As counter-intuitive as it seems, it is perfectly normal for your body to feel a little sore the day after a massage. For your muscles, getting a deep-tissue massage is similar to experiencing a tough workout. During a massage, the therapist works to stretch, lengthen, and break up groups of muscles (knots), possibly causing tiny micro tears in the muscle along the way. This is a normal function of massage, and while it leads to more blood flow and healing to that area, it can also lead to that day-after tenderness. Also, if you happen to be dehydrated on the day of your massage, your muscle tissue will not be as pliable, and you will feel more soreness afterwards.
Massage shouldn’t hurt, so communicate with the therapist on the level of pressure your desire throughout your session. It can take some serious concentration to relax all of your muscles, and not doing so can result in varied muscle pain after a massage. Or, perhaps you are unknowingly tightening a group of muscles during a massage, anticipating pain.
After your massage, try these to help prevent some of the next-day soreness:
- Drink plenty of water, both before and after your appointment.
- Do some gentle stretching.
- Take a warm bath with Epsom salts and soak for 20-40 minutes.
While having tender muscles is not exactly enjoyable, it is a natural, normal part of the journey of health and well-being that comes by receiving massages. As your body becomes accustomed to regular massages, you’ll less frequently experience the next-day soreness, making the experience that much more pleasurable.