I really don’t believe there is any wrong time to schedule a massage. A massage can feel beneficial any time of the day. I think it’s best to schedule one at different times of they day depending on what you hope to get out of the experience. One does not need to receive a massage only in the evening to savor the many benefits of a nice relaxing massage session.
Many people in the Western culture associate relaxation with sleep, decreased productivity, and even laziness (who has never felt guilty about taking break in the middle of the day?) But all of us, both the person receiving a massage and those around him/her, benefit from a relaxed state in the afternoon. Being relaxed doesn’t equate to being lethargic or lazy.
Sometimes, we tend to get so focused on deadlines and to-do lists that we lose track of broader, more important questions, such as how much quality time do we spend with family/friends, how much time do we spend doing the things we really enjoy, and how much do we really take care of our bodies. Receiving a massage can allow us take a step back from day to day preoccupations, and ponder these questions from a clearer, more serene perspective. And everyone can benefit from this kind of attitude.
Likewise, someone might be reticent to book a massage prior to an important meeting. While one would definitely leave some time in between (for example, receive the massage in the morning, then treat yourself to lunch), receiving a massage can help alleviate nervousness and tension and help the client be more present and focused. A few months ago I actually had an out of town client book a massage the evening before an important business meeting. He emailed me the next day to tell me he thought the massage eased his nervousness and helped him to land his new client!
Additionally, many of my clients report feeling very inspired and creative after receiving a massage, allowing for new ideas and insights. Wouldn’t it be nice to book your massage early in the day to enjoy a state of inspiration and clarity for the remainder of the day?
As far as the physical benefits of massage, the body is able to receive them and integrate them at any time of day. You would definitely not want to exert yourself too much after a massage, but a nice walk, or a slow paced yoga class are nice complements to your experience.
I believe there is no “right or perfect time” to receive a massage. Anytime can be a good time, and if some adjustments need to be made to make the experience more satisfying (such as having a lighter schedule that day), all the better.