A massage is generally thought of as a relaxing and pleasurable experience. And anybody who has experienced the euphoria of a really good massage, you know that you get off the table feeling completely at peace with the world and incandescently happy. Your massage therapist reminds you to take it easy for the rest of the day and drink plenty of water. And while you may hear the words, you may not take the words to heart and then you go on about your day as normal. Then something happens as you sleep that night. When you wake up the next morning, your muscles are sore and you start to wonder if your massage therapist jacked something up.
But before you pick up the phone to give them a thing or two, consider what is really happening in your body after a massage. A massage is similar to exercising. The motions of the massage force blood into the muscles. This increases oxygenation to the cells and pushes out toxins and cellular waste. This can temporarily increase inflammation in the muscles, which causes discomfort, aches and pains. This typically lasts up to 36 hours post-massage. And just like treating sore muscles after an intense workout, rest, water and heat will be your friends if you are experiencing soreness after a massage.
Water is vital for life. We all know that, but many of us don’t really apply it. However, after a massage it is even more important to drink plenty of water. As mentioned above, the cells are releasing toxins and cellular debris during and after a massage and drinking more water after a massage helps flush out these toxins more quickly Moreover, the muscles are being energized by the intake of water after a massage. The act of massage actually creates a mild trauma to the muscles, but water intake counters that and allows the muscles to heal with less pain.
The lymphatic system is responsible for maintaining our immune system, but it is also an important component in the removal of cellular debris and waste. The lymphatic vessels “vacuum up” these waste products and cleanse and purify and the fluid so it may be reabsorbed into the bloodstream in a useable form. Inadequate water supply causes the lymphatic system to become sluggish, which can lead to increased muscle soreness after a massage. In other words, drink more water, especially after a good massage.
Massage therapy is an amazing tool to have when it comes to self-care. After a massage, you really have to listen to your body, and knowing how your body will react is important. Be sure to schedule your massage when you have enough time to recuperate. That way your chances of being sore afterward are less likely and your money has been spent well.