Let’s talk about water consumption and why it is so important to us! As a massage therapist, I am continually advising clients to drink plenty of water following a massage. Water is used for a variety of functions in the body, including softening tissues, protecting internal organs, lubricating joints, increasing the absorption of nutrients into the body, transporting oxygen to the cells, assisting the kidneys in processing and flushing out metabolic wastes, and regulating our body temperature. Water makes up an astounding 60% of our body!
Water is not only important to consume following a massage, but also before a massage. More and more clients are seeking deep tissue treatments for chronic pain from muscle tightness and built up adhesions. Drinking enough water prior to this type of massage hydrates the muscles and makes manipulation easier for the therapist. In addition, dehydration can be a contributing factor to muscle cramps and myofascial pain. Asking a client about his/her daily water consumption can give further insight into one’s current problem and treatment needs.
There are various recommendations regarding the amount of water that one should drink to be properly hydrated. It used to be said that drinking 8 glasses of water a day was adequate for healthy hydration. Today, recommendations include drinking half your body weight in ounces. For example, a person weighing 150 pounds should consume 75 ounces in water. If you are playing sports or sweating more, then fluids should be increased. Dehydration can result in, not only thirst, but fatigue, headaches, dry mouth, dizziness, weakness, rapid heart rate, or flushing of the skin. Without proper hydration, our blood becomes thick and unable to effectively circulate throughout our body. Our muscle fibers become sticky, trapping metabolic wastes that cause aches and pains.
Water allows the body to flush out metabolic wastes that build up in our tissues, creating knots or adhesions in our muscles. When a particular muscle becomes dehydrated, it clings to another muscle to find an additional water source. Muscle dehydration causes pain and an inability for the muscle to perform. These knots constrict circulation in that area, making it difficult for the body to flush out lactic acid and metabolic wastes. Massage helps repair your compromised circulation by kneading and breaking down stuck muscle fibers, pumping fluid out of the soft tissue and into your circulatory system. This results in dehydration following your massage as fluids are passed through your kidneys. You must replenish all the lost water by drinking more!
Water is free and readily available, so why aren’t you drinking more of it? It is a valuable resource to our health, growth and development. By simply drinking more water, you will feel and see the difference in your health and overall wellness!