Something that can often be overlooked and forgotten when it comes to getting a massage is hair, and it can greatly diminish an otherwise amazing sports massage experience if not thought about and planned accordingly. The decision to wash your hair before a session depends mostly on what you want worked on during the massage/treatment you are receiving.
Hi! Sports Massage Therapist Cameron here and today, we are talking hair! It's a vital part of many people's aesthetic, and hence those individuals may want to know what to do with their hair before and/or after a sports massage!
Many people can often be self conscious and try to present themselves as clean/hygienic as possible for something like a massage, often coming in showered. This isn't necessary, but therapists do expect an adequate standard of hygiene from their customers. But hair. Hair is different. For many of those with long hair, planning to clean and wash your hair can be a real nightmare for timing, and has to be thought through and planned ahead to allow the time for it to dry. So how do you fit this in around getting a massage and all the icky oils and lotions that therapists use?
Should you wash your hair BEFORE you come to a sports massage?
No. Therapists do not expect your hair to be emaculate - if anything that poses more stress for the therapist to try and avoid the hair at all costs! Plus, if the massage is going to include or focus on the neck in any way, the hair will likely get massage mediums like oils and lotions in them, undoing all the work and effort of having washed it. So feel to wash your hair, but know you may have to do it again after!
Most people's hair line comes quite a way down the neck, right into the area that therapists will often need to manipulate to have a productive and beneficial session to help treat the ailments the neck may suffer with. As a result, some hair, despite the therapists best efforts, will be a victim to the lotions/oils/massage waxes and may get a bit greasy. So either you sacrifice a bit of oil-y hair, or specify to the therapist that don't want to have any massage/treatment to your neck.
Therapists will often ask you to put your hair up into a high ponytail or similar to try and keep most of the hair out out of the way. Some therapists will have spare hair bands and clips for you to use, but just in case, it's advised to bring your own. This minimises the amount of hair that gets a bit greasy, but it won't prevent the hair getting a bit oil-y entirely.
If you want a neck session and don't want your hair getting greasy, this is an incredibly difficult task for a therapist. It's a scenario that just isn't really possible if you want want to get an good neck treatment done. The best thing to do is communicate. Simply talk with your therapist and they may discuss ways that maybe able to minimise the mediums getting into the hair.
Do I need to wash my hair AFTER a sports massage?
This also depends on what is being done. If the hair is kept out the way and the neck isn't being worked on, the hair should come out unscathed by the lotions and oils, and so there should be little reason to need to wash it after a massage. You may choose to shower after as some oils and other mediums may still be on your skin after a session, but the hair itself won't need to be cleaned - not as result of the massage/treatment anyway!
However, if a neck massage or treatment is required/taken place, as said, some of the hair near the hair line will fall victim to the oils and mediums to help manipulate the area thoroughly without pulling the hair follicles. Even if the hair is tied up, the hair line is often too in the way to not get at least some massage mediums in it. The greasiness should be isolated to the hair nearest the scalp, so when you leave, and the ponytail/hair comes down, people are unlikely to know from just looking at you that some of the hair is greasy. However, it may feel uncomfortable or a bit gross for some people. So a shower isn't essential after treatment, but it maybe worth planning to wash your hair post massage if a neck/upper back session is involved, to ensure you feel comfortable and clean for the rest of your day.
So whilst it isn't necessary or advised to wash your hair before a sports massage, if you are hoping to get some treatment to the neck, you may need to wash your hair after treatment/massage. If you think you can have a great neck massage and miraculously get no massage mediums in your hair, I'd strongly advise you adjust your expectations to avoid disappointment! However, as said, communicate and talk to your therapist to discuss ways to potentially minimise the mediums getting in the hair.
I hope that helps you prepare for your upcoming treatment! If you have any even bizarre or creative ways to minimise your hair getting greasy, let us know in the comments!