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Massages Release Toxins?

Many massage therapists tell their clients to drink plenty of water to help flush the toxins released during the massage.

Normally whenever I watch anything “spa-related” where they claim that X treatment will detoxify you I just assume that it is BS. But the sheer number of therapists claiming this has finally gotten the better of my curiosity.

So, can massages and herbal masks detoxify you? If so, how?

Thanks

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Maybe if clients relax enough they’ll unclench their butt cheeks and eventually detoxification will ensue?

I’m a massage therapist.

The most popular theory is that manipulating the muscles in such a way causes a release of some toxins (much the same way of squeezing a sponge). As far as I’m aware, this has not been proven, but offers a rational explination for why clients will often experience unpleasant feelings if they do not increase water intake after a massage.

I wouldn’t suggest massage as a “detox”, although I dont see that it would be harmful as part of a more comprehensive detox program.

Is the release from a happy ending considered toxic?

The skin naturally sheds millions of cells all the time, so naturally your always detoxifying your body. A massage just increases the rate. It doesn’t do it at light speed so that in one hour your body has no toxin in it, but higher than if you were just watching TV. The how is alot more complicated, variable, and less understood. Theres also many different types of massages.

When thinking about the hows a few of the many things you have to take into consideration are.

Rubbing an area will increase blood flow
Rubbing an area will effect nerve endings
Different herbs effect your body different ways.
Some close pores, some open them.
Some just have a nice smell that relaxes you
Some just stay cool to control inflammation.
Some effect your heart rate
Some effect your blood pressure.
Toxins don’t always have to come out through the skin
Some go through the bloodstream.

Last but not least there are no studies (at least that I know of) that accurately determine toxins in the body and their effects.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Is the release from a happy ending considered toxic?[/quote]

You may want to consider wearing a Haz-Mat suit.

I think it relates, at least in part, to the fact people assumed muscle soreness was caused by lactic acid back in the day.

Now DOMS, which is the true cause of muscle soreness in the days following a workout, do tend to get better with massage, but its because DOMS cause micro-edoema in the damaged muscle fibers and a change in blood flow will help flush it, bring new nutrients and dimish swelling.

Massage is one way to achieve this, but contrast shower, sauna etc can do so as well, but I have no idea which is most effective. Probably the one that you can afford.

I’d still like to know what these “toxins” are. Would storage in muscle be safer than having them float around in our blood and induce renal stress?

OT-Literally all of the data I have read show that massage, regardless of type, does not increase muscle blood flow. I found it hard to believe at first, but the volume of evidence is overwhelming. (I really don’t think that this diminishes the benefits of massage BTW).

[quote]David Barr wrote:
I’d still like to know what these “toxins” are. Would storage in muscle be safer than having them float around in our blood and induce renal stress?[/quote]

I’d like to know too. My personal belief is its part physiological misinterpretation, part DOMS, and part patient feeling.

[quote]David Barr wrote:

OT-Literally all of the data I have read show that massage, regardless of type, does not increase muscle blood flow. I found it hard to believe at first, but the volume of evidence is overwhelming. (I really don’t think that this diminishes the benefits of massage BTW). [/quote]

Which is why I actually said “a change in blood flow”. But the data on this topic seems conflicting though.

Do you read French Dave? I have a bunch of pretty cool study on this, but their all in French. Believe it or not, manual therapy is one area where France is way ahead of North America, and they investigated this.

The vasodilatation in arteries isn’t very present, and harder to evaluate. This is for the same reason massage is less effective on arteries: major blood vessels are too deep in the limbs and body for that.

Its another story for veins though. Massage has been proven to help veinous return, which would account for the “draining” effect. Exactly what is drained has yet to be identified.

I have heard lactic acid is released so you have to drink water to flush it out. I don’t think this is true, but I could be wrong.

As it was explained to me in massage school, massage stimulates the lymphatic system, which is the body’s own way to detox. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that the lymph flows thru, but unlike our veins and arteries, it doesn’t have a heart to pump the liquid, it is the contraction of our muscles that moves the lymph along.

Massage increases the lymph flow, so drinking extra water helps with the extra stimulation the lymphatic system receives during a massage.

There is a type of massage called manual lymphatic drainage which can be helpful for people with edema. I had it done once and peed tons and tons after.

This stimulation of the lymphatic system is the reason that massage therapy can often be contraindicated for clients with cancer.

About massage therapy:

http://quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/massage.html

I have no idea. One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that after a 2 hour full-body ART massage, I crave fresh vegetables. It’s as strong of an urge as an urge for junk food. I eat my vegetables, but rarely crave them - and I never crave them as strongly than after an ART session.

Is this because “toxins” have been released and that my body needs the antioxidants? I have no idea. It could be any number of things. But there is no doubt I need veggies after a lengthy ART session. (After a shorter session, I do not crave veggies.)

Excellent post Zen. You got the research geek in me all excited. Now I get to try reading French studies!

If arterial flow isn’t elevated then what’s feeding the venous return?!

(I get WAY too excited about this stuff.)

[quote]Zen warrior wrote:

Which is why I actually said “a change in blood flow”. But the data on this topic seems conflicting though.

Do you read French Dave? I have a bunch of pretty cool study on this, but their all in French. Believe it or not, manual therapy is one area where France is way ahead of North America, and they investigated this.

The vasodilatation in arteries isn’t very present, and harder to evaluate. This is for the same reason massage is less effective on arteries: major blood vessels are too deep in the limbs and body for that.

Its another story for veins though. Massage has been proven to help veinous return, which would account for the “draining” effect. Exactly what is drained has yet to be identified.
[/quote]

[quote]Jillybop wrote:
As it was explained to me in massage school, massage stimulates the lymphatic system, which is the body’s own way to detox. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that the lymph flows thru, but unlike our veins and arteries, it doesn’t have a heart to pump the liquid, it is the contraction of our muscles that moves the lymph along.[/quote]

Great info JB! Thanks!