Three commonly asked questions…
1) Why do massage therapist always instruct their clients to drink so much water?
2) Why is breathing so strongly emphasized in massage?
3) Why do therapists recommend and incorporate stretching?
Massage releases toxins into the muscles in the body, joints, and lymphatic system. If someone is not hydrated their body cannot filter these toxins effectively out of the body. Through the manipulation of the muscles that occurs during massage, the muscles are depletes of water. By preparing the muscles prior to a massage with water and re-hydrating them after a massage a person can reduce the potential for pain and soreness in the following days.
Some interesting things about water:
- Water makes up 70-75% of your total body weight.
- It helps your body maintain temperature.
- It helps your body metabolize body fat.
- It aids digestion.
- It lubricates and cushions the organs of the body.
- It helps transport nutrients.
- It flushes toxins.
- It boosts energy levels.
- It can help alleviate some headaches.
- It improves your skins tone and texture.
- If you are not getting enough water, your body will begin to pull fluids from other parts of your body, including your blood. This can cause; the closing of some smaller vessels, can make your blood thicker and more susceptible to clotting which may lead to hypertension, high cholesterol, and heart disease.
Some signs that you are not getting enough water:
- You get headaches.
- You have poor concentration or feel fatigued.
- You are often constipated.
- Your urine is dark.
- You have bad breath.
- Your skin does not feel elastic.
- Drink ½ of your body weight in ounces on a regular basis and increase this amount before and after receiving massage. So a 150-pound person should drink 75 ounces of water on a regular day.
- Add a lemon, essential oil, cucumber or mint to your water to make the taste a little more interesting.
- Always make sure to have water near you!
- Have a timer go off every hour to help remind you to drink your water.
Breath can be a powerful tool that can be used to energize and enhance alertness, relax and reduce tension, deal with emotions, release blocked energy, free creativity, and balance the nervous system.
Think about the last time you were extremely emotional, during this time was someone able to comfort you physically and how did that affect your breathing? Remember a parent or a teacher telling you to sit down and take a deep breath, and that you’ll feel better. Deep breathing is one of the best tools we have to calm and reduce stress. Experts agree that breath awareness and conscious breathing can be successfully applied in the prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery of numerous health conditions. Therefore conscious breathing during a massage session can promote ones’ ability to experience more dramatic results during their session. Focusing your breath to sore muscles may engage them, which can bring much needed movement into these areas allowing tension to dissipate.
During massage circulation is increased. With increased circulation the body needs more oxygen. If we are not getting the additional oxygen toxins may accumulate in the tissues.
Many of the benefits of stretching mirror the benefits of massage. When used in conjunction with each other results can be reached at a much quicker pace.
- Enhance athletic performance.
- Decrease the likelihood of injury.
- Minimize muscle soreness.
- Improve range of motion.
- Increase blood circulation.
- Help remove waste products.
- Reduce fatigue.
- Improve posture.
- Improve co-ordination.
- Improve relaxation and stress relief.