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Does Massage Flush Toxins? Here’s What Science Says

by | Mar 1, 2024 | Health Tips

You step out of the room, feeling relaxed and refreshed after your massage session. Your therapist is there to greet you in the hallway.

What’s the first thing they say to you? Chances are, it’s something like, “Be sure to drink lots of water today to flush out toxins!”

We’ve heard it a million times before, but what does science actually say about the topic? Does massage flush toxins from the body, or is this (well-meaning) advice nothing more than a myth?

Keep reading below as we explore this fascinating topic!

First Things First: What Are “Toxins?”

The first thing we need to ask is: Which “toxins” are we supposedly flushing out of our bodies?

Toxins include an endless variety of substances, from poisons, pesticides, and preservatives to nicotine and artificial sweeteners. If we want to get technical, even the caffeine in your morning cup of coffee is technically “toxic” to your body.

Then there are the natural toxins your body produces during metabolism, such as lactic acid. Some might even label naturally-occurring invaders like viruses and bacteria as “toxins” as well.

So then, which of these countless toxins does massage supposedly flush out?

How Do Our Bodies Remove Toxins?

Our bodies have an amazing metabolic system that naturally rids us of toxins.

This detox process happens through our liver, lungs, kidneys, and digestive tract. Anything your body doesn’t need (i.e., “toxins”) is naturally excreted through sweat, urine, and feces.

So here’s the million-dollar question: Does massage do anything to help, speed up, or enhance these natural processes?

Does Massage Flush Toxins?

In a word, no.

There is no scientific evidence that massage therapy makes your metabolic system perform any faster or more efficiently. In fact, research has found that the exact opposite is true!

One study found that there was no discernable difference in lactic acid levels inside the body after a massage session.

In an even more surprising twist, another study found that massage may actually impair the removal of lactic acid from the muscles. Why? Because it mechanically impedes blood flow.

As for the notion that massage somehow “squeezes out” toxins from your fat cells — although it sounds great — from a scientific standpoint, this is nothing more than a fanciful myth.

Theories abound about the “detoxifying” effects of massage, but the truth is that there’s no scientific evidence to back up these claims.

Your body does an amazing job of recycling, reprocessing, and ridding itself of waste products. This happens whether you get a massage every day (or if you never get a massage in your life).

So Do I Need to Drink Water After a Massage?

No, massage therapy may not flush toxins from your body, as we’ve been led to believe.

However, dozens of other benefits of massage do have plenty of scientific backing, such as reducing stress hormones, decreasing pain, and improving sleep quality.

As for the argument about drinking water, it certainly won’t hurt to have a glass or two after your massage.

Massage does stimulate the circulatory and lymphatic systems, which is why most of us need to pee immediately after a massage. Drinking water will help you avoid dehydration, but there’s no reason to drink lots of extra water — you don’t want to risk overhydration!

Final Thoughts on Massage & Toxins

As we’ve discussed, there’s no scientific evidence to support the claim that massage flushes toxins from your body.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that massage can’t offer lots of other amazing benefits for your physical and mental health!

Call us today at 970-748-1600 or use our online booking system to schedule your next session at Simply Massage in Avon, Colorado.