Hydration and Treatment

By Kaitlyn Joyal   water We give our clients ample opportunity to drink up! With a water cooler in our reception area and bottled water available after massage and athletic therapy there’s no reason not to heed our pleas! Don’t feel like drinking water? Well you’re not off the hook – we also offer complimentary non-caffeinated teas! Hang around our clinic long enough and you’ll quickly learn that we all have a preoccupation with drinking water! “Don’t forget your water!”  “Let’s get those tissues hydrated!” “Finish that bottle before you get home!” Being well hydrated can greatly affects the overall results of your chiropractic, massage or athletic therapy treatments. So there’s a ton of hydrating options, but why are we here at Balance water pushers? Read on to find out.

Why you should drink water before your treatment

Think of your fascia like cooked spaghetti– when its wet its slippery and mobile but when it dries out it becomes harder to work with

Therapists are able to discern whether you’ve been knocking back your water or not– they can feel it! It really all comes down to your fascia–think of the tough, silver skin you often see on raw meat like ribs or chicken– that’s fascia. It surrounds your nerves, blood vessels, bones, organs and muscles; wrapping and dividing them into compartments, anchoring them together in some cases, and enabling your tissues to fluidly slide against one another in others. It suspends your organs inside your body (which prevents them from pooling at your ankles…ew) and serves a role in protecting and healing the body from outside threat– if the skin is broken, it’s the fascia that protects the internal body from bacteria and debris. When you are dehydrated soft tissue doesn’t respond as optimally and your therapist can feel that! When you are dehydrated the fascia becomes tacky, sticky and less responsive to pressure. Being well hydrated helps your body to be more efficient in ridding itself of metabolic by-products; if you’ve been dehydrated for a longer period of time there’s a strong possibility that these metabolic by-products have accumulated in your body lending a gritty, rough texture to your tissues. These spots of accumulation can be unexpectedly sore during treatment. For more on this topic check out Nu-Genesis’s article on why your massage therapist begs you to drink water.

Why you should drink water after your treatment

Bodywork, massage and manual therapy particularly, increases blood volume which results in increased urine production in most people. This increase in urine output does not directly lead to dehydration–but can play a large role in it. So, why does this happen? Well, when your therapist is exerting pressure on your muscles, fluid is being released from your tissues into the lymphatic system which in turn moves more fluid into blood vasculature. This increase in blood volume causes the rate of filtration by the kidneys to also increase which increases urine production and  helps to return your blood pressure to your normal homeostatic level. This initial increase of fluid in the lymphatic system encourages a more efficient processing of nitrogenous  and metabolic by-products. Staying well hydrated after a massage can further prolong this efficiency. In a nutshell fluid is being moved from your blood to your bladder along with all the waste and drinking water helps this process. For more on these effects, you can check out this free Google books preview of The Massage Connection: Anatomy and Physiology’s chapter on the urinary system.

Quick Tips

  • A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces per day: that means a 160 lbs person should be drinking about 80 ounces of water a day.
  • A common myth about hydration is that caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea and sodas dehydrate the body when in reality the effect is quite minimal. The most noticeable effect of caffeine on hydration occurs in non-caffeine users, but even then it is hardly anything to worry about. For a great article on this topic check out National Post’sNutrition fact or fallacy: Does drinking coffee dehydrate you?”
  • Try to drink your water consistently throughout the day–not just in the evening when you realize your behind on your water intake!
  • Sick of plain old water? Add some fresh fruit, cucumber or a little  lemon or cranberry juice to perk it up!
  • Being hydrated can make a difference in how you feel– after all your skeletal muscles are approximately 75% water and your brain is approximately 78% water, no wonder you feel tired, achy and mentally foggy when you’re dehydrated!

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