Can A Massage Leave You Feeling Dehydrated?

Can I Get You A Glass Of Water?

Is usually the first thing my therapist says to me after concluding a 1 hour session of deep tissue work. For the life of me, I’ve always wondered why!

  • Is it a gesture of common courtesy?
  • Is it to help “flush” out toxins post massage?
  • Or is it because massage leaves you dehydrated?

Let’s go through each and see if we can debunk some common massage myths!


Does Massage Leave You Dehydrated?

If I was to ask you this question, what would you say? Do you feel dehydrated after massage?

 Because I sure as hell do! 

But maybe i’m not. Maybe all i am is just thirsty. After all, 1 hour of no fluids lying flat on your back will make you a little thirsty! What does the science say?

According to this article published on Doctor OZ, massage does indeed leave you a bit dehydrated.

 There’s a complicated “sciency” way of explaining it, and then there’s the dummy’s version. 

I prefer the latter because it’s simple and anyone can understand!

Okay, so here’s how I understand it. What happens when you go in for a 1 hour deep tissue Swedish? Your therapist in essence works the kinks and knots in your tissues and muscles by applying certain techniques (kneading, squeezing, tapping, rolling etc.). And what happens to your muscles when he/she does this? It’s uncomfortable and hurts obviously, but what else?

Does Massage Leave You Feeling Dehydrated?

 The very act of manipulating tissue and muscle forces fluid out! 

And where does this fluid go you ask? Usually to the kidneys and out as urine. This explains why you may feel like urinating after a long massage session. Just like the rest of your body, your muscles and tissues contain fluid, and squeezing, kneading, and compressing them for 60 minutes forces some of this fluid out.

 But I am exaggerating a tad bit here! 

The truth is you don’t really lose a lot of water. The dehydration is quite minor, and some people may not even experience dehydration at all.


Is It A Gesture Of Common Courtesy?

I’ve yet to visit a massage establishment where I wasn’t offered some sort of beverage at the end. In North America (Canada & US), that beverage is a glass full of water.

In southeast Asia, Bangkok specifically, tea is more common. Water or tea, i’m fine with either.

 Is it common courtesy for a therapist to offer water/tea to their patient after a massage? 

I would certainly hope so! It’s a good way for the patient to relax for a couple minutes before discussing future appointments, and clearing the bill. Have you frequented an establishment that doesn’t offer you a complimentary glass of water after massage? Let me know in the comments!

Glass Of Water


Does Massage “Flush” Out Toxins?

Most experts in the industry claim that massage does indeed flush out toxins, but is this actually true? And if it is, is this the reason for water?

 I use to think it was true, until I read this article on PainScience! 

It’s an incredibly well articulated article that provides some very useful information, most of which is actually counter intuitive. According to the author (Paul Ingraham), massage does not flush out toxins, and contrary to popular belief massage is not detoxifying. He backs this up with well presented facts and arguments, not just his own bias/opinion.

 Am I totally convinced that massage doesn’t actually flush toxins? 

No, not quite. While Paul does make some extremely valid points, it still leaves me skeptical as to why a countless number of therapists and doctors would still claim that massage is in essence detoxifying. That being said, I can’t for the life of me decide if this is a myth or a fact!

My non scientific/medical take on it: Is massage detoxifying? Probably, but most people exaggerate this to mars and beyond. The actual “detoxifying” is probably minuscule, or very very little if any.

That’s my 2 cents for what it’s worth. Of course there is no science to back what I have to say, it’s just my opinion. Do you think massage flushes out toxins? Leave it in the comments!


Back To The Glass Of Water!

Why the glass of water at the end? I think it’s for 2 reasons:

  • To hydrate you and quench your thirst.
  • As a common courtesy after massage.

In the end who cares if massage is detoxifying or not. It feels awesome, and that alone should be your motivation to keep doing it. Start to look at the big picture, and you’ll realize how irrelevant all these scientific debates are.

Think Big Picture

Massage makes me feel good both physically and mentally. Isn’t this enough reason to continue doing it?

I hope that kinda puts things into perspective. That’s it from me. If you enjoyed reading and got some value, please consider sharing on the socials.

 If there’s a specific topic you want me to write about next, leave your suggestions below! 

Happy massaging peeps. I’ll see you all next week!

About Eve

Just an average bloke intrigued by massage and its incredible benefits. Oh, did I mention I also own a massage chair? More on that in the blog posts!

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