I get this question a lot in my practice.
Many of my patients get massages, chiropractic care, PT, or other bodywork and their practitioners tell them to drink a lot of water afterward.
Most of the time people forget, and the #1 reason is because they don’t know WHY they’re supposed to do it!
I’m happy to clear that up!
When you have chronic pain in an area, there’s also chronic tension.
Muscles, and more importantly, connective tissue is pulled tight.
We have connective tissue called fascia that’s like cling wrap around all of our muscles, even down to our individual muscle fibers.
We have so much we’re totally connected from head to toe by it.
Fascia is thought to be the basis of the meridians in Chinese medicine and it’s the reason why bodywork on your foot can improve your neck pain.
There are layers upon layers of fascia beneath your skin.
You know those “crunchy” areas you can rub your fingers across near your elbows? Or on the back of your neck or shoulders?
Those are big knots of fascia.
Usually fascial layers glide over one another creating smooth, easy movement.
When the layers of fascia are stressed or injured, they start to stick together, causing these hot spots of tension.
As a result, they get less circulation.
More waste products from normal cellular function build up. These can contribute to pain and inflammation.
Good circulation is crucial to healthy muscle and connective tissue function and can play a significant role in reducing pain and aiding healing.
So when we get a massage, acupuncture, or other bodywork that starts to break up the adhesions between the layers of fascia and improve circulation, our vessels get flooded with the built-up waste products that are now free to move out of the tissue.
We can feel achy, sore, fatigued, disconnected, more emotional, and thirsty after bodywork.
Water helps to hydrate the tissues that were previously stuck together. With more blood volume, we get more circulation to the area, meaning more nutrients to help repair the area and more waste products moved out.
Water will speed the waste products’ movement toward our kidneys so they can be excreted rather than hanging around in our circulation and finding their way to other tissues to irritate.
How much water do you need?
At least 16oz in an hour or two after your bodywork. Potentially more if you tend to have a hard time remembering to drink water anyway (read: you’re chronically dehydrated).
Try it out and see how you feel! You should experience less pain, irritation, and fatigue after your next appointment.
Bonus: you’ll also improve muscle function and make it easier for your fascia to remain pliable, flexible and unstuck.