Why do I feel hungover and groggy the day after a massage?

Massage therepy

Getting a good massage is a well-deserved treat by everyone. After a long busy week, it’s refreshing to visit a spa and spend one full hour being massaged by professional hands. 

Life can be stressful and dealing with everything from work responsibilities to helping elderly parents out can really take a toll on your overall wellness. Taking time out for you can help recharge your energy and get you ready to face the challenges ahead.

However, have you ever had your massage and then a day after it felt like you had a few drinks instead of a massage? Well, it’s pretty common but could be very well avoided. 

Why do you feel unwell after a massage?

When we burn something, we produce waste. That includes calories. When we burn glucose, a substance called lactic acid is left behind that can cause pain or muscle spasms. If you ever experience your muscle burning or feeling weak after an extreme workout, it is lactic acid burning into the tissue. 

Massage encourages blood flow and soften muscle tissues to break up lactic acid that tends to crystallise and form in the area. During a massage session, lactic acid will be floating in a patient’s bloodstream that can resettle in different areas of the body as much as affecting the brain and the kidneys. As a result, it can give a patient the feeling of being hungover or flu-like symptoms. Some may also complain that they had been bruised by their massage therapist, though they don’t actually have bruise marks usually. 

Can this be prevented?

Yes. You can avoid this feeling by simply drinking lots of water, at least 1-2 bottles after every massage and lots more water after an hour. This will wash away lactic acid and prevent it from resettling on other areas of your body. If you’re not fond of water (but you should be!), you can opt to add a squeeze of lemon. Aside from the fact that adding lemon alkalies the blood, it can also assist in preventing lactic acid build up. 

Another way to prevent this unlikely feeling is to walk in a flat area while letting your arms and legs swing in a relaxed manner. All the while breathing deeply to get things to flow and let the massage settle. A gentle stretching before going to bed after the massage session may also help.

Professional massage therapist will always suggest that you drink lots of water before and after the massage, as well as give you appropriate advice on what to expect during and after the massage. If your therapist, failed to tell you all these things, consider moving on to another one. Massage should feel great and leave you relaxed and worry-free. If adding water to your routine doesn’t help, change things up and feel your best.