Have you ever been told that you should drink water after a massage to help flush out the toxins that were released during the treatment? It kind of makes sense on the surface, but is it true?
It is, in fact, NOT true.
So what is considered a toxin? Caffeine? Nicotine? Aspartame? Preservatives in our food? Chemical fumes? Medications? Chemo therapy chemicals? Is lactic acid considered a toxin, even though it occurs naturally in the body?
A toxin is a poison of plant or animal origin that induces an immune response. Drinking a cup of Splenda sweetened coffee and smoking a cigarette and then expecting an hour on a massage table to rid the body of these toxins, is an unrealistic expectation. Generally, massage is recommended treatment for muscle tightness, pain, stress, mobility issues, injuries or for relaxation. Massage is not a prescription for ridding the body of toxins.
The human body naturally rids itself of “toxins” through its metabolic systems, excreting them through the liver, kidneys and digestive system via sweat, urine, feces and even vomit (when you’re sick). A massage does not make these systems perform any differently or more efficiently than normal and there is no scientific evidence proving that a massage affects toxin release in the body.
There are, however, other reasons to drink water after a massage. Kneading and working your muscles gets your fluids pumping out of your muscles and into your circulatory system. From there it heads to your kidneys, which is why many people need to urinate right after a massage. Due to this dehydrating process, you need to replenish the lost water by drinking more.
Although massage benefits the body in many ways (pain relief, stress reduction, improves circulation, releases muscular tension, improves joint mobility), there is no evidence that we know of suggesting that it removes toxins from the body. Drinking more water is something many of us need to do, but the idea that it will flush out post-massage toxins is a myth.