After a massage, an essential piece of aftercare advice you will undoubtably have heard time and time again is “make sure you drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol”. Most people immediately feel thirsty (and need a wee) after a massage so they instinctively know that drinking water is something they should be doing, but they don’t understand why.
How much water am I supposed to drink?
There is much confusing information on the internet when you search “how much water should I be drinking?”. In the UK, the NHS recommends that we should be drinking six to eight glasses (undefined measure) of fluid a day (inclusive of tea and coffee). In the US, authorities recommend eight 8oz glasses of water a day. Humans come in all different shapes and sizes and the ideal amount is going to be different for every body. Experiment with drinking a bit more than you do habitually and see how that feels. Be mindful when you drink water and listen to how much your body needs.
Eat your water!
Water is locked inside food (of the plant variety rather than fast food) and you can promote hydration in your body not just by drinking water but by eating foods full of water: Watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe melon, pineapple, raspberries, cucumber, iceberg lettuce, celery, green peppers, tomatoes and spinach all have particularly high water content.
TIP: Super simple sweet hydrating treat: stick watermelon, strawberries, ice and fresh mint in the blender for a yummy and hydrating drink…
What's the massage connection? Healthy muscle is hydrated. Unhealthy muscle is dehydrated. Dehydrated muscle feels tight and will have restricted movement. These areas are likely to be reason you go for a massage (particularly deep tissue massage) in the first place. Your therapist will be manipulating these areas, warming them up before using varying techniques designed to break up the adhesions that have formed and improve the blood flow. When this happens, the toxins or metabolic waste which were previously trapped are released and flow through the lymphatic system. Oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the muscle at a faster rate than before, using the water from your blood stream, giving you that feeling of dehydration. Like working out, you get through water faster and need to replenish it.
No wine tonight?
Caffeine and alcohol have a diuretic effect on the body, they make you produce an increased amount of urine and can therefore cause dehydration: the complete opposite of what your body craves post massage.