There are many health benefits to getting a massage. It provides an immediate mood boost and a greater sense of well-being due to the release of oxytocin, our body’s natural love drug. Massage therapy also improves sleep, helps relieve chronic pain, decreases stress hormones, and induces a relaxation response from the nervous system.
But as great as a massage is for health and well-being, there are downsides to having your muscles and tissues stroked, rubbed, or kneaded. These include discomfort, pain, soreness, and even muscle aches.
Let’s take a closer look at why, and what you can do about it.
Why do I feel sore after a massage?
Massage therapy can help those who suffer from mental health issues. A study found that a regular massage lowered the stress hormone cortisol in patients suffering from anxiety by 53
It may be hard to believe but feeling sore after a massage is part of your body’s healing process and is fairly common. Your muscles get a workout during a massage similar to any physical exertion such as exercise. And of course, the massage includes areas in your body that do not often get a workout and do not benefit from muscle memory from regular massage.
The effect of a massage is that blood rushes to your muscles to bring nutrients and get rid of toxins. This causes inflammation as your body heals from the stroking, rubbing, and kneading resulting in soreness. That’s especially if there is a lot of tension and tightness after a long period of stress or physical inactivity.
The soreness after a massage may also be caused by the type of massage that you got. For example, a deep tissue massage is a type of massage that works on the deeper layers of muscles and tissues, therefore necessitating more forceful pressure or strokes.
What do I do about the soreness?
Even if feeling sore after a massage is considered normal, there are things that you can do to manage and relieve the aches and pains after a session.
1) Choose the type of massage that you will get.
Different types of massage offer different benefits and techniques. If your main motivation is for stress relief and relaxation, go for either a Swedish, hot stone, or an aromatherapy massage. The techniques used in these types of massages will help you relax with gentle strokes or pressure, heat, or essential oils.
Keep in mind, however, that massage therapists differ in the strokes and pressure that they apply to your body. So before the session starts, let your therapist know what pressure you can tolerate.
2) Find a good therapist.
Sometimes, the key to a good and satisfying massage is the therapist. Some therapists may have heavy hands, so no matter what you tell them, they still apply too much pressure.
At the same time, you might not feel that you got massaged if the therapist you got has hands that are too light.
You may have to try several massage spas in Santa Monica, CA before finally finding a good therapist. Once you do, find out their available schedules and stick with them! That way, you will always be happy during and after your massage session.
3) Get some rest.
Allow your body time to rest after a massage. Remember that physical inflammation is one of your body’s responses to the stroking, rubbing, and kneading of muscles and tissues. Giving your body time to rest after a massage allows for your muscles and tissues to slowly recover.
If you are getting your massage earlier in the day, make sure that you do not do any strenuous physical activity for the day. Make sure to schedule your massage on a day that allows you time to rest and take things easy. Better yet, schedule your massage towards the end of the day to keep it closer to sleep time.
4) Keep hydrated.
On any regular day, drinking eight glasses or more of water is recommended for good health. Keeping hydrated before and after a massage is equally important. When you’re dehydrated, you’ll get more overall body aches and pains.
Add that to the fact that your soreness can get worse, your rate of healing is slower, and you’ll have a higher chance of getting injured.
In short, drink water. It’s one of the easiest ways to reduce pain.
5) Do stretches.
You can further help your body relax and release tension by doing stretches before and after a massage. Stretching helps to relax the muscles and improve their flexibility. Think of pre-massage stretching as a way of prepping your body for a good massage session and avoiding soreness or pain.
If a pre-massage stretch is beneficial, so is stretching after a session. This helps keep your muscles flexible, therefore prolonging the benefits that you get from your massage.
6) Use essential oils.
If you feel sore after a massage, using all-natural or organic essential oil may help relieve muscle inflammation. Essential oils have anti-inflammatory properties that may help you feel less post-massage soreness or discomfort.
You can also use essential oils during a massage to stimulate feelings of relaxation. This can be done through topical application by mixing pure essential oils with organic carrier oils such as almond, grape seed, or jojoba oil.
You can also diffuse essential oil during your massage session to give you that instant feeling of wellness and relief. Some spas offer aromatherapy massage in Los Angeles using pure-grade essential oils.
7) Go for cold therapy.
When certain areas of your body feel sore after a massage, you can apply a cold compress to soothe any pain or discomfort brought about by inflammation. A cold shower is also a good option to improve blood circulation and alleviate soreness. Of course, do take a few hours after a massage to know if you are feeling sore before you actually take that cold shower.
8) Get massages more regularly
If it is your first time getting a massage or haven’t had one for a long time, expect to feel a little sore after you get one. The remedy to this is to schedule regular massage sessions at your favorite spa or with your favorite therapist. This way, your body will get accustomed to the strokes, rubbing, kneading, or pressure applied during a massage and will be able to tolerate any discomfort.
Ultimately, the benefits of massage outweigh the soreness.
A good massage should leave you feeling satisfied and relaxed. Feeling a little sore here and there should not detract from its overall benefits. And if you do get regular massages, then you can definitely kiss discomfort and soreness bye-bye!
If you live in the Santa Monica, Los Angeles area and are Googling “massage in Los Angeles near me”, look no further than us at MendMe! We are a massage studio that offers a wide variety of essential, enhanced, and special mending massages that suit your needs.
And if you want more than just a massage, we have several packages of carefully curated mending services to give you everything you need to melt stress away and bring you to a whole new state of relaxation.
Book an appointment now at MendMe massage studio. We guarantee you a mending experience like no other!
We look forward to seeing you in our studio!