Dehydration and Massage

When a client is face down on my massage table, I do a skin rolling test to see just how dehydrated they are. When the muscle tissue is dehydrated, the skin will not “roll” as smoothly as it should. This gives me a baseline about what treatment should be applied next. A common sign of dehydration observed in my office is extreme muscle pain upon palpation of the muscle tissues when gentle touching of the involved muscles is applied. One of the most common signs of dehydration involves a loss of skin tone or loose, wrinkled skin. Without the proper amount of water running through your body, just imagine how thick your blood has become. Now imagine your muscle fibers sticking together like spaghetti that has been drained and cooled. Got the picture? So how can your muscles and body perform at their maximum potential when the muscle fibers are “sticky” and the blood is thickened? This causes the body’s toxins to become trapped in the muscle tissue and remain there giving you aches and pains, headaches, etc.

Thirst is not usually the first symptom or the only symptom of dehydration. Other symptoms of dehydration include: fatigue, headache, dry mouth, dizziness, weakness, rapid heartbeat, dry flushed skin, muscle cramps, and myofascial pain to name a few.

When the body is fully hydrated, then the blood is thinner, moving efficiently and cleaning out the muscle tissue and bringing in the much needed nutrients. Now the muscle fibers separate, are fuller from hydration and perform to their highest ability, therefore no symptoms of fatigue or aches and pains.

Drinking water after massage recommended. One reason is that water will help the kidneys and other organs process the various substances which move through the body on a regular basis and after a massage treatment, a lot of toxins have been released, so you need to flush them out. Drinking water before a massage makes it easier for the massage therapist to perform deep work by hydrating the muscles so that they are easier to manipulate.

Weight Gain After a Massage?!

It’s water weight. Massage works metabolic wastes out of the muscle cells and into the intercelluar spaces. Your body then draws water into the area to flush the wastes out through the lymphatic and circulatory system. If you don’t drink water to help flush the ‘toxins’ (I absolutely don’t favor that the industry uses that term), you will feel like you were hit with a flu by the next day–some people will even get a fever that makes them sweat heavily. The more often you get a massage, the less dramatic the effect will be. Also, some forms of yoga will have a similar effect, so you will likely notice the effect much less if you do yoga regularly.

Body awareness and a sense of well-being

I think one of the best benefits of massage is that it can enhance body awareness and leave us with a general sense of well-being. When we feel strained and hurried, we often ignore our bodies and lose body awareness. During times of stress it’s easy to succumb to bad eating habits, bad sleeping habits, and generally stop taking care of ourselves at a time we need it most. By taking time to stop, relax, and get back in touch with how our body feels, we can regain a sense of body awareness and a general sense of well-being. We can remember what it is like to feel good and that may inspire us to maintain the good feeling by eating well. Feeling in touch with and at ease in our body may encourage us to move more again.

No matter what shape your body is in

At this point I should mention something important: please don’t ever let your weight stop you from getting massage. Too often I’ve heard someone say that their discomfort with their body stopped them from getting massage. This is a very sad thing to hear. Please don’t deny yourself the enjoyment and the benefits of massage because you think your body is not good enough. You are fine just the way that you are. A good, professional massage therapist should welcome people of all shapes and sizes. We see all kinds of bodies and none of them are perfect, even the ones that appear to look perfect.

“I’ll tell you what people look like ;really they look like a star in the darkest winter sky just simply light”. Joy Mcleod
If you have doubts about finding a massage therapist with whom you can feel comfortable, ask for a referral from a trusted friend or health care professional. If you ever feel that you are treated disrespectfully because of your size or for any other reason, find another therapist who will treat you with respect. You deserve to feel good and when you feel good, everything else in life is a little bit easier.
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