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Why should you drink water after a massage

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

After a massage, your masseuse may suggest that you drink some water. But have you ever wondered why they suggest to do this?

It's actually a really interesting subject as many masseuses believe by drinking water it flushes out the toxins that have been released by your massage, or helps the process of lymphatic drainage. They believe the more tension that is released during the massage, the more metabolic waste is released into your system. By drinking lots of water, we are helping our kidneys to effectively drain out this 'waste'.

However, in an interesting independent study by Paul Ingraham, he carefully researches the science behind these 'toxins' during and after massage, and comes to some very interesting conclusions.

What Toxins?

For one, what toxins are we talking about exactly? The answer is generally unknown, or usually a guess without any supporting evidence. One of the biggest household names is Lactic Acid, one we all know as the fluid in our bodies that gives us cramp after exercise. Many massage therapists suggest that lactic acid can be flushed by massage, when this is not the case. It has been tested, and some results were a bit shocking as not only does massage definitely not “reduce” lactic acid, perhaps massage even “impairs lactic acid and hydrogen ion removal from muscle.”

Additionally, research has shown that muscle fatigue and the burning that you feel through intense exercise is most likely caused by calcium physiology, not an accumulation of lactic acid. Specifically, lactic acid does not cause soreness the day after exercise, it has dissipated by then.

Certainly, keeping hydrated is good practice for your continuing health and well being, but it is not medically important for any specific biological reason after a massage. That being said, after a full body massage, clients can feel light headed and a bit dizzy. Though we can take this research to realise it is not because of these toxins making its way through the circulatory system, offering a glass of water and a sit down can at the very least allow the body and mind to rest and recuperate for a short period before walking and driving. Just like a warm down during exercise, this can be an important step also.

Read Paul Ingraham's full article here.

See what massage therapies we do at Feathers Holistic Centre.

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