You can certainly partake in light exercises, such as walking or gentle swimming, within the 24 hour post massage period. Be sure to stay hydrated, and spend some time stretching and soaking in a hot Epsom salt bath after your massage to get the maximum benefit from it. You want your body to have time to recover and adjust to the new subtle movement patterns before your get back to your normal workout routine. If you are going to be participating in an athletic competition, you want to get a massage about 48-72 hours beforehand.
A massage after a workout, however, is very beneficial. According to a study published in the "Journal of Athletic Training", massage received about three hours after a strenuous strength training workout actually reduced the occurrence of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) by about 30%.
From the studio of
Licensed Massage Therapist