You probably went into a massage session for a feeling of serene tranquillity and to get into a state of thorough relaxation. If you are one of those people who turned to massage therapy to seek relief from muscle pain, tension, then you may feel annoyed if you wake up with muscles that feel a little sore the day after the massage.
If you haven’t had a massage for a long time it’s totally normal to feel a little soreness or tightness after your massage. It may come as a surprise for you. Feeling sore after a workout or doing a lot of chores is to be expected, but soreness after a massage! The reason why you experience this is DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.
You will begin to feel sore 6 to 8 hours after the massage and will reach a peak 2 to 3 days later. Don’t fear or think that your massage therapy has been ineffective: in this guide, we will look more into why you may be experiencing the soreness, why that’s completely okay, and what you can do about it.
Let’s get into it!
Why am I experiencing soreness after a massage?
Muscle soreness or tightness will last for hours, sometimes even days, depending on how your body reacts and how effectively the soreness is managed. There are some massages to challenge muscular restriction so that your movement is restored and becomes more fluid, easy, and relaxed.
The soreness is because the soft tissues of your body are manipulated and stretched to break down the knots and adhesions. Any tissue or muscle groups that are caught in a twist are released with just the right amount of pressure during a massage session. It is done so that the muscles can get back into a more untwisted and relaxed state.
Massages increase blood circulation to the tight spots in the body. What happens when muscle groups get tight or kinked is that they will become more rigid and it’s up to the muscles in the neighbouring areas to step up and help. Your therapist will stretch, loosen up, and break up these muscle groups (called knots) leading to micro-tears in the muscle as they do so.
What this means is more blood flow to the tight spots and also you are setting up the muscles for recovery, but you will also feel plenty of soreness or inflammation after this. For instance, if you are experiencing soreness in your back, it could be an indication that you are carrying some tension in that spot.
The longer you have been experiencing this, the more depth that needs to be applied to get the muscles working like normal again. The soft tissues can totally feel the effects of good hurt by feeling sore. Since we’re coaxing the tissues to achieve a new range of motion and reversing any imbalance in the muscles, you can feel some soreness, tightness or feel achy. You are making the muscles work again like before, so this is to be expected.
Each person’s body type is entirely different. There is no way you will feel any soreness whatsoever after a relaxing Swedish treatment that is gentle. People who get Deep Tissue, Sports, or Remedial massage may experience quite some discomfort post their session, especially if they are not regular recipients of massage treatments. Take advantage of the muscle memory that your body creates and have regular massage sessions.
Your massage therapist will look to give you relief from pain and stress by challenging your soft tissues and coaxing your muscles, rather than forcing them to release pain. A skilled therapist can utilize optimal speed, depth, and pressure so you get the best out of your massage therapy.
Remember, this is a good hurt; your body is looking to heal itself.
What to do about post-massage soreness?
After you get a massage, there are some things you can do to prevent soreness.
Be conscious of your water intake both before and after your massage session. When your muscles are hydrated, they become more flexible. It is believed that massage helps to flush out toxins. Stay hydrated with other healthy drinks like fresh fruit juice, refreshing vegetable juice, herbal tea or just coconut water.
After your message, do some gentle stretching. You must pay attention to the troubled spots to release muscle tension and improve flexibility. Avoid too much intense exercise, though! You don’t want to overwork those muscles.
Hot shower with Epsom salt
You can take a warm bath with Epsom salts for around 20 minutes to 40 minutes. Around ½ cup to 1 cup should do for adults. It is highly effective to help your body get rid of toxins and also to decrease the effects of muscle inflammation. Moreover, all that beneficial magnesium from Epsom salts will be absorbed through your skin. You could also try placing a heating pad or hot rice bag on the painful area which received treatment during the therapy. Do this for around 15 minutes.
Essential oils are just as effective for those post-massage aches. A few drops in your bath should do.
Did you know that some herbs can help with muscle relaxation and lower the symptoms of inflammation? You could consume herbs like turmeric, clove, black better, ginger, garlic and cinnamon in your tea or as a capsule.
Cold therapy is just as effective as hot therapy. You can use an ice pack on the painful area for around 15 minutes at a time. You can stretch this through the day. Alternatively, you can also take an ice bath to get rid of inflammation, enhance blood circulation, and ease soreness.
Get plenty of rest
Ensure that you take the time out of your schedule to get plenty of rest after your massage so you can recharge your body.
There is nothing like good massage therapy in the lands of an expert therapist from a reputed spa to make your body and mind feel relaxed and rejuvenated. Ideally, post-massage soreness should subside within a day. This is all a normal part of allowing your body to recover and enjoy the wellness that comes with massage therapy. The more regular you are, the less frequently you will experience pain post your massage sessions or maybe even never again! Speak up to your therapist during your message about any discomfort, request or concern you may feel, so you get the most out of your sessions.