The purpose of a massage is to make you feel relaxed and to relieve tension built up in your muscles. Therefore, the recipient of a massage may be confused when he or she gets up feeling sorer than before. There are several reasons why one’s muscles hurt immediately after a massage, but luckily there are concrete steps you can take to mitigate and even prevent such unpleasantness.

Counterintuitively, the primary reason that a massage can lead to muscle soreness is that a massage increases blood circulation. This is a good thing! When your blood gets flowing, crucial nutrients are delivered to your body, and even more importantly toxins are flushed out. Sadly, the toxins don’t just disappear; they get brought up to the surface. Most of the soreness you feel is really epiphenomenal to the release of these toxins.

The other main cause of muscle soreness is unlikely to affect you if you stay in shape. If you’ve ever gone to the gym after not working out for a very long time, you know the pain that comes from reactivating dormant muscle groups. This can also happen during a massage, if your masseuse is targeting areas that you do not frequently use.

So how are you to combat this irksome side effect? The first thing you can do is stay hydrated. By drinking copious amounts of water before and after your massage, you can quickly finish the work of the masseuse and drain those pesky toxins from your system for good. You can also take measures generally understood to be good for treating sore muscles. For example, you are likely to benefit from instant relief by taking a warm bath. Guided meditation is another great way to unwind and keep your mind off your muscles.

In general, you should be sure to keep your muscles in good condition even on days you don’t have a massage on the calendar. Add light stretching to your daily routine, and try to stick to a steady sleep schedule. This will improve your overall level of well-being, protecting your muscles and other body parts in the process.

The most important thing to do if you find yourself experiencing soreness after a massage is to rest immediately. Overexerting yourself will just make the problem worse, so take some time to adjust your mental and physical state. As your body gets used to the results of the massage, you will begin to feel better. Do this each time you finish receiving a massage, and eventually you won’t experience muscle soreness at all.

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