After a massage session or during a massage break, therapists encourage you to drink glasses of water, whether you feel thirsty or not. Most times, they encourage you to do so before you get up from the massage chair or get down from the massage table.
Do we offer glasses of water as a formality to show how hospitable we are?
Not at all.
What happens if I don’t drink water after a massage? If you don’t drink water, you get dehydrated because of the increased body temperature, lactic acid, effects massage has on the body.
But there are other reasons for this.
Please keep reading to find them all.
Why Should You Drink Water Before and After a Massage?
Massage therapy has a lot of benefits. It improves blood circulation, improves lymphatic drainage, increases caloric demands, makes the muscles supple and pliant, and releases stress and anxiety. The list is endless.
With these many benefits, you should note that massage therapy causes dehydration if you don’t rehydrate before, during, and after a session.
So how does massage therapy cause dehydration?
Here are just a couple of ways massage therapy causes dehydration.
Massage therapy increases your metabolism. During the massage, muscles’ demand for oxygen increases. More blood is shunted to these muscles to provide oxygen clear out lactic acid and carbon dioxide.
If you are not properly hydrated before the session, you can quickly become thirsty. This is a sign that the body requires more water to increase circulation.
Release of lactic acid
When muscles work, they release lactic acid as a by-product. If this lactic acid isn’t cleared, it quickly builds up in the muscle and causes painful cramps. To clear out lactic acid, blood circulation increases to your muscles.
It’s the reason your heart rate goes up during an intense massage session. The more lactic acid your muscles produce, the more dehydrated you become. The more water you would need to increase your blood circulation.
Increased body temperature
It’s not unusual to sweat during a massage session.
This is because your muscles produce a lot of heat during the massage. Your body temperature also goes up. To cool off, the blood vessels in the skin open up so that blood can reach the skin surface to cool. This cooling process produces sweat as a byproduct.
So you can see that water is lost during this process. It is important to hydrate and rehydrate with enough water during massage sessions. This is important to replenish what was lost as sweat.
Even more important for intense massage sessions like deep tissue massage and hydrotherapy involving heat and steam.
Have you ever felt dizzy or lightheaded after a massage session? This sensation isn’t unusual, especially if you don’t drink enough water or get down from the massage table too quickly.
This sensation is caused by postural hypotension, a sudden drop in blood pressure when you get down from a massage table or a massage chair after being on it for a long time.
When you sit or lie down, the effect of gravity reduces. This causes blood to pool towards your trunk and head.
If you change to a standing position quickly, blood pools in your lower limbs. This effect causes a sharp drop in your blood pressure. Because blood flow to your brain is sharply reduced, you feel dizzy and may even faint.
You should drink enough water during the massage session to prevent this from happening.
It would help if you also rose slowly from the massage chair or got down slowly from the massage table.
As you can see, water is essential for efficient blood circulation.
Here are a few benefits of drinking enough water for a massage session:
- It reduces the risk of muscle cramps during the session.
- It reduces the risk of muscle fatigue, soreness and headaches after the session.
- It improves excretion of waste products like lactic acid released during the massage.
- It cools down your temperature.
- It increases blood flow to your kidneys.
- It improves excretion of waste and toxins through your urine.
- It keeps your skin firm and turgid.
- It makes the muscle supple and pliant.
- It reduces the risk of dizziness and fainting spells.
- It reduces muscle fatigue and helps you enjoy the entire duration of the session.
How Much Water Should I Drink Before a Massage?
The amount of water to drink depends on your hydration status before the session. If you are very dehydrated, you should drink about two glasses of water. If you are not, you should drink a glass.
We encourage our clients to drink more glasses during massage breaks and after sessions. Drink 4-8 glasses of water during and after the session, depending on the intensity of the massage.
In conclusion, you should drink as much water as you can before, during, and after massage sessions.
You will pass out any excess water as urine, suitable for flushing out bacteria from your bladder. If you are the type who doesn’t drink until very thirsty, you should set a target of at least six glasses of water.
A drinking target can help you keep track of how much fluids you should take. This can reduce your risk of experiencing unpleasant side effects after the session.
Now its time to hear from you:
How much water do you drink on a typical day?
How much water do you take on massage days?
We would love to read your comments below.