged.”
So go ahead and book that vacation (or “staycation”) massage, just put the champagne on ice until it’s over.
Jenn Sinrich is an experienced writer, digital and social editor and content strategist based in Boston, Massachusetts. She has written for SELF, Women’s Health, Martha Stewart Weddings, Reader’s Digest, PureWow, and many other publications. Learn more about Jenn at jennsinrich.com and on LinkedIn.