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What to Expect After Massage

Most people feet relaxed and/or refreshed after a massage. Occasionally, some people experience post massage soreness the day after their massage. This is nothing to worry about. Most people feel a great reduction of their original muscle tightness and/or pain after the delayed soreness resolves itself.

There are several theories, none of them with universal support, about the exact physiological cause of this delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). An old theory suggests that excess lactic acid in the muscle is the cause of this soreness. However, studies conducted by exercise physiologist, Dr. George A. Brooks, have concluded that "tactic acid does not cause muscle soreness, fatigue or the "burn" of intense exercise." Nor does it cause post-massage soreness. While excess lactic acid is typically present in sore muscles, it is not the cause of the soreness itself.

More research must be conducted before the exact mechanisms can be determined, but it is most commonly believed that post-massage muscle soreness is due to tight muscles having been stretched and realigned, adhesions and scar tissue having been broken apart so new tissue can form and lay down correctly, and/or deep pressure having been applied to an injured muscle to release spasm. All such procedures help muscles to relax and heal However, they can also cause soreness the next day. This delayed onset muscle soreness is not unlike what a person experiences after intense exercise.

Any time muscle tenderness occurs, place one cup of Epsom salts in hot bath water. Soak for 20 minutes and follow with a coot shower. (This soak/bath is contraindicated for anyone with cardiovascular problems or any other conditions that might respond negatively to forms of heat therapy.)