Most Frequently asked questions during a massage.
How often should I get a massage?
This really depends on your overall wellness routine. I typically recommend a month to month and a half between sessions, provided that you are doing all of your daily self-care routines. These daily self-care routines include three core staples:
#1 Proper Rest
For adults aged between 18-60, it is recommended that you get 7 or more hours of sleep each night.
Although the amount of sleep you get each day is important, other aspects of your sleep also contribute to your health and well-being. Good sleep quality is also essential. Signs of poor sleep quality include not feeling rested even after getting enough sleep, repeatedly waking up during the night, and experiencing symptoms of sleep disorders (such as snoring or gasping for air). Improving sleep quality may be helped by better sleep habits or being diagnosed and treated for any sleep disorder you may have.
Some habits that can improve your sleep health:
- Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature
- Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, from the bedroom
- Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime
- Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.
#2 Proper Nutrition
The benefits of proper nutrition are almost limitless, but to name a few: improved energy, reduction in the risk of chronic disease (i.e heart disease, type 2 diabetes), maintain a healthy immune system, delays the effect of aging, maintaining a healthy weight, helps the digestive system function, and muscle support.
I recommend meeting with a nutritionist to help you develop a personalized plan that fits your needs. My go-to nutritionist (and Tocar Spa client) is Cara Zaller. She is based in Columbia, MD, and is just generally an awesome person. Her contact info is below:
#3 Proper Exercise / Physical Activity
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. The benefits of exercise include reduction of blood pressure, reductions in feelings of anxiety, improvement in quality of sleep, improvement of bone health, reduction in risk of falls, reduction in weight gain, reduction in risk of depression, and development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Not sure where to start? One of the safest and low-risk activities you can do is to take a brisk walk. This moderate-intensity aerobic exercise works wonders for the entire body.
If you are struggling with creating a plan or being consistent I would encourage you to find a qualified personal trainer. My preferred Personal Trainer is Darrell Gough at the Columbia Athletic Club @ 410-730-6744. He’s a magician.
How often should I stretch?
This is one of my most frequently asked questions during my sports massage sessions.
For starters stretching promotes flexibility and helps your joints maintain a healthy range of motion—and in doing so, also lowers the chances of joint and muscle strain. The benefits of stretching, from an injury prevention standpoint, is one of the main reasons I try to incorporate them into all of my treatment sessions.
I am a huge believer in dynamic stretching prior to an athletic activity (warm-up) and extended static stretching for post-activity recovery (cooldown). The physical and mental benefits are felt immediately. But what’s even better than stretching by yourself is partner stretching. Stretching with a partner allows you to focus on your breathing and truly “feel” your muscles and understand your limits. Click here to view our partner stretching library for a walkthrough.
A panel of experts convened by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) reviewed a wide range of studies to help answer these questions and agreed that:
- Healthy adults should do flexibility exercises (stretches, yoga, or tai chi) for all major muscle-tendon groups—neck, shoulders, chest, trunk, lower back, hips, legs, and ankles—at least two to three times a week.
- For optimal results, you should spend a total of 60 seconds on each stretching exercise. So, if you can hold a particular stretch for 15 seconds, repeating it three more times would be ideal. If you can hold the stretch for 20 seconds, two more repetitions would do the trick.
What playlist are you listening to?
It varies depending on the day, but mostly I listen to the “Spa Radio” station from Pandora during my sessions. This station is good for relaxation, meditation, massage, yoga, sleeping, or any time you just need to hear some soothing music. Often I’ll switch to the “Yiruma” station and play “River Flows in you,” my favorite composition from my favorite pianist.
I prefer to work with music with no words, I find that it enhances my concentration and focus.
- Watson NF, Badr MS, Belenky G, et al. Recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult: a joint consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. Sleep. 2015;38(6):843–844.