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Nu-Genesis Wellness Centre, LLC 

612 Washington St
Suite 109
Denver, CO   80203
303.332.9716

email: pierre@nugenesismassage.com

Why your massage therapist BEGS you to drink water

October 24, 2011

A number of my clients will probably tell you that I sound like a broken record when they come to see me… at some point during the treatment, I’ll say, "be sure to drink a lot of water"… or, "you aren’t drinking enough water".  This raises several questions:

  1. How  much water is enough?
     A general rule of thumb is to take your body weight and divide be two.  That is how many ounces you  should be drinking.  So a person weighing 128 pounds should be drinking about 8 cups a day.  That is two quarts or a half-gallon for  those who have been out of grade school for a long time.  If you are heavily muscled, you need more water yet.  Muscle tissue has a higher water content than fat.  If  you are feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated.  As we grow older, our sense of thirst  diminishes.  We need to remind ourselves to drink more.
  2. How  does my massage therapist know I need more water?
    There are several ways your therapist can tell you are dehydrated.  First is how the fascia moves under pressure.   You have much more fascia than any other tissue in your body.  The silver stuff you see between the skin and meat of a chicken is fascia.  When properly hydrated, if  moves and gives under pressure.  When dehydrated, it becomes sticky and stiff and can cause problems with achieving full range-of-motion in your joints.  Secondly metabolic waste that has accumulated over a period of time in your muscles takes on a gritty feel, almost as if you had sand or gravel mixed in with your muscle tissue.  This almost always results in areas of tenderness prompting statements like, “I didn’t know that muscle hurt.” 
  3. Why does my body need so much water? 
    Limiting ourselves to the scope of why in terms of massage and tissue health, your muscles need water to function properly, your fascia needs water so it can glide smoothly without sticking, and water helps reduce the aches and pains that accumulate in your muscles.  Sometimes bunches of muscle fibers or even an entire muscle can go into spasm.  As a result, these tight fibers clamp down and cause a reduction in the blood flow to the area.  This results in a condition called ischemia, which is just a fancy medical term for ‘reduced blood supply’.  This allows the metabolic waste generated by the spasming fibers to accumulate faster than the blood can wash it away.  The metabolic waste irritates the nerve endings for these muscle fibers and that is what causes the pain.  Your massage therapist will get rid of the spasm and restore blood flow to the affected area, but you still need to flush the accumulated metabolic waste out.  That is why we send you on your way with  a kind reminder to drink lots of water.

Many people say, “I don’t like to drink water.”  First, keep some water with you and just sip throughout the day.  Standing and forcing a cup at a time down is not fun.  A sip here and a sip there and you'll probably hit your water needs by noon.  Try putting a splash of cranberry juice or lemon juice in your water to make it more interesting.  Herbal teas (non-caffeinated) count as water.  Just about anything that is non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic counts as water.  Be careful not to overdo the soda pop though.

A word of warning:
If you are taking medication for high blood pressure, you should consult your physician before making significant changes in your fluid intake.  Many high blood pressure medications work by being diuretics.  This means that they reduce blood pressure by reducing the water level in the body; less fluid, less pressure.  Increasing your fluid intake can reduce the efficacy of your medication.

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