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The Importance of Hydrating After a Therapeutic Massage Session

Updated: Jun 22, 2021

If you’re a wellness connoisseur, you probably understand the importance of staying hydrated. This is considered extra important after receiving bodywork. Whether you received your massage from a spa, a sports medicine facility, or even an airport kiosk in between flights, chances are your massage therapist has instructed you to drink plenty of water. But why is that? In this article, we’ll explore the importance of consuming water post-treatment and the myths that come along with the subject matter.

The most common answer given for post-massage hydration typically involves vague references to how "toxins" are being "pushed out" during a massage.

The term "toxin" in this context is rather non-specific. Are we talking about compounds that are naturally present in the body such as lactic acid or metabolic wastes? Or something that's actually toxic and isn't naturally present in the body, like heavy metals and pesticides? Using language that's not specific and also evokes fear and confusion. After all, who wants toxins running amok in their body? For that reason, I will refer to “toxins” as “compounds.”

Science and biology are black and white. Science is important for determining facts vs fiction. With that being said, many bodywork professionals have wavering beliefs on massage therapy. Most of the unconfirmed beliefs or claims are that massage flush out bodily compounds. While this could be true, it’s important to remain factual while discussing such topics. Below I’ve provided the importance of hydrating, regardless if you’ve had bodywork complete.

1. Dehydration can increase pain issues.

Some studies show dehydration can make pain levels worse. It’s not clear why, but when the brain is dehydrated your body will feel increased levels of pain in the forms of headaches, muscle pain, arthritic pain, back pain, and more. So if you’re dealing with pain on an everyday basis and it’s not linked to any direct health problem, then you may need to increase levels of hydration to see a decrease in pain.

2. Metabolic Waste

Tight muscles constrict circulation from those knotted areas. This prevents the body’s natural ability to flush out waste and compounds. Since you probably scheduled your massage due to your tight muscles, chances are you have some poor circulation happening. The massage therapist uses techniques to relax and release the circulatory pathways. This allows the built-up compounds to release, which then make their way to the kidney. Water is required to properly flush out these compounds without overwhelming your kidneys.

3. Replenish Your Electrolytes and Re-Hydrate Your Muscles

Some say that massages are dehydrating, BUT, there is no scientific evidence of this! But in theory, massage can cause a loss in electrolytes. Electrolytes are essential minerals such as sodium, calcium, and potassium. They are vital to many key bodily functions. We lose most electrolytes through sweat and urine. When we’re low on electrolytes, it can cause uncomfortable feelings of nauseousness, soreness, and fatigue. Keeping yourself hydrated is a great way to prevent this from happening.

4. Feel Better, Longer

Water will help keep your newly energized circulation moving in the right place. It will also aid in keeping that “fresh massage” feeling longer.

5. Help Out Your Digestive Tract

Along with the compounds that are released during the massage, your digestive system is also impacted after receiving bodywork. As you may know, your gut health dictates a large percentage of your immunity, mood, energy, and overall health. Massages kickstart your circulation, metabolism, and internal organs. Your body is essentially resetting and ready to rebuild itself through release. Hydrating fluids are a vital part of the elimination process. After lengthy treatment, your whole system is poised to eliminate.

The Bottom Line

After decades of experience, I can ensure that drinking water not only post-treatment but in general, is one of the most efficient ways to care for your overall well-being.

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