Friday, June 24, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Why should I drink water after a massage?

Water makes up approximately 60% of your body.  Its functions include moistening tissues, lubricating joints, regulating body temperature and dissolving nutrients absorbed by the body.  Water is lost daily through respiration, perspiration and elimination.  The human body needs water everyday to replace these losses, however the amount needed varies.   A common recommendation is at least eight - 8 oz. glasses a day.

Drinking water after a massage is often recommended by massage therapists.  We are taught in massage school that the intent of this practice is to help the body flush out the toxins that are released from the tissues during a massage.   Massage increases circulation of blood through the tissues and may thus increase the release of toxins.  Sounds logical, however more research is needed  to test this theory.  That being said, I still highly recommend drinking plenty of water both before and after a massage.   Drinking water before a massage ensures that your muscles are well hydrated which makes them easier for the therapist to manipulate.   Massage can be dehydrating.  Just as in exercise, when muscles are worked they lose water and electrolytes.  By rehydrating you decrease the chance of feeling sore the day after a massage.   I usually feel better if I keep hydrated after receiving a massage.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Little known Benefits of Massage

Everyone knows that massage feels good.  Most people are also aware that massage relaxes tight and tense muscles. However, regular therapeutic massage can boost your physical condition in a number of lesser known ways.

One of the most interesting potential benefits of massage is enhanced immunity.  According to a study that appeared in the October 2010 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center reported that a single massage produced measurable changes in the immune and endocrine system of healthy adults.  A single 45 minute Swedish massage resulted in an increase in lymphocytes, the cells that help the body’s immune system fight off infection.  Swedish massage also resulted in a significant decrease in arginine vasopressin, a hormone that contributes to aggressive behavior and a small decrease in cortisol, the stress hormone.

Studies have shown that massage helps with high blood pressure.  Massage helps stimulate the vagus nerve which functions to regulate a person's blood pressure.  Massage also reduces anxiety which can contribute to elevated blood pressure.

A few other lesser known benefits include enhanced circulation leading to better skin tone and healthier soft tissue, improved concentration, reduced fatigue and better quality of sleep.  Getting a massage can do you a world of good.  While it may feel like a luxurious treat, regular massage can be an excellent complement to a healthy lifestyle.