If you've wondered 'Is drinking water after massage important' you are certainly not alone, the answer is even debated! Some say that the need for lots of water and properly hydrating after a massage is a myth, while others insist it's the best way to make your massage really beneficial!
Anyone who has discovered the cloud-nine-inducing level of relaxation that comes from a professional massage could list off the benefits: increased circulation leading to faster muscle repair, lower heart rate and blood pressure, pain reduction, improved immune function, and of course, stress and tension release.
While there are many different techniques used in this ancient treatment, one thing is fairly standard. As you hazily put your clothes back on and are walking out the door, your masseuse will hand you a cup of water or tell you to drink up for the remainder of the day.
Why do they do it? Here are a few things to remember when you hear the water prompt at your next massage:
Drinking water can reduce soreness and hydrate muscles.
Drinking water after a massage can relieve next-day soreness or even headaches created when tension is worked out. According to many massage therapists, massage stimulates the lymphatic system, and water flushes out the waste or toxins that work out of your muscles during your treatment.
It also extends the benefits of the process by hydrating your muscles. We’ve all heard that we need to drink eight glasses of water a day, and there is good reason for that.
Water keeps everything in our body running smoothly. 50-70% of your weight is made up of the stuff which means that every cell, tissue, and organ depends on it for survival.
Among other things, it aids in waste removal through urine, feces, and sweat. It helps regulate body temperature. And it keeps joints lubricated and cushioned.
While the ideal amount for each person can vary, eight glasses is a general number we can all strive for. Factors like exercise, environmental factors (ex. Altitude, heat, humidity, etc.), health issues (ex. Diahrrea, bladder infection, kidney stones, fever, etc.), and pregnancy or breastfeeding can all change the amount of fluids needed.
While about 20% of your daily liquids can come from food, you’re going to need to supplement the rest with a cup in hand. By giving you a glass of water after your massage, therapists are simply trying to do their job of making your body feel and function better.
In the same way an area of tension can lead to abnormal biomechanics and eventual injury, dehydration can lead to a pleathera of unwanted effects. When they work out the kinks and hydrate your body, you’ll feel like a new human!
Alcohol counters the benefits produced by the massage.
One impotant thing to note is that when your therpist tells you to drink water, they mean exactly that, water. Other beverages won’t do the trick, especially alcohol.
In fact, booze can have stronger effects after a massage. A massage improves your circulation, increasing blood flow throughout the body. It also can be a bit dehydrating.
As a diuretic, drinking after this boosts this effect and increases the feeling of drunkenness. Even one drink can make it dangerous for you to drive home and can quickly leading to a hangover the next day.
If you plan to meet a friend for a glass of wine after a massage, don’t.
Alcohol is the opposite of the healing. It introduces more toxins to the body, counteracting the ones released during your massage, and weakens the immune system. In essence, it counters the benefits of your treatment, negating any positive effects you may have otherwise seen.
Additionally, your body needs to recover after muscle manipulation, and drinking adult beverages slows that process down. It’s not worth it. Save it for another day.
The same can be said of getting a massage after a night of partying. In short, it can intensify a hangover already on the way.
Plus, it can dull the senses and make it difficult for you to tell if your therapist is using too much pressure. This could lead to added soreness or even injury the next day.
And with the inability to feel touch in a normal way, you won’t be able to appreciate the massage as much. Where’s the fun in that?
It’s easy to tell if you’re getting enough water.
If you’re concerned you might not be getting enough water, glance at your urine next time you run to the bathroom. If it’s clear or light yellow, you’re probably fine.
Also note that some vitamins and foods can alter the color of your urine, so don’t be alarmed if it’s not in that range of hues.
You can also take note of how often you’re thirsty. People who are well-hydrated don’t walk around parched very often.
If you feel that way, take it as a sign your body is asking you to drink more.
Still concerned about drinking water after a massage?
Talk to a dietician or your doctor for more individualized advice.
In general, it is good practice to incorporate plenty of water into your diet. You could even walk away light-headed post-massage if you’re dehydrated or have low blood sugar before you walk into the spa.
Also, make sure you’ve had some food within the last 4-5 hours.
Practice consciously consuming and get the most out of your next time on the table!