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What to Do (and Not to Do) After a Massage

The therapeutic merits of massage are widely documented. But did you know that a post-massage routine is essential to maximize the benefits? There are steps you need to take to recover from your massage, prolong the benefits, and avoid any potential negative side effects. Let's dive into a routine that will optimize the effects after a massage.

Essential Activities After a Massage

Many of the benefits of massage come after the massage experience has concluded. These benefits can help with a host of physical and psychological ailments, including:

  • Pain relief.
  • Reduced stress and anxiety.
  • Improved circulation.
  • Boosted immune system.
  • Improved range of motion.
  • Improved sleep.
  • Better posture.
  • Improved athletic performance.

So, what can you do after a massage to reap the most from the above benefits?


Massage can indirectly affect hydration by promoting lymphatic flow and drainage, which helps to remove waste and toxins from the body. The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that play a critical role in maintaining the body's fluid balance and supporting the immune system.

Overall, the lymphatic system serves to protect and maintain the health of the body by filtering and removing waste, supporting the immune system, and regulating fluid balance. By stimulating the lymphatic system, massage can help to reduce swelling

During a massage session, the muscles are worked and toxins are released. If the body does not receive sufficient hydration through water intake, the increased fluid movement from activating the lymphatic system can lead to dehydration, as the body needs water to flush out waste and maintain fluid balance. Therefore, it's important to drink enough water after activating the lymphatic system to help flush out toxins and replenish electrolytes.

Eat Up

After your massage, be sure to have a snack handy. Massage boosts the circulation system, which can also increase other body functions, including digestion. Have you ever felt lightheaded after a massage? That could be because your body needs an energy infusion. It could also be due to dehydration, feeling slightly drowsy, or having low blood pressure. Remember that blood pressure decreases as the body relaxes during a massage. A snack to provide an energy boost is definitely something to incorporate into your massage aftercare routine.

Relax and Have a Bath

After a massage, nothing is better than a warm, relaxing bath after 30 minutes. Adding some Epsom salts can help ease any aches and pains; the magnesium in the salt absorbs through the skin while the heat opens up your blood vessels, improving circulation. You can find them at most supermarkets or pharmacies - or just take a warm bath without them.

If you don't have a bathtub, even a warm shower can work wonders. Just be aware that too hot of a bath increases inflammation, which is not ideal after a massage. 

For inflammation relief (including swelling), use an ice pack instead. Wrap it in cloth and apply it to the area for ten minutes, then take it off for 10 minutes - this helps reduce inflammation pain by numbing the area. You can repeat this process; just remember to give your body those breaks in between. The cold will constrict blood vessels and reduce swelling by reducing blood flow to that area. Leaving the cold on too long will actually cause your body to increase blood flow - counteracting what we're trying to do - so be sure to follow the 10-minute on/off pattern.

Take it Easy

Beyond taking a bath, other forms of relaxation are vital after a massage. Your muscles have been manipulated and worked on during the massage, and it is important to give them time to rest and recover. Unwind with a book or a session in front of your favorite TV programs.

Let Your Emotions Flow

During and after a massage, you may experience different kinds of emotions. Feeling refreshed and energized is natural, but it's also common to feel the need to cry. Don't worry, this is normal. Massage helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system which lowers the levels of stress hormones (like adrenaline and cortisol) and increases serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin - the 'hugging' or 'love' hormone. The lowered stress barriers might make you want to release emotions that have been bottled up. Don't fight it. Instead, let yourself release those feelings.

Stretch Lightly

After a massage, gentle stretching helps to increase blood circulation and improve the absorption of nutrients needed for tissue healing. It can also help to prevent stiffness, tension, and soreness by restoring your muscles and increasing flexibility. Additionally, it stimulates the release of endorphins, which further reduce muscle tension and support relaxation. Studies have shown that stretching increases the range of motion and mobility while reducing injury risk.

Wear Loose Clothing

Finally, it is also important to avoid tight clothing after a massage. Tight clothing can restrict blood flow and disrupt the natural healing process. Instead, wear loose, comfortable clothing to allow your body to breathe and move freely.

What to Avoid Post-Massage

Alcohol and Caffeine

If you're tempted to enjoy a glass of wine or your favorite spirit after your massage, opt for water instead. Alcohol can interfere with the body's normal processes for retaining hydration and balance. Choosing water over wine will help replenish fluids and electrolytes that you lost during the massage and help your body flush out toxins released during the session.

Additionally, avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and energy drinks. They can cause dehydration because they act as diuretics, meaning they increase the amount of urine produced by the body. This causes a loss of fluids and electrolytes, leading to dehydration if not replaced. 

Strenuous Exercise

Avoid any heavy physical activity or strenuous exercise for at least 24 hours after the massage and try to avoid sitting or standing in one position for too long. Instead, opt for light exercises like walking or yoga. This will allow your body to slowly build back its strength and flexibility without placing too much strain on your muscles. A hard workout will only cause more inflammation and tension in your muscles, which can lead to further discomfort.

Extreme Heat

Steer clear of saunas, hot tubs, steam rooms or any other source of intense heat for at least 24 hours post-massage. Doing so will prevent dehydration and give your body time to adjust after the massage. Additionally, heated environments can cause blood vessels to dilate and increase inflammation to a level that could be too intense for your body. Give your body time to rest and recuperate from the massage before exposing yourself to any kind of heat.

Massage the CERAGEM Way

CERAGEM medical devices have been developed through extensive research to bring you the most effective relaxation and therapeutic benefits massage can offer. We provide a unique experience for relieving muscle tension, increasing joint mobility and improving circulation. 

Unlike massage therapists, CERAGEM massage beds offer unmatched consistency for every massage. The new Ceragem V6 is an FDA-cleared Class II medical device with massage rollers designed individually to move in a flexible motion. They're electronically heated to provide a concentrated massage to acupressure points. Our patented technology scans and analyzes the spine's length and curvature of different body types, from children to adults; this allows for a customized massage that meets the individual needs of each user. Explore the entire range of CERAGEM products to find one that best suits your needs.

A Post-Massage Routine Maximizes Benefits

Now that you know what to do (and what not to do) after a massage, it's time to enjoy the benefits! Massage can help improve circulation, relieve pain, and reduce stress. Make sure to follow a post-massage routine to extend the feeling as long as possible.


Cleveland Clinic: Circulatory System

Cleveland Clinic: Parasympathetic Nervous System (PSNS)

Cleveland Clinic: Should You Take an Epsom Salt Bath?

Mayo Clinic: Massage: Get in touch with its many benefits

National Library of Medicine: Effect of massage on blood flow and muscle fatigue following isometric lumbar exercise

National Library of Medicine: The Lymphatic System in Health and Disease

ResearchGate: Healing bodies: The ancient origins of massages and Roman practices

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center: Why stretching is more important than you think.

by Robert Evans

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