ELEMENTS OF HEALTH: Why am I sore after a massage?


Most go to get a massage due to tight or sore muscles, aches, pains and tension. Sometimes, however, after your massage it may feel like you just ran a marathon or climbed a mountain. Your muscles may feel sore or tender.

Before you reach for the phone to give your massage therapist an early morning, “What did you do to me?” know that it is perfectly normal for your body to feel a little sore and out-of-whack the day after a massage, as counter-intuitive as it seems. For your muscles, getting a deep-tissue massage is similar to experiencing a tough workout. They got stretched and manipulated during the session, and the massage increased blood circulation to your tight spots. The lining of our muscles is supposed to be smooth and work fluidly. When a certain group of muscles gets tight, strained or kinked, it becomes more rigid, and will rely on surrounding muscle areas to pitch in and help.

During a massage, the therapist works to stretch, lengthen, and break up groups of muscles (what you might refer to as knots). This process may cause post-massage soreness from waste metabolites and by-products of tiny micro tears in the muscle along the way. This is a normal function of massage, and while it leads to more blood flow and healing to that area, it can also lead to that day-after tenderness.  Also, depending on the overall hydration of your body’s tissue, your muscle tissue may l not be as pliable, and you may potentially l feel more soreness afterwards.

If your muscles actually hurt more than they did before, and are not just tender to the touch, be sure to communicate this to your massage therapist before your next appointment. Perhaps the pressure was applied too quickly and/or past your pressure tolerance.

After your massage that same day, there are some easy, pleasant things you can do to help prevent some of the next-day soreness:

Be purposeful about spending some down time after a massage so your nervous system can integrate. In addition, staying hydrated is never a bad idea, and after before or after a massage session is no different.

Do some gentle stretching that evening, paying special attention to your trouble spots that received the most attention during your massage.

You may find comfort in taking a hot bath to further enhance feelings of relaxation and rest.

While having tender muscles is not exactly enjoyable, it is a natural, normal part of the journey of health and well-being that comes with taking care of yourself by receiving massages. As your body becomes accustomed to regular massages, you’ll experience the next-day soreness less frequently, making the experience that much more pleasurable.

Elements of Health is sponsored by Elements Massage. The Franklin studio is located at 539 Cool Springs Boulevard, Suite 140 Franklin, Tennessee 37067. The Brentwood studio is located at 782 Old Hickory Boulevard, Suite 113 Brentwood, TN 37027. You can contact the Franklin studio at (615) 771-0003 or visit their website here. Visit the Brentwood website here or call (615) 730- 6806.