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How to Relieve Sore Muscles After a Massage

It’s normal to feel sore after a massage. This is why I normally tell people to not lift anything heavy after a massage, go home a rest, not to do a work out right away. After stimulating/stretching/working/massaging muscles that you may not normally use, you might experience delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This is a physical response to the inflammation as your body heals. Just like how you "get ripped" while working out, massage also causes micro tears in muscles that the body needs to heal. DOMS normally starts a day or two after a workout or massage. You won’t feel DOMS during the event (work out or massage)


Pain felt during or immediately after a workout or massage is a different kind of muscle soreness. It’s called acute muscle soreness. Acute muscle soreness is that burning sensation you feel in a muscle during a workout due to a quick buildup of the buildup of metabolites during intense exercise. It usually disappears as soon as or shortly after you stop exercising.

DOMS can happen if your muscles aren’t accustomed to massage. One big reason I promote regular body work is so this won't happen. Even if you used to get massage regularly but take a break DOMS can happen. Often I hear this happening in shoulders, especially for those of you that wear your shoulders as earrings. When you are so used to holding your muscles one way and we massage and stretch to put them back in their place you may experience inflammation in this area. Your body will create muscle memory if you have frequent massage.

Usually, any post-massage soreness will subside within a day or so. In the meantime, there are several ways to relieve soreness.

1. Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water before and after your massage.

Avoid alcoholic, sugary, and caffeinated drinks. Along with water, opt for healthy options such as coconut water, fresh fruit or vegetable juice, or herbal teas.

2. Stretch it out

Following your massage, do a few gentle stretches on your own or take a gentle walk. This is especially important for increased circulation. Going home and laying still will increase the chances for DOMS

3. Heat therapy

Warm your body up to promote relaxation. Take a hot shower or go to the sauna or take a bath. You can also use a heating pad or hot rice bag on any painful areas for up to 15 minutes at a time. I like to tell people to wait a few hours after a massage to do this.

4. Topical treatment

Applying CBD lotion or magnesium oil is a great way to decrease inflammation in the muscles. Different essential oil blends will also help with muscle soreness.

5. Rest

Take time to rest and recharge. If you can, build in time to rest after your massage. Elevate your feet and legs with pillows and take some time to listen to your favorite music, read a book, or sleep. I also really like legs up the wall yoga pose.

6. Cold therapy

Use an ice pack on any painful areas for 15 minutes at a time a few times per day. Or, take an ice bath to relieve inflammation, alleviate soreness, and boost blood flow. To target a small area of the body, you can use a small container of ice.

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