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The Aftermath of Massage

I finally got to go on my vacation.  And believe you me, it did my body and mind lots of good…in many ways.  Besides the fact that I was dislodged from my computer for a prolonged amount of time, relaxed, caught up on sleep and sipped tropical drinks poolside, I indulged myself with two massages.  When I say ‘indulged’, I really mean ‘medicated’.  I have been so tense for so long, that these massages were much more therapy than pampering.

I love deep tissue massage.  Call me a sucker for pain, but deep tissue massage really works out the kinks that result from stress and tension.  Although the first massage was meant for my whole body, my therapist focused on my upper back and neck for about 2/3rds of the time, intuitively honing in on all of the knots that have built up for the better part of a year.  When I left the session, I felt completely relaxed and as if I was floating on a cloud.

The next day, however, that euphoria transformed into a bit of pain.  The areas where the therapist focused on, were especially sore.  The soreness was so strong, I felt as though I did major weight lifting with my neck and back for three hours.  I booked the second massage for two days later to focus on my back, shoulders and neck.  This time, I felt completely relaxed, and managed to escape soreness afterwards.  So, why did I get the pain in the first place?  Here are a couple of theories:

  1. Intensity: Some massage types are like a workout.  These types include deep tissue and shiatsu.  They often involve extensive muscle manipulation which can translate into soreness because the body isn’t accustomed to this manipulation. Thai Massage is another form of massage that involves flexing and stretching the muscles.  If you are especially ‘tight’ or inflexible, this can lead to soreness as well.
  2. Detox: Many massages will release toxins out of the muscles.  This can result in soreness because the body is working to flush out those toxins.  It is important, for this reason, to drink a lot of water before and after a massage to help rid the body of these toxins more quickly.

If you prefer less intense massage and want to avoid soreness afterward, you might want to consider types like Swedish and Lomi Lomi.  To reduce the likelihood of pain after a massage, you can take a hot bath or steam shower, which keeps muscles relaxed and helps you to sweat out some of the toxins released during massage.

Have you ever had soreness after a massage?

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Posted in Brett's Blog, Mind-Body Tagged with: , , ,