If by sore, you mean that the part of your body that received massage is tender to the touch and a little puffy, you are experiencing something totally normal. It is common to have some mild pain and even slight swelling after receiving deep corrective massage. This is called therapeutic inflammation. It happens when new white blood cells come to the area to clean out all the old, dead, nasty junk (waste products) in your tissues. Unfortunately, sometimes that can cause a little discomfort. But look on the bright side -- at least you can feel it! Sometimes when muscles are tight for a long period of time, your brain can actually shut off sensation to that area. Massage re-awakens your brain's awareness of those tissues. That causes tons of new working blood cells to come in and clean everything out that has been building up for so long. 

There is a 3-Day pattern after a massage, and it goes like this:

Day 1-- you get a massage. It feels great, everything feels loosened up, even if some times the massage was painful (in a good way). You feel a little tired or slightly loopy.

Day 2-- you wake up in the morning feeling like a truck ran you over in the night. You check under the bed, no truck... It must have been the massage. You may feel stiffness in the limbs that were worked, and tightness or fullness in the specific muscles that were massaged. You may even feel slightly sick if you have never received massage before, or if you smoke cigarettes or drink a lot of alcohol on a regular basis. You take a hot shower, ice the swollen areas, and drink lots and lots and lots of water. You may even take a smidge of Ibuprofen if it's just too much to bare (this is extreme).

Note: even though the surface of your body may feel sore and tender, you should not be bruised. Bruising is not required in deep tissue massage to get the muscles to release, and it is usually a sign that your massage therapist went too deeply, too quickly into your muscles and surrounding tissue. Next time, tell your therapist about the bruises, and make sure that they know that that is not okay. The exception to this is if you are susceptible to bruising easily. A lot of women in particular tend to bruise very easily, as well as people who are taking blood thinning medications or who have certain health issues. Please let your therapist know before the massage that you think you may bruise and she will be able to take that into consideration during your massage.

Day 3-- you feel fantastic! Everything that hurt yesterday feels much better. The swelling is gone, and with it, went the pain. You drank 16 gallons of water and you feel ready to run that marathon you haven't started training for yet. You have range of motion back in that previously tight body part, you can stretch it further, and it somehow even feels stronger. If it has been a long-term chronic issue, it may not feel 100 percent cured, but it should feel significantly better than before the massage.

As far as any other feelings of discomfort, you should feel free to contact your massage therapist if you have symptoms that you are worried about. If you received a full body massage, there are a lot of effects and benefits that you may experience, and your individual cocktail of pain versus bliss just depends on your daily lifestyle, overall health, and what you put into your body. If you have chosen a conscientious and well-informed massage professional, they should know how to answer your questions and help resolve your issue.

06/21/2013 13:08

Yes the loopy and sick feelings correct. But muscle aches persist. Also during massage sometimes it feels like a white hot pain. Not hurts in a good way, what is happening and why can't I recover??

02/16/2014 03:06

Hi, I am not sure if anybody has given you an answer but this is my untrained explanation.
sometimes your therapist did not go deep enough or you have a "Trigger Point" which needs to be released I have also found that if I have a good soak in the bath with some Epsom salts or sea salt it really helps to loosen things up.
I have also found that if you are not happy with your therapist then go looking for a new one and keep looking until you find one that you click with and one that will listen to you and your body
hope this helps

12/26/2013 22:47

This information has no scientific proof. It simply is not true. Please post sources.

Water does not flush "waste products". What waste products? See this and related posts: http://saveyourself.ca/articles/poisoned-by-massage.php

I hate when people spread false information.

02/02/2014 09:34

It is absolutely true that water flushes toxins from your body! Especially after a massage.

05/24/2014 21:56

True yes, but no more post massage, that's a myth

10/24/2014 12:25

it's not flushing more toxins because of massage, it's helping flush any toxins that were released from massage

05/18/2014 15:54

The link posted by Naan is about a canadian former massage therapist who now wants to sell e-books by attacking massage therapy and other bodywork.

05/24/2014 21:54

It is not uncommon at all 2 days after a deep tissue massage to still be sore. It is important to not generalize how you should feel. The toxin comment is true but untrue. True in that water does help rid the body of waste. However, hydration is important regardless and water does not rid the body of toxins more post massage than it would any other time. Challenge any RMT to explain that theory and they simple can't, it"s simply what they were taught. I recently had a very deep tissue massage and was very sore still 2 days later...odd, not at all, too much pressure...yes, and a discussion with the therapist is in order.....again do not generalize.

05/28/2014 05:36

I had a massage on Sunday - have been in constant pain since, and today I cannot move!! I'm really worried that the pain I not going to wear off and am taking strong painkillers! Is this normal/?

05/28/2014 05:37

06/12/2014 17:43

During the session, some clients give "order" to the massage therapist AS that want more and more pressure. and they forgot and complain the other day. Get a licensed massage therapist, a real one.

Lis Brill
07/30/2014 14:01

I have been going to the same women from Hand & Stone since my accident in 2011. I haven't been there since March 2014 and had a massage on Monday. Yesterday I nearly committed suicide from the pain. I'm so tired. Today I feel a little better but the lethargy remains. I have to go to court tomorrow for the accident and I'm worrying if this will continue.

08/01/2014 01:40

Great article

10/05/2014 00:59

Im in the sick stage now :-(

This was really helpful.


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