Many people know the basic benefits of a massage chair. It feels good, it’s relaxing, and it puts me to sleep are not the only reasons why massages are good for the body. Massage therapy can actually work as a means of detoxification leaving you feeling refreshed and alive!
Massage, Hydration, & Toxins
The human body is made up of over 70% water! Each cell in the human body is surrounded by what is called “interstitial fluid.” Interstitial fluid contains metabolic waste in each of the cells in your body. This includes nitrogen compounds, water, CO2, phosphates, sulfates, and more.
“Does massage remove toxins?”
Some sources say that massage releases harmful toxins. This isn’t entirely true as it makes it sound much scarier than it actually is. While it is true that massage manipulates our lymphatic system, it releases stored metabolic waste rather than “toxins” which sounds really, really bad.
When you get a massage, interstitial fluids are moved around and rubbed in different directions within the body. This catalyzes the waste removal process in your body by moving interstitial fluid at a faster pace throughout the body.
Interstitial transports metabolic waste to the kidneys and liver where all the bad stuff gets filtered. Water helps to flush our system of these “toxins.” After a massage, the kidneys and liver have to process an elevated amount of waste and this is why you’ve probably heard that it’s best to drink water before and after a massage.
What Could Happen if You Don’t Drink Enough Water
These toxins aren’t necessarily “dangerous” but it can have a negative impact on your health.
- Kidneys have to work harder to process excess waste. Can lead to premature kidney failure.
- The Liver is overworked leading to liver damage or liver disease. Symptoms include weakness, fatigue, weight loss, vomiting, and yellow discoloration of the skin.
- Soreness, tight muscles, and hypertension.
- Headache and/or nausea.
Why Do You Have to Drink a Lot of Water after a Massage?
Drinking water after a massage will reduce soreness of the muscles, increase flexibility, and restore body health. If you don’t drink water, metabolic toxins will simply travel back into the interstitial fluids, leaving you back at square one.
Aches and pains will return the next day and you’ll be stuck on a never ending cycle of massage followed by pain. This lapse may also lead you to believe that massage therapy has no long-term benefits but this is untrue! Just check out some of the articles at the bottom of this post!
In addition to this, drinking water BEFORE a massage will increase pliability and help you get the most out of your massage. Think of a wet sponge and a dry sponge. Which one is easier to bend? This idea applies to the bodies muscles as well!
A Quick Dehydration Test You Can Use
You can conduct a simple test to tell if you’re body is hydrated properly. Simply pinch the skin on the back of your hand, knuckles, abdomen, or chest. If you are properly hydrated, your skin will return to its normal shape quickly. If your skin slowly returns to its normal conditions, this could be a sign of dehydration. To correct this, refer to the section below.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
Some would recommend the adage “8 glasses a day keeps the doctor away.” But what if you’re a big guy weighing 300 pounds. Should a person of this size drink the same amount of water as a 110 pound ballerina? Probably not. You can calculate how much water you need to drink each day by using this formula.
Body Weight/2 = X Ounces
By dividing your body weight in half, you will find the number of ounces you should consume on a daily basis. Ex: If you weigh 160 pounds, you need to drink approximately 80 ounces of water per day. To put this in perspective, a can of soda contains 12 liquid ounces so you would need to drink 6-7 ounces per day.
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About the Author
Jelani Burton is a former multi-sport athlete who enjoys living an active lifestyle. He has experience with chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, and various other sports medicine treatments.