Feeling good is one of the main reasons people get a massage. A good massage helps to reduce stress, loosen muscles, ease pain, increase blood circulation, and boost the immune system. You can notice the benefits of a healing massage for days or even weeks. To maximize those benefits, following your massage therapist’s advice and staying hydrated before and after a massage is essential. But have you ever asked yourself, “Why should I drink water after a massage?” How does it benefit you and your body?
SV Massage Therapy offers deep tissue massages in Marlton, NJ, and the surrounding areas. We can help shed some light on why you should drink water before and after a massage and why what you do after a massage matters.
The Impacts of a Massage on Your Muscles
The impact massage therapy can have on muscles differs from the impact of working out, but one similarity between getting a massage and working out is the dehydrating effect they can have on your muscles. As a massage therapist works your muscle tissues and removes muscle knots, water is released from the muscles into the vascular system, potentially causing a dehydrating effect. Some types of massages, like deep tissue and lymphatic system therapy sessions, can have more of a dehydrating effect on the body than other types of massages.
A massage, particularly deep tissue and lymphatic system massages, also loosens tight muscles, which can release toxins in the process. Those toxins include free radicals and metabolic waste. Drinking lots of water helps to flush those toxins from your body.
Additionally, massage and exercise can cause the breakdown of muscle tissues, although with different intensities. Both massage and exercise put muscles under stress, and they undergo micro-tears. This process, known as catabolism, is a natural part of muscle-building and is necessary to create stronger, healthier muscles. Proper hydration directly impacts soreness after a massage as it does after exercise.
These reasons are why what you do after a massage is so important.
Drinking Water Before a Massage
Massage therapists recommend drinking water before a massage because a well-hydrated massage is softer and easier to work with than a dehydrated one that is more rigid. The comparison is often made between muscles and a sponge. For example, if you leave a sponge on the rim of your kitchen sink, it will dry out and become stiff and rigid. But when you run that sponge under water, it becomes loose and soft again. This same principle applies to drinking water to loosen your muscles before a massage.
Drinking Water After a Massage
Like exercise, massages can cause dehydration. Drinking water after your massage helps you to rehydrate. In turn, rehydrating helps to reduce muscle soreness after a massage. Additionally, drinking water after a massage helps your body to flush out any accumulated toxins or minerals that may have been released into your system during a massage. Flushing these toxins can help reduce soreness and discomfort after a massage.
Signs of Dehydration
Some signs of dehydration include headache, dizziness, sleepiness, a decrease in urination, decreased skin elasticity, dry mouth, and low blood pressure. The color of your urine can also be used to determine your hydration level. For example, dark urine with a pungent smell can indicate your body is dehydrated and you must drink more water.
How Much Water Should You Drink After a Massage?
Generally, it’s recommended that you drink 4 to 6 glasses of water post-massage. These glasses are in addition to the regular amount of water you drink daily. However, it’s a good idea to listen to your body and let that determine if 4 to 6 glasses is too much or too little. Everyone’s body is different. If you find that you’re dehydrated or feeling more soreness than usual after a massage, you may need to increase the amount of water you’re using to rehydrate.
Does It Have to Be Water?
Another reason you should drink water after a massage is that it provides your body with more effective hydration than most other beverages. Caffeinated drinks, like coffee and soda, can have mild diuretic effects on the body, causing you to produce more urine. So too much caffeine can have a dehydrating effect on the body.
Many sports drinks claim to be designed for hydration, but they typically contain as much as 14 grams of sugar intended to replace calories lost during exercise, calories you may not want after a massage. Additionally, beverages with high sugar content, like fruit juices, are not as hydrating as those with lower sugar content. A sports drink with electrolytes and low sugar may be a good alternative for those who don’t like plain water.
While your body can benefit from the water in most drinks, the content of those drinks might make you benefit less from them than if you drank water. So when rehydrating after a massage, water is your best option. Water is free of calories, sugar, and additives that can reduce the hydration benefits of other beverages.
Book Your Massage With Us Today
Drinking water after a massage can help you rehydrate the body and flush out any toxins released into your system during the massage. This will help reduce muscle soreness and promote overall well-being. SV Massage Therapy is a sports massage therapist in Mount Laurel, NJ that provides customized therapeutic massage. We aim to use massage therapy to make you feel good and improve your health, and we can provide valuable advice on what to do after a massage to maximize the benefits of your massage and avoid any potential discomfort or soreness. Following our advice to properly hydrate before and after a massage, you can enjoy the full range of benefits a massage can offer, including reduced stress, improved blood flow, and increased relaxation. Book your appointment for massage therapy with us today and begin your journey to better health and wellness.