LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE AND HEART RATE
INCREASES FLEXIBILITY AND RANGE OF MOTION
PROMOTES SLEEP AND RELAXATION
Am I referring to a miracle drug? Nope. I’m talking about massage. The statements above are just some of the many therapeutic benefits of receiving massage. While massage does have many wonderful advantages, there are a lot of misconceptions floating around in the massage and bodywork world. Let’s expose some of these myths.
#5. NO MASSAGE AFTER AN INTENSE WORKOUT
In recent years, there has been research published that shows Swedish style massage is effective in decreasing inflammation caused by exercise-induced microtrauma of the muscle as well as increasing the production of mitochondria in muscles.
So what does this mean? Not only does massage help decrease the soreness that comes with inflammation but it also promotes muscle repair and growth, which is something that other treatments such as ice baths and anti-inflammatory medications block.
#4. MASSAGE CAN FLUSH TOXINS OUT OF THE BODY
This is probably the most popular myth as it is taught in massage schools and requoted by even health professionals. I will admit, I am even guilty of once saying this but let’s get to the root of this misconception.
The body processes excess metabolic waste, or by-products of normal metabolic functions, in a variety of ways i.e. sweat, urine, feces, or if you’re ill by vomiting.
The organs mainly responsible for these processes are your liver, kidneys, and skin. These organs when functioning normally, do a great job of getting rid of these “toxins” every day. While massage does assist in “flushing” indirectly via increasing blood supply to certain areas and improving circulation, it does not directly perform the process of toxin removal.
#3. DRINKING WATER AFTER MASSAGE WILL FLUSH TOXINS
This is also a myth. Just like the massage itself is not a direct way of flushing out toxins, neither is drinking water. I do, however, still promote drinking water after my massage.
Here’s why: In my experience, most people are walking around in a dehydrated state. Our blood plasma is 93% water, so when you are not properly hydrated your entire body suffers. Blood pressure increases, circulation of blood is decreased which eventually leads to decreases in healing rates. These are only a few of the side effects of being dehydrated. So, no, massage cannot dehydrate you nor can drinking water directly flush toxins, but staying hydrated does assist your detoxifying organs in performing their jobs.
#1 & 2. LACTIC ACID IS RESPONSIBLE FOR DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and MASSAGE CAN REMOVE LACTIC ACID
This is a horribly outdated statement.
First, lactic acid is not responsible for DOMS. Microtrauma of the muscle fibers and inflammation are.
In fact, most researchers have found that lactic acid does not exist in our blood because it is quickly broken down into lactate and a hydrogen ion.
Lactate is actually not a waste product! It is reserved in skeletal muscle for use as fuel. It can also be transported to the brain and cardiac muscle for fuel, or to the liver for glucose production.
So if lactic acid is not lingering in our muscles, there is no way massage can remove it from your muscles.
Regardless of the many myths that are circulating, massage applied by a well-informed therapist can be a powerful tool in helping you keep your body in working condition. I hope this article has been useful and informative.
Don’t forget to leave any questions or comments in the comment box below.
Until next time, Stay Well!