You look after your body and your health, right? This means that you work out at the gym and take long walks… You’re all too familiar with the delights of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), then. After a hard workout you expect DOMS, you might even welcome it as a sign of progress; but after a massage?
Many people think of massage as a way to relax and to indulge their bodies and minds and while this is true of lighter treatments, a deep tissue massage is another ballgame.
Deep tissue massages are more functional
A nice, relaxing aromatherapy massage is great and can leave you feeling good for a day or two. A deep tissue massage means business, though. This sort of treatment targets underlying muscles and these can be stretched, compressed and manipulated to help them to function – independently and in synch with their neighbours.
This type of massage can cause the same micro-injuries that a good hard workout can and so the tightness, pain and swelling you feel the day after is exactly the same as you feel after a gruelling bout of exercise. So yes, it’s quite normal to feel DOMS after a deep tissue massage.
You shouldn’t be in actual, localised pain
Ideally, you should have that all-over, gratifying discomfort. However, if you find one muscle or group of muscles is more uncomfortable or even hurts, then you need to speak to your therapist. It’s possible that they’re going in a bit too hard or that you’re tensing up before the pressure is applied.
How to reduce DOMS
Frankly, if you don’t have some DOMS, your deep tissue massage wasn’t deep enough. It’s good to be able to reduce unnecessary discomfort, though so here’s some things you can do.
Make sure you’re well-hydrated
Drink plenty of water before and after your massage. Well-hydrated muscles are more flexible so you won’t experience excessive soreness. Some people also think that if you’re well-hydrated you can flush out toxins released by the massage; whether this is the case or not, drinking enough water is always a good idea no matter what you’re up to.
Do some pre-emptive stretching
Do some stretches before and after the treatment and make sure you pay more attention to any particularly tight spots.
Have a warm bath
It may not help to reduce muscle swelling and discomfort, but it’s a good way to relax and get a good night’s sleep, which is a great healer.
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