Do you ever want that post-massage feeling to last forever? I know I do. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long before life crashes your post-massage party.
There are, however, a few ways to help prolong the relaxation effect and in some cases to bring it back later.
Music and other intentional sound is important to your massage experience for a couple of reasons.
1. Music helps block out extraneous noises that would disrupt the massage session. White noise machines, crackling candles, and fountains do the same thing.
2. Music helps induce the relaxation response. The slower tempo, lack of vocals, and lack of a distinct melody in a lot of massage music helps to slow your brain down from its normal multi-tasking mode (beta waves) to a quiet yet alert, or light meditative state (alpha waves). Some types of music are even designed to help slow your brain down even further, into a deep meditative state (theta waves).
Play relaxing music, but not too relaxing, in your car as you leave your massage appointment to help prolong the results and to keep other drivers from quickly undoing all those wonderful feelings of relaxation.
At home, play relaxing music throughout the evening or even just an hour before bed to help slow your brain down enough to allow you to fall asleep more quickly. Remember how easy it is to fall asleep during a massage? The music played during your massage is instrumental toward that end.
Your body’s pineal gland is hard wired to be energized or stimulated with the light of day, and to begin relaxing and winding down for sleep when it starts to get dark. It used to be that once the sun went down, we used candles or oil lamps to see by. Those are quite dim by today’s standards. Electric lights keep us artificially stimulated far longer than we’re designed to be, and we have trouble relaxing and sleeping because of it.
Massage therapists take advantage of this and keep the lighting in their treatment room low to help you relax. You can recreate this at home by dimming your lights in the evening or using low wattage bulbs. Remember, TVs, computers, tablets, smart phones, and other devices count toward the lighting level. As the number of devices being used increases, the level of ambient lighting should decrease.
Smells are powerful things. They have the ability to create memories because they activate the limbic brain, which is responsible for creating memories. That’s why some of your favorite smells are associated with your favorite memories. Ditto for least favorite smells/memories. If your massage therapist uses scented candles or essential oils, ask which one(s) they used, buy them, and then either diffuse the oils or burn the candle at home. This will trigger your limbic brain to remember how good you felt the last time you smelled that scent, which will trigger a relaxation response in your body. Pretty neat, eh?
Many massage therapists and spas offer clients a cup of warm tea prior to their massage. Chamomile, lavender, chamomile lavender, rooibos, and honeybush are all popular and effective teas for relaxation. The warmth coupled with the herbs serves to enhance your feelings of relaxation and well-being. Having a warm cup of one of these teas will help tune you into those feelings of relaxation. If your massage therapist or spa serves a relaxing tea, buying the one they serve and drinking it at home will be even more effective.
Ever wonder why some therapists use soft, plush linens and blankets on their massage tables? If you guessed that softer fabrics are more relaxing, you’d be right. To recreate this at home get yourself a lovely plush throw or robe to wrap yourself in while you turn on the music, dim the lights, diffuse some essential oil, and have a cup of tea.