The Importance of Hydration After a Massage Therapy Session

  • Massage Therapy
  • March 12, 2024
  • 4 min read
The Importance of Hydration After a Massage Therapy Session

Have you ever wondered why your massage therapist reminds you to drink water after a session? Or are you an aspiring massage therapist but don’t remember hearing an explanation from your teacher in class? 

Hydration is an important part of the recovery process after a massage, so it is essential for therapists and clients to understand the rationale. This article will explain why grabbing that water bottle post-massage is super important to maximize the benefits of massage and a “must-do” for feeling great.

Flushes Out Toxins

Massage gets your blood flowing…thus why your skin gets warm and can change shade slightly after a therapist works on a specific area. When you improve blood flow to areas of hypertonicity (i.e., knots in your muscles), toxins are released from your muscles. You may have known this process occurred, but you have likely felt the effects of these toxins in your bloodstream. 

Have you ever felt a bit sore after a massage? The soreness is caused by lactic acid that gets released from your muscles during a massage. Lactic acid builds up in your muscles after an intense workout, or when your muscles are chronically tight and causes muscle soreness both at the time it is generated and when the excess is released during a massage. Other toxins can be stored in muscles as well, but this is the easiest one to relate to because you can feel its impacts.

Properly hydrating plays a key role in your body’s ability to clear these toxins out after they have been mobilized. Toxins can be released through a couple of pathways. First, they can be released directly into the bloodstream. Drinking water also naturally improves your blood’s filtration rate and helps excrete these toxins. 

Massage also stimulates the lymphatic system, which works hand in hand with your body’s immune system. The lymphatic system is like your body’s natural cleaning crew, clearing out the interstitial spaces (i.e., the spaces between your cells). Drinking water helps move the toxins out of the interstitial spaces quicker than your body could if you were dehydrated.

Supports Muscle Recovery

Around 75% of muscle tissue is water. Keeping hydrated means your muscles are in the best shape possible for healing and growth. 

Your muscles work hard during a massage, even if it feels like you’re just lying there. There is a lot happening on a cellular level, especially during more intensive sessions (e.g., deep tissue, rolfing, etc.). Water helps your muscles bounce back stronger through a couple of key pathways.

The first method is very straightforward. Water rehydrates your muscles. Just like a sponge, your muscles need water to stay flexible and healthy. Hydration keeps the proteins inside the muscle fibers from getting stiff.

The second method is indirect. Water is a big part of the healing process. Proper hydration is essential for enabling your body to repair the tiny tears that can happen in your muscles during a deep massage.

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Enhances Overall Well-being

In addition to the direct impacts on clearing out toxins stored in your muscles and helping rehydrate your muscles at a cellular level, staying hydrated contributes to your overall health, making the benefits of your massage last even longer.

Hydrated skin is healthy skin. Water is an essential ingredient to keep your skin soft and supple, especially as you age. Water improves skin health and enhances that post-massage glow.

After a relaxing massage, drinking water can also restore your energy levels and leave you feeling ready for the rest of your day instead of feeling sluggish. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day can improve your physical performance and boost energy levels. Imagine what it can do when combined with the benefits of a massage!

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Next time you hop off the massage table, don’t forget to grab your water bottle. Hydrating after a massage isn’t just a nice to-do; it’s essential for flushing out toxins, supporting muscle recovery, and enhancing your overall well-being. So, drink up and make the most out of your massage benefits. Your body will thank you!

Ivy Adams
Massage Therapy Program Chair

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Ivy is a proud graduate of Northwest Career College, class of 1999, and has been a Licensed Massage Therapist ever since. Her eighteen years of experience has taken her through an eclectic array of…Read Full Bio