There’s nothing better than a great massage. There’s something about going to a spa or having a massage therapist come to your home that really helps relieve any stress that gets mired in your muscles. Did you know that you can greatly enhance your experience if you spend some time in your hot tub before getting a massage? It’s true. A short soak in hot water before being worked over by a licensed masseuse can really help you get the most out of your time on the table.
Whether you hot tub at home before going to the spa or make a point to use the hot tub at the facility you attend, you really are doing the best thing for your body by spending approximately 10-15 minutes in 100°-104° F water. This soaking time allows your surface muscles to relax and work out some of the superficial kinks and tension that will make it easier for your masseuse to work deeper without you having to experience discomfort. You’re really going to experience the full benefits of this form of therapy if you spend some time loosening your muscles beforehand.
Spending this short amount of time in the water as a precursor to massage is a good way to not only relax the muscles but to draw out the lactic acid in order to loosen tightness in muscles and connective tissue. As you know, there are a myriad of benefits to hot water hydrotherapy, some of which are a reduction in blood pressure, lessening of joint inflammation, and an increase in the your blood and oxygen flow to painful or injured areas. It allows you to experience a more rapid recovery and bounce back from the soreness that sometimes accompanies an intense massage, provided you drink PLENTY OF WATER. Both massage and hot tub use sap your muscles of moisture so it’s important to replenish what has become depleted. Your masseuse should remind you to consume plenty of water after a massage in order to flush out the lactic acid that has built up on your muscles after a kneading. This will be doubly important if you took a pre-massage soak.
Can you use a hot tub after a massage? Sure. It’s not quite as important as spending time in hot water before, but it probably won’t hurt. If you do, however, be sure to take a shower (using soap!) after your massage to rinse off the oils that have been rubbed into your skin so that they aren’t sloughed off in the hot tub. This can create a serious foaming problem which can be a pain to resolve if it gets out of hand.
You can also add some aromatherapy elixir or crystals to your hot tub water to further enhance your relaxation in anticipation of your massage. Never underestimate the power of scent accompanied with some quality time in the water.
If you’re not familiar with what kind of massage to choose, here’s a quick summary of some common methods:
This can be a catch-all term for basic massage with which you’re probably already familiar. The technique focuses on long strokes that are meant to increase blood circulation as the therapist passes over and muscles back and forth to help eradicate built up tension. This is great for relieving common stress related tightness in the muscles. Remember that you can always help your therapist customize it to focus on specific regions of tension in addition to communicating what level of pressure you prefer. A basic massage will usually leave you sore for a day or two afterward, less if you were able to do a pre-massage soak.
This refers more to the clientele than an energetic technique, although it is more involved than your average massage. It’s faster paced and usually involves more stretching and body positioning. It’s meant to invigorate your body and help work on any specific nagging injuries.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage
This sounds much grosser than it actually is. This is a massage technique in which the therapist uses very light, focused strokes on the soft tissues instead of the muscles and joints. This method helps to disperse excess fluid. This is usually recommended for someone recovering from surgery to help boost their body’s ability to heal.
Focusing mostly on the joints, Thai massage is usually done on floor mats instead of a traditional table. It’s a little intimidating as you’re worked on by some very limber and emphatic therapist (seriously, google it) in order to stretch your limbs and torso to promote joint health. It helps to alleviate pain in the joints and loosen them so users can experience increased range of motion.
All of these types of massage can be appropriately paired with hot tub use. Get the most out of your massage (and your body!) by pairing hot tub use with your massage. Enjoy!