What Toxins Are Released After Massage? Discover the Surprising Answer

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Massage therapy is one of the best ways to relax after a long week at work or an intense workout session. It helps relieve stress and muscle tension, leaving you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. But did you know that massage also promotes the release of toxins from your body?

You might be surprised to learn what toxins are released after a massage. This article will examine this interesting phenomenon in detail, exploring the scientific principles that underpin it and revealing some of the most common types of toxins that may be present in your body.

So if you’re curious about how massage can help purify your body, keep reading! You’ll discover a wealth of valuable information about the different toxins that can accumulate in your system over time, as well as the proven benefits of massage for promoting detoxification and flushing them out of your body.

“A good massage therapist can work wonders when it comes to improving your overall health and wellbeing – but understanding what toxins are released after a massage is key to truly maximizing its benefits.”

In the following sections, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of massage therapy and explore the various ways in which it supports detoxification. From lymphatic drainage to improved circulation and more, you’ll learn all about the many incredible benefits that massage has to offer.

So sit back, relax, and get ready to discover why a regular massage could be one of the best things you do for your body and mind!

Lactic Acid

What is Lactic Acid?

Lactic acid, sometimes referred to as lactate, is a substance that is produced by the body when it breaks down glucose for energy. It is a natural byproduct of anaerobic metabolism and can build up in muscles during intense exercise or activity.

Lactic acid is also produced by certain bacteria, such as those found in yogurt, sourdough bread, and some types of fermented foods.

How does Lactic Acid affect the body?

While lactic acid has been blamed for muscle soreness and fatigue after exercise, recent research shows that it may not be the culprit we once thought it was. In fact, lactic acid production during exercise may actually help delay fatigue and boost endurance.

When lactic acid builds up in the muscles during intense activity, it can cause temporary discomfort or burning sensations. However, this discomfort typically goes away within a few hours or days as the muscles recover.

Lactic acid is also believed to have some health benefits. Research suggests that regular exercise can increase the body’s ability to metabolize lactic acid more efficiently, which may improve overall athletic performance and reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases.

“In the past, lactic acid has been considered a waste product, but our study provides compelling evidence that it could represent a valuable fuel source for the body,” says lead researcher Professor George Brooks from UC Berkeley.

In addition to its role during exercise, lactic acid also plays an important role in maintaining the pH balance of the body. When the body becomes too acidic, lactic acid helps neutralize excess acid and prevent damage to tissues and organs.

While lactic acid may have negative connotations in some contexts, it is a natural and necessary component of the body’s energy production processes.

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a colorless gas that we exhale when breathing. It is an essential component of the Earth’s atmosphere, also found in oceans and soil biomass. However, excessive levels of CO2 can cause harm to our bodies.

Respiratory System

The respiratory system regulates the level of carbon dioxide in our blood by controlling how much we inhale or exhale. When we breathe out, we release excess CO2 from our lungs into the atmosphere. Inhaling too much CO2 can trigger uncomfortable physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, headache, sweating, dizziness, and confusion.

Massage therapy helps relax muscles, relieve tension, and stimulate circulation in the body. During a massage session, deep tissue manipulation might release stored CO2 in muscle fibers causing temporary discomfort. The client may experience fatigue, dizziness, or weakness after a massage, but these side effects are typically normal reactions that dissipate gradually over time.

Blood Acid-Base Balance

Acid-base balance refers to the equilibrium between acids and bases in our bloodstream. CO2 acts as an acid in the body when it dissolves with water molecules, producing hydrogen ions. The body maintains a delicate balance of acid and base to stabilize metabolic processes for optimal physiological function. However, certain medical conditions or lifestyle choices can disrupt this balance, leading to serious health issues like metabolic acidosis or alkalosis.

If there is too much CO2 in the bloodstream due to massage, it can create an acidic environment, disrupting the natural pH balance. A balanced diet and proper hydration help counteract the negative effects of releasing toxins produced during a massage.

Carbon Dioxide Poisoning

Carbon dioxide poisoning is a rare but potentially dangerous condition that can occur when there is an excessive build-up of CO2 in the bloodstream. It may cause breathing difficulties, seizures, unconsciousness, and even death in severe cases. This condition occurs primarily due to exposure to high levels of CO2 in poorly ventilated areas like basements, garages or storage rooms with gas-powered engines.

This condition mustn’t necessarily happen after massage therapy if proper precautions are taken by both therapist and clients. Drink plenty of water; ensure the room has adequate ventilation and do not go back to daily activities immediately after completing a session – get some rest first.

Carbon Dioxide Therapy

Innovatively, carbon dioxide therapy offers benefits as opposed to the negative effects we mentioned above. Carbon dioxide is injected into various parts of the body, resulting in vasodilation or expanded blood vessels, which improves circulation and oxygen delivery to tissues, reducing pain and inflammation. Additionally, studies show the potential for increasing collagen production, leading to improved skin texture and overall youthful glow.

“CO2 directly affects the microcirculatory system and influences the mechanisms regulating the deposition and decomposition of fat cells,” explains Dr. Carlos Alberto Ordás-Bandera from Clínica Dr. Ordás.

Mild hypercarbia (increased CO2 levels) usually comes with dissipation over time without further complications. Carbon dioxide therapy remains safe, effective and provides immediate relief from symptoms such as chronic pain and inflammations.


Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal gland in response to stress. It is often referred to as the “stress hormone” due to its role in regulating the body’s stress response. Massage has been found to reduce cortisol levels in the body, leading to decreased stress and improved mood.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, massage therapy can reduce cortisol levels by up to 31%. This reduction in cortisol can help alleviate symptoms associated with anxiety and depression.

In addition to its role in the stress response, cortisol also plays a key role in regulating metabolism.

Stress Response

When the body perceives a threat or danger, the sympathetic nervous system is activated, triggering the release of cortisol from the adrenal gland. Cortisol increases heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration, preparing the body for fight or flight.

Chronic stress can lead to an overproduction of cortisol, which can have negative effects on the body. High levels of cortisol have been linked to a number of health issues, including weight gain, high blood pressure, and immune dysfunctions.

“Chronic stress alters our brain structure, constricts our blood vessels, negatively impacts hormonal function, and creates inflammation throughout the body” -Shawn Talbott, PhD, nutritional biochemist

Metabolism Regulation

Cortisol also plays a crucial role in regulating metabolism and managing energy in the body. In times of stress, cortisol increases glucose production and suppresses insulin secretion, causing the liver to release stored glucose into the bloodstream.

This process provides the body with immediate energy necessary for survival during times of stress, but chronically elevated cortisol levels can lead to long-term health issues such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Recent studies have linked high levels of cortisol with increased appetite, particularly for sugary or fatty foods. This has led to the theory that chronic stress could be a contributing factor in obesity and other metabolic disorders.

“Cortisol increases your cravings for sugar and carbohydrates… so you can eat more food and plenty of energy is available” -William Cole, DC

Massage therapy has been found to reduce cortisol levels in the body, leading to decreased stress and improved mood. By lowering the amount of cortisol released during times of stress, massage may also help regulate metabolism and prevent associated health issues. The benefits of massage go beyond just relaxation- it’s important for overall physical and mental wellbeing.


Massage is generally a relaxing experience that helps to alleviate muscle pain and tension, but in some cases it can cause the body to release toxins like histamines. Histamines are chemicals produced by cells in the body as part of an immune response to allergens or other irritants.

Allergic Reactions

While many people enjoy massage therapy without experiencing any negative side effects, others may have an allergic reaction to certain ingredients commonly used in lotions, oils, or other products applied during the massage session. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from mild itching and skin irritation to more severe reactions like hives or difficulty breathing.

In addition to these topical allergens, some individuals may be sensitive to substances like latex, essential oils, or even contact with a specific type of massage table material. For this reason, it’s important for both therapists and clients to communicate any allergies or sensitivities prior to starting a massage.

“If you have any known allergies, make sure your therapist is aware so they can avoid using anything that might set off a reaction,” notes licensed massage therapist Christina DeBusk.

Inflammatory Response

Another way the body responds to massage therapy is through the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are proteins involved in inflammation and other immune responses. While short-term inflammation is a vital part of healing injuries and fighting infections, chronic inflammation has been linked to several health conditions like heart disease, arthritis, and cancer.

This doesn’t mean that you should stop receiving massages altogether – on the contrary, regular massages can actually help reduce inflammation in the long run. But if you’re feeling sore or achy after a particularly intense massage, it could be due to the inflammatory response that your body is experiencing.

“You may feel some discomfort or tenderness after a deep-tissue massage, but this should resolve on its own over the next few days as your body releases toxins and fluids,” says registered massage therapist Christine Koth.

In addition to histamines and cytokines, other chemicals released during a massage include lactic acid, adrenaline, and cortisol. Lactic acid is produced by muscles during exercise or strenuous activity, and can cause muscle fatigue and soreness if it builds up in the tissues. Adrenaline and cortisol are both stress hormones that can contribute to feelings of anxiety or tension if they’re released in large quantities.

  • To minimize any negative effects from these toxins, it’s important to stay hydrated before and after your massage.
  • You may also want to avoid eating or drinking anything too heavy prior to your session, as digestion can interfere with parasympathetic nervous system activity.
  • Finally, be sure to communicate honestly with your therapist about any discomfort you’re experiencing during your massage.

By taking simple precautions and staying aware of what toxins may be released during a massage therapy session, you can enjoy all the benefits without any unnecessary side effects.


Adhesions are fibrous bands that form between tissues and organs. They are caused by inflammation, surgery, or trauma to the affected area. Adhesions can cause pain, discomfort, and limit range of motion. Massage therapy is often used as a treatment for adhesions since it can help break up scar tissue.

Massage therapy can also release toxins from the broken-down scar tissue. When adhesions are being worked on during a massage, there is an increased flow of lymphatic fluid and blood through the affected area. This increased circulation helps with healing but can also release toxins into the body.

The toxins that can be released after a massage include lactic acid, metabolic waste products, and inflammation-inducing cytokines. These toxins can lead to symptoms such as muscle soreness, headaches, and fatigue. It is important to drink plenty of water after a massage to help flush these toxins out of the body.

Tissue Healing

Muscles and other soft tissues can become damaged due to injury, repetitive strain, overuse, or surgery. Massage therapy is often recommended as part of the treatment plan for these types of injuries because it can promote faster healing and reduce pain and inflammation.

Massage therapy can increase blood flow to injured areas, which delivers more oxygen and nutrients to promote healing. It can also stimulate the production of endorphins, which are natural painkillers produced by the body. Endorphins can help reduce pain and improve mood.

During tissue healing, cells break down and release various substances that need to be removed from the body. Some of these substances, including inflammatory cytokines, free radicals, and histamines, can be toxic to the body when present in high amounts. Massage therapy can help remove these substances by increasing lymphatic drainage and promoting the natural detoxification processes of the body.

Post-Surgical Complications

Massage therapy can be beneficial for patients who have undergone surgery to help with pain relief, reduce swelling, and promote healing. However, it is important to consider potential complications that can arise from massage therapy after surgery.

After any surgery, there is a risk of developing blood clots in the affected area. Massage therapy can increase blood flow, which can be helpful for healing but can also dislodge blood clots and cause serious health problems. It is essential to consult with your healthcare provider before receiving massage therapy after surgery to ensure that it is safe to do so.

Additionally, massage therapy may release toxins from scar tissue or other damaged tissues created during the surgical procedure. As previously mentioned, these toxins can cause symptoms like muscle soreness and fatigue. Patients should drink plenty of water to flush these toxins out of their system after a massage and report any unusual symptoms to their doctor immediately.

“Massage can improve overall circulation within the body, speed up the healing process through increased oxygen and nutrient delivery to injured tissues, enhance immune function and decrease levels of inflammation and stress hormones.” -Mary Ann Wilmarth, PT, DPT, OCS, MTC, Cert. MDT

As evidenced above, massage therapy can provide numerous benefits for tissue healing, adhesion treatment, and post-surgical recovery. Despite the risks of releasing potentially harmful toxins into the body, drinking plenty of water can mitigate these effects and aid in flushing out the toxins. One must always consult with their medical professional when seeking massage therapy, especially if they have recently undergone surgery, to avoid further harm and achieve maximum benefits from their sessions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What toxins are released during a deep tissue massage?

During a deep tissue massage, various toxins can be released from the body’s tissues. These toxins can include lactic acid, uric acid, and other metabolic waste products. Additionally, deep tissue massage can stimulate the lymphatic system, which can help to remove toxins from the body.

What are the common symptoms of toxin release after a massage?

Common symptoms of toxin release after a massage can include headache, nausea, fatigue, and muscle soreness. These symptoms are temporary and should subside within a few days. Drinking plenty of water and resting can help to alleviate these symptoms.

How long does it take for the body to eliminate toxins after a massage?

The length of time it takes for the body to eliminate toxins after a massage varies depending on the individual and the specific toxins being eliminated. In general, it can take anywhere from a few hours to several days for the body to fully eliminate toxins after a massage.

Can massage release heavy metals from the body?

There is limited research on the ability of massage to release heavy metals from the body. However, some studies suggest that massage may help to increase the excretion of certain heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, through the urine.

What are the benefits of toxin release through massage?

The benefits of toxin release through massage can include improved circulation, reduced inflammation, and a strengthened immune system. Additionally, releasing toxins from the body can help to alleviate pain and improve overall health and wellbeing.

Are there any risks associated with releasing toxins after a massage?

While there are generally no serious risks associated with releasing toxins after a massage, some people may experience mild symptoms such as headache, nausea, and muscle soreness. It is important to drink plenty of water and rest after a massage to help alleviate these symptoms.

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