Soak It Up

Reap the Benefits of Your Massage Even After Itís Over

By Karrie Osborn

When you walk out of your massage therapist’s office, what do you take with you besides postmassage bliss? You may not think of it, but you also walk out with a luxurious coating of lotions and oils that will condition and moisturize your skin long after you’ve left your session.

While your instinct might be to rush home and wash away all the products your therapist just spent an hour applying to your body, most therapists will tell you to avoid the shower until morning, and instead let your skin indulge in these topical treats—consider it a free postmassage treatment.

The truth is, from moisturizing effects to preservative-free formulas, therapists look for high-quality products that they feel confident putting on their clients’ skin. And remember, it’s not just for your benefit. Therapists have their hands in these same products all day long, so they want quality ingredients for themselves as well.

So, just as you wouldn’t run home from a facial service and wash off all the incredible and scrumptious products your esthetician just applied to your face, you shouldn’t do that with massage products either. Nourishing massage oils, creamy lotions, and therapeutic essential oils continue to be absorbed into your skin long after you’ve left the massage table. Let your skin continue to bask in these products, and save the shower for the next morning.

Shower Before, If You Can

While most guidelines recommend showering before your massage (your therapist will love you for it), it’s important to note that clients aren’t always in the most hygienic places during bodywork. Throughout the summer, you’ll find massage therapists at cycling events, road races, and triathlons, and a weary cyclist staggering into the massage therapy tent at the end of an exhausting day’s ride hardly smells like roses. However, while massage therapists are trained to handle these unusual situations (and more), if you have a choice, choose to shower before, not after.

Karrie Osborn is contributing editor for Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals. Contact her at