If you're getting a massage, you'll want to make sure it's as effective as it is relaxing. And, while there's a clear benefit to soothing damaging muscles and boosting recovery through massage technique, it is possible to negate those effects if you aren't taking care of your body after putting your clothes back on and moving on with your day or evening.
It turns out, when massage therapists tell you to hydrate afterwards (and even hand you a glass of water or tea), it's because it's necessary. Unfortunately, we often underestimate just how important these behaviors are. Luckily, Soothe's touch therapy expert, Michelle Ebbin, is here to explain what you must do after leaving a massage appointment in order to reap the full benefits.
Pee Right After
If you wait a few hours, you could be building up toxins, which need to be flushed out after getting a massage. Even if you don't feel the urge, go. "It’s bad to not pee after a massage because a massage helps pump fluid out of your soft tissues into your circulatory system towards your kidneys, and peeing helps your body flush the waste from your system," she explains.
Not Drinking Water
Reach for that H20. "You need to drink water after a massage because it helps flush your kidneys and helps eliminate the metabolic waste molecules that your body doesn’t need," she says.
"Drinking water does not get rid of ‘toxins’ as some people believe, but rather it supports proper hydration so your body can most effectively eliminate waste products on it’s own," she explains. Either way, staying hydrating for the hours following a massage will help your body recover properly and reduce inflammation.
If you're looking for massage and workout, do the workout first. "You shouldn’t work out after a massage, especially something as intense as HIIT training, because you could inhibit the effectiveness of the soft tissue relaxation that occurs when muscles are massaged," she says.
"I suggest waiting 12-24 hours after a massage before working out, so your body can get the full benefits of the massage. Working out right after a massage is counterproductive," she explains.
Sleep Well That Night
Don't go out partying until 3 AM after getting a massage that day. "Sleep is essential for your health and wellbeing, and not sleeping enough can have serious consequences to your physical, mental and emotional health," she says.
"Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to many problems, including an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke," she says.
"It’s bad not to stretch because stretching keeps your muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and you need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without stretching, your muscles shorten and become tight," she says, which can defeat the purpose of loosening them up.
And, be sure to regularly stretch after working out. "Studies have shown that regular static stretching can help to decrease stiffness, reduce pain levels (especially in individuals with chronic neck or low-back pain), and may even reduce the frequency and severity of muscle cramps," she says.
Regular stretching can help to improve blood flow and circulation throughout your body. Plus, it's been shown to reduce mental tension and relieve anxiety. And who doesn’t want that?!