Stretching after and in between your massage appointments is an essential part of your treatment plan. Not only does stretching after a massage help relieve any pain or soreness you might feel post treatment but it also helps extend the benefits of your massage by improving flexibility and circulation as well as increasing blood flow between your muscles, tissues and fibres.
When I talk about taking a holistic approach to health with my clients it means looking not just at your body but at your mind and spirit because true healing happens when all facets of a person are treated. That also means combining multiple modes of treatment to promote healing.
A deep tissue massage is an incredible tool that on its own can treat a multitude of chronic pain and health issues. When combined with acupuncture, yoga, stretching and other alternative modalities and treatments the benefits of massage can become even stronger.
Stretching After a Massage
When I create a treatment plan, I typically focus on a particular area of the body depending on the nature of the issue and your overall health goals.
Sometimes patients might be experiencing chronic pain issues in the neck and back and for others, it might be an old sports injury in the thigh or calve muscles. Depending on the area of treatment, I always provide several stretches and exercises patients can do at home to supplement massage treatment and elongate the benefits felt between their appointments.
This blog post contains five of my favourite recommended stretches for at home after your massage appointment. Which stretches you focus on will largely depend on your body and the area you are treating. However, all of these stretches feel great after a massage appointment and will improve post-massage recovery and mobility in the weeks and months to follow.
Stretch After Massage #1: Seated Neck Release
The Seated Neck Release is the perfect post-massage stretch to work out soreness in the neck muscles. As one of the most important parts of the body, the neck is used every day for movement. It is so important to stretch it regularly both after a massage and in your daily routine. A flexible neck can improve many areas of your life including your sleep.
Sit in a chair with your feet firmly on the ground
Place your right hand on the top of your head and slowly tilt your head to the right
If you want to feel the stretch deeper in the neck muscles, you can hold onto your left knee or the seat of the chair. This keeps your torso still and allows you to focus on the side of your neck
Hold for 30 seconds, then slowly lift your head up and repeat on the other side of your neck
Focus Area: Neck
Stretch After Massage #2: Tricep Stretch
Your triceps are an important muscle in your arms. Their main job is to extend the forearms at the elbow joint. Because the muscles originate in the scapula, the triceps also play a big role in your shoulder mobility. As most athletes know — the greater your shoulder mobility, the great your functional strength and arm performance will be. Remember, triceps stretches don’t just help with arm and shoulder strength, either. Ttriceps stretches will also improve functionality in your back, too.
Stand with your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart
Bring your left elbow straight up while bending your arm.
Grab your left elbow with your right hand, and pull your left elbow toward your head with gentle pressure until you feel the stretch throughout the tricep
Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and then switch arms
Repeat several times for each arm until the area feels thoroughly stretched out
Focus Area: Tricep
Stretch After Massage #3: Lying Pectoral Stretch
After a chest massage, your pectoral muscles will likely feel sensitive and tight. The Lying Pectoral Stretch is a perfect way after your massage appointment to get the blood flowing to the area and loosen things up.
Lay on your back with your fingers interlaced behind your head
Draw both elbows down to the floor to open up your shoulders and stretch your pecs.
Hold for 15 to 30 seconds
Repeat several times until you feel stretched out
Focus Area: Chest
Stretch After Massage #4: Piriformis Stretch
The piriformis is a flat muscle that goes down the bottom part of your spine through your butt to the top of your thighs. Your piriformis muscle is on each side of your body and helps in almost every movement of the lower body.
If you are working on mobility in your legs and glutes, this stretch post-massage will have immediate benefits. It’s also a great stretch for athletes who run, cycle, hike or put a consistent strain on their legs.
Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front
Bend the right knee and cross the right foot over the left leg, placing it next to the left knee
Extend the left arm past the outside of the bent right leg. Place the right hand on the floor behind the buttocks to maintain the position.
Feel the stretch inside the hip and check that both seat bones remain on the floor and hold
Return to neutral and repeat on the other side
Focus Area: Legs & Hips
Stretch After Massage #5: Frog Pose
The Frog Pose is one of my favourite movements in yoga. It targets the hip and groin area including the muscles in your adductors and core. If you spend all day at a desk or sitting down for work, the frog pose is an excellent stretch as it helps work out the tightness you feel in your lower back and hip area after sitting for long periods of time.
Start in a tabletop position with your knees beneath the hips and wrists beneath your shoulders
Slowly begin to widen your legs out to the side, keeping your knees bent and feet pointing outwards
Push down to spread the knees a little more, being careful not to strain past your comfort zone
Turn your feet sideways so the inner arches are touching the floor
Hold for 15 - 20 seconds
Focus Area: Hips & Groin
Massage Therapy West Edmonton
If you are new to my work, hello! My name is Fran of Franceco Holistic and I am a licensed and registered Massage Therapist practicing in West Edmonton. I take a holistic approach to healthcare which includes combining different modalities to enhance healing and help my patients live their best lives.
If you are dealing with chronic pain, illness, or injury, and are interested in massage therapy or acupuncture, please contact me today. I am dedicated to my practice and patients and would love to connect. Have questions about myself or my practice? Get answers here or check my blog for some of my most recent articles.