If you have ever received physical therapy or massage therapy you will notice your therapist will often tell you to drink water and stay hydrated. There are several reasons why this is important to getting the most out of your therapy and keeping your body functioning correctly.
First off, soft tissue work and exercise are dehydrating. Working muscles get fluids pumping out of the soft tissue and into your circulatory system where it heads towards your kidneys. This is why many patients have to use the restroom after exercise or massage. You need to replenish all that lost water by drinking more. Also, by drinking water after therapy you re-hydrate those muscles, reducing the potential for pain and soreness in the days following.
Secondly, there is the issue of metabolic waste, which is produced by muscles in the course of everyday function. When muscles are tight or you have discomforting knots it constricts circulation to those areas, inhibiting the body’s ability to flush out this waste. Since you’re coming for therapy your body probably has tight and sore muscles so you already have compromised circulation happening. Soft tissue work or stretching relaxes the tension, releasing the circulatory pathways and allowing waste to dump into the system. Drinking water provides your kidneys with the fluid they need to effectively eliminate the newly liberated waste.
While drinking water is extremely important in staying hydrated and keeping your pathways clean, many patients like to drink water after therapy to bring them back to earth. A relaxing massage can often leave people feeling groggy or disoriented; having a glass of water while sitting down can help bring the body and mind back to the present and help refocus.
So whether you have a massage, physical therapy, or other treatment water is always a good idea for keeping your body functioning on its optimum level.
Nikole Nance LMT with Siskiyou Physical Therapy