East Bay Massage: Why Does My Massage Therapist Always Tell Me to Drink Water?

I had been working with “Harriet” twice a month for almost a year. When she came in for her appointment, she shared a very important bit of information with me. She said that she had noticed that after her massages she often felt worse than beforehand.

To be honest, I was mortified. The last thing I want for my clients is to feel worse after a session with me than when they first came in!

I started to ask questions to understand what her experience was like. She reported developing headaches and occasionally feeling nauseated within hours of her massage. I started considering the kind of work we had been doing– usually moderately deep tissue work and something popped into mind.

“Have you been drinking lots of water afterwards?” I always encourage clients to drink lots of water after receiving work. Really, it’s part of my spiel, like: okay, that brings us to the close of the session. Please take your time getting up, there’s no rush. I’m going to step out. Pop open the door when you’re ready for me to come back in, and be sure to drink lots of water today.<— see? right there!

“Oh, no, actually not really.”

Hmmm… “Be sure to do that today and I’ll check in with you tomorrow to see how you fared.”

When I checked back the next day, Harriet was happy to report that she did not feel ill. So what’s going on here? Why do massage therapists always tell clients to drink lots of water?

The reason is simple and it goes like this: Sore, tight muscles are often dehydrated from lack of movement. Movement is key to healthy function. Massage helps your muscles to move via the support of your massage therapist. When a muscle is dehydrated, not only is it prone to cramping or spasm, the circulation in the area is inhibited. This means that toxins build up in the tissues. When your massage therapist applies pressure, one purpose is to express toxins from the area. Once pressure is released, fresh blood rushes to the area and flushes out the tissues. These toxins are sent into your system, whereas beforehand, they were localized. The purpose of drinking water is to get rid of the waste products, once and for all. Drinking water flushes all the waste products expressed from your tissues into your system out of the body. Headaches and nausea are two common manifestations of excess waste products in the system.

So, for real! Drink your water after a massage to enjoy the full benefit. And, remember to drink lots of water regularly and move those muscles anyhow! Take a break at your desk, stretch out your arms, roll those shoulders back, and drink some water.

Thank you for visiting East Bay Massage!

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