Apart from handling massage guns, Greg and I have worked with chiros and physios who have more than once reminded us why to drink water after a massage is crucial. Chances are we are not the only ones wondering why is it so crucial to hydrate after a massage.
But the answer isn’t just simple post-massage etiquette.
Hydrating after a massage can help you reel in the benefits of your massage session and get the muscles up and running again.
In this article we will discuss the science behind the practice and why you shouldn’t take it for granted.
The Basics: Why Should You Drink Water After A Massage?
Why should you drink water after a massage? Hang tight, we’ll answer that in a minute. But before that, let’s clear something up: a massage isn’t just a snuggly ride. It’s a therapeutic experience that involves the manipulation of soft tissues, muscles, and joints to alleviate tension and promote relaxation.
And guess what? This process doesn’t just affect the spots getting the rubdown; it has a broader impact on your entire body1.
Studies2 indicate that a lot of cool stuff happens during a massage. Various physiological responses occur that can lead to fluid shifts within your body. The muscle manipulation and pressure applied during a massage stimulates the release of metabolic waste products and other unwanted substances from the tissues.
Hydration helps your body efficiently flush out these byproducts, preventing potential discomfort or adverse reactions.
Understanding Dehydration After Massage
Is there such a thing as dehydration after massage? The answer lies in the fascinating interplay between your body’s responses to touch and the subsequent impact on hydration levels.
It’s mind-boggling how a massage experience can stir up serious changes in your body (we’ve had some really therapeutic sessions with our expert physios). Think muscle relaxation and improved blood circulation.
These changes can trigger the body’s natural stress response3 – we’re talking low-key fight or flight signals. Some signals include increased heart rate and, in some cases, perspiration.
While this is entirely normal and part of the body’s way of releasing tension, it can contribute to fluid loss, which is where water can be your trusty sidekick.
When you drink water after a massage it supports the transport of nutrients to muscle tissues, aiding in repair and reducing soreness. Without proper hydration, muscles might take longer to recover, leading to prolonged discomfort and potential setbacks in your fitness or wellness journey.
What’s more, not drinking water can hinder the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis, impacting everything from circulation to digestion. Consequently, not drinking water can leave you feeling fatigued, dizzy, or even experiencing headaches – all of which counteract the relaxation benefits of your massage.
We’ve had to sit down after a massage just to stop everything moving around in circles. We’re not saying a glass of water solved this, but it surely helps.
Does Water Flush Out Toxins After A Massage?
The idea of “flushing out toxins” is a commonly touted benefit of drinking water after a massage. While water does play a role in assisting the body’s natural detoxification processes, it’s essential to understand the nuances of this concept.
There is a lot of chatter that can sometimes be misunderstood. Some therapists will tell you how a massage flushes out toxins. Now, the question is, which toxins are these?
Massage in itself might help move a few substances that might clog your muscle tissues (for instance, excess water in inflamed muscle tissues). This tends to happen when you have deep tissue massage.
These substances are released into the body’s circulation. Most of these are not necessarily toxins; many are absorbed and reused by the body. But some may be wastes that simply need to go.
Since water helps to transport waste products out of the body, any unwanted substances in the muscle tissue will be carried away. Therefore, drinking water after a massage can support the elimination of waste products that were released during the session.
However, the idea that a massage alone can “detoxify” your body is a bit more complex and there are no studies to support it.
A massage can stimulate circulation and encourage lymphatic drainage, both of which contribute to the removal of waste products.
However, the complete detoxification of the body is a continuous and multifaceted process that involves various organs (kidneys and liver) and systems (metabolic, digestive). Drinking water complements these processes by ensuring that waste products are effectively eliminated from the body.
How Much Water Should You Drink After A Massage?
Now, how much water should you drink after a massage? Now that you understand why hydration after a massage is crucial let’s discuss how much water you should aim to drink. Well, this isn’t exactly written in stone.
After a massage, I’ve had to drink about 10 to 12 ounces of water. Greg on the other hand, has needed about 8 ounces or less.
So what is the recommended dosage? There are a few things worth pointing out.
- We’ve tended to drink a bit more water after an intensive massage. For a deep tissue massage, for example, the water intake was high.
- Ambience temperature also means the body perspires more during a massage. You’ll notice you want more water after a massage in a relatively warm room.
- Another thing, water intake may increase based on your body size. The bigger you are, the more you’ll probably want to take in
Generally you want to take about 8 to 16 ounces of water to replenish the fluids lost during a massage. In many cases, the physio or chiro will let you know how much water you’ll need to take in.
Now that you know why to drink water after a massage is important, you’ll want to remember everything after your next session.
Remember your body reacts to the stimulation it receives during a massage. Massage in itself isn’t a detoxification process.
However, since water is used up during a session, you’ll want to replace it after. Also, waste removal by the body needs water to run smoothly.
So, stay hydrated and enjoy your massage!
- 1.Weerapong P, Hume PA, Kolt GS. The Mechanisms of Massage and Effects on Performance, Muscle Recovery and Injury Prevention. Sports Medicine. Published online 2005:235-256. doi:10.2165/00007256-200535030-00004
- 2.Brix B, Apich G, Roessler A, et al. Fluid Shifts Induced by Physical Therapy in Lower Limb Lymphedema Patients. JCM. Published online November 16, 2020:3678. doi:10.3390/jcm9113678
- 3.Lindgren L, Rundgren S, Winsö O, et al. Physiological responses to touch massage in healthy volunteers. Autonomic Neuroscience. Published online December 2010:105-110. doi:10.1016/j.autneu.2010.06.011
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