After Massage

What Should I do After the Massage Session?

Everybody, and every body, responds differently to massage. If it is your first massage, your first massage in a while, or just how your body recovers, after an initial period of feeling fantastic, you might feel sore or tender the day or two after. This soreness is often similar to the soreness you might feel after an intense workout and is caused by a similar process. This is because anytime you get a massage the practitioner is mechanically going into the tissue, breaking up adhesions, increasing blood flow, and assisting the lymphatic system in helping remove metabolic wastes from the body.  These metabolic wastes are natural chemical substances left over from natural cellular processes and should not be thought of as toxins. The wastes can settle back into the tissue and cause soreness. Sometimes those metabolic wastes can even run to the central nervous system and cause a headache or even flu-like symptoms.

Even with the risk or soreness or flu-like symptoms, massage is worth it! It is worth it because it is helping to remove the metabolic waste build-up that can cause other problems. Massage has other benefits that make it worthwhile too, check them out here.

After a Massage, the best way to prevent soreness is to:

  • DRINK LOTS OF WATER!!! Flush the metabolic wastes buildup from your system! You don’t want them anyway. Drinking a full 2 glasses of water (16oz) within an hour of your session will help assist the urinary system in flushing out the wastes from the body. Continuing your increased water intake for the next 24-48 hours will continue to help.
  • Take a warm bath. A regular warm bath or a bath in Epsom salt, baking soda, and sea salt (about 1 cup of each) or a bath in apple cider vinegar (approx. 1 pint). This will assist the body in removing metabolic wastes through the skin due to ionic balancing and assist with any physical soreness that remains after the treatment.
  • Apply Heat or Cold:
    • Apply Heat To/When: Areas of Tightness. Heat will increase circulation which assists in further flushing out of the bad and bringing in the good, while encouraging flexibility and healthy muscle/tissue tone in the area of tightness. Regular application of heat to areas of tightness will encourage healing, healthy muscle tone, flexibility, posture and reinforce the beneficial effects of massage.
    • Apply Cold To/When: Areas of Swelling. Sometimes acute swelling can occur in an injury or a chronic pain site as a result of the increased circulation or the area itself. Swelling, particularly sustained swelling, can damage the tissue as it can leave a lot of metabolic wastes materials behind that then lead to adhesions/knots in the tissue. Applying cold can help reduce the swelling.
  • Get Some Rest: Give your body some time to recover and physically rest after a massage.
    • Capitalize on the relaxing benefits of massage and take a nap. Deeper, more restorative sleep is one of the best benefits of massage.
    • Don’t overexert yourself physically. REMEMBER! One of the greatest benefits of massage is increased circulation. You might feel great and want to go out and do some serious sports, but that can be dangerous if you overexert yourself. Listen to your body and don’t purposely push yourself beyond your limits.
    • Mental Relaxation is very beneficial after a massage. Try not to jump straight back into a stressful situation after your massage. Humans from the age of three and up, tend to physically tense up in stressful situations which can detract from the physical benefits of massage. Tensing up traps all the released wastes back into the tissues and decreases your chance of healing. Give yourself a window of time after your session to relax or meditate before entering back into the real, and often stressful, world.
  • Stretch it out! Take time to feel the change that has occurred in your body by stretching a bit, without pushing past your limits and into injury of course. Stretching creates mechanical muscle actions that helps to “pump” the lymph and wastes from the body. Stretching also reinforces healing and healthy muscle tone.

What if I do feel sore or even sick?

If you do feel sore, give yourself time and make sure you take the above-listed steps to speed the recovery. Usually, the soreness will last a day or two and after will be worth it because of the subsequent reduced pain and tightness, increased flexibility and many more benefits! 

If you feel sick or nauseous, the best thing to do is perform whatever act your body is asking you to “get out the wastes.”  Usually once the waste has been removed, you feel much better. Bruising can sometimes occur with deep tissue work or with some peoples sensitivities, if this occurs give yourself time to recover and let your therapist know at your next appointment to go lighter. You are in control of your massage session, be vocal about how it feels to help prevent bruising or excessive soreness.


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