You’ve had one of those days. You fought with your boss, traffic was horrific, and you came home to find a messy house and a sink full of dirty dishes. Why do you even have a dishwasher, you wonder? As the tension and stress of everyday life takes its toll, you realize that you could really use a massage. The deeply relaxing, tiny-bit-painful kind.
A proper therapeutic massage can feel nearly euphoric, the massage therapist’s skillful manipulations creating a multitude of beneficial physical effects; biomechanical (tissue adhesion and range of motion), physiological (blood flow and stress hormones), and even cellular (upregulation of mitochondria production, collagen fibre reorientation). In short, massage is really good at making you feel really good. Massage can also help to flush toxins out of the cells faster, by accelerating cellular metabolism in conjunction with vasodilation (dilation of blood vessels).
If you’re an athlete or workout regularly, you likely experience lactic acid fermentation and its associated post-workout pain and stiffness on a regular basis. Massage can help here too. Unfortunately, in some cases, the amount of soreness post-massage – though temporary – can rival the muscle pain that might have suggested the need for a massage in the first place.
Luckily, there are several ways to minimize or more quickly alleviate the normal soreness of an intense therapeutic massage.
The first method is also the simplest; drink lots of water. Adequate hydration ensures a more efficient movement of nutrients throughout the body, as well as improving cellular metabolism. The better the cellular metabolism, the easier it is for affected muscle cells to remove excess lactic acid or other toxins that may have been released through the mechanical action of the therapeutic massage.
The second method to a faster post-massage soreness recovery is by bathing in Epsom salts. Epsom salts or “bath salts” as they’re sometimes called, are compounds of magnesium sulphate, which act as an anti-inflammatory, and help to flush out excess lactic acid from affected muscles;
The mineral helps relax skeletal muscles by flushing lactic acid buildup in the muscles, which may occur during physical exertion, such as a vigorous workout. Magnesium also plays an important role in the absorption of vitamins in the body. It also helps regulate muscle and nerve function. All of these effects significantly influence muscle soreness, which also affects muscle stiffness. (http://www.livestrong.com/article/374005-what-does-epsom-salt-do-for-soreness/)
A good therapeutic massage can make a huge improvement in the amount of pain and stiffness you experience, but sometimes the normal post-massage soreness is nearly as bad as the pain that brought you into your RMT. By drinking lots of water and bathing in Epsom salts you can greatly mitigate this temporary discomfort while still reaping the benefits of therapeutic massage.