Is It Normal to Experience Some Soreness After a Massage Treatment?

Is It Normal to Experience Some Soreness After a Massage Treatment?

You probably feel right on top of the world after your massage – relaxed, calm, and with your muscles feeling better than they ever have. So, much to your surprise and dismay, the next morning you wake up feeling like you’ve been beaten up. Not only are your muscles sore and your body stiff, but you actually feel like you’re coming down with the flu. Don’t panic; this is an almost universal side effect of getting a therapeutic massage.

Oh, My Aching Body

Some people have likened the day after a massage as resembling a hangover, but there are actually reasons why your body feels a bit worse for wear after a massage treatment. Like exercise, massage can cause tiny muscular tears – this is not bad at all, this is how muscles become stronger – but this does cause soreness.

  • A deep tissue massage is actually comparable to a heavy workout at the gym or fitness center. Your muscles will have been exposed to exactly the kind of strain that they would have after an hour or two of exercise.
  • If you are even mildly dehydrated during your massage, it will increase the chance of experiencing next day pain. Dehydration makes your muscles less pliable and more prone to injury.
  • Muscles that have not had much use will be those which will be more painful after a massage. Part of the problem is that the brain has started to ignore these muscles that don’t get much use, so once they are being worked on it takes the brain a bit of time to catch up with the increased activity.
  • Smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages will increase the chances of feeling sore and wrung-out the day after a body massage.

Now, although soreness, and even some minor swelling, is to be expected after a thorough massage, bruising is not normal. If you find that you have bruises after a massage, it means that your therapist used a bit too much force when giving you a treatment. Speak with him or her before your next massage so that they understand the problem.

Dealing with Post-Massage Soreness

As with any minor discomfort, it’s relatively easy to relieve most of the uncomfortable effects of a therapeutic massage. The first thing to do is rest; don’t engage in any strenuous activities and if possible just lounge around your home. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever can help take the edge off your discomfort.

In addition to rest, make certain that you drink plenty of fluids. Water, sport energy drinks, and fruit juices are probably best. Tea and coffee, especially, are actually diuretics and will cause you to urinate more.

A nice, hot bath can definitely help to soothe sore muscles and help you relax. You can even add a bit of aromatic oil to the bath, such as lavender oil, will also assist in relaxation. You can use a heating pad on especially sore areas, and any spots that show swelling will benefit from an ice pack (the ice should be wrapped in a towel and applied for no longer than 20 minutes at a time, and no more than 3 times a day).

Don’t give up on massage therapy simply because you are uncomfortable the next day. Your mind and body will become more in attunement with one another after more treatments, and the amount of discomfort you feel will diminish. The benefits of massage treatment far outweigh any transitory day-after soreness.


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