Water vs Toxins - The Myth
If you're an adult and alive on this planet you've probably heard it echoed through the years "Drink more water, it flushes out toxins" "Drink plenty of water after a massage, it flushes out the toxins that are released" In this blogpost we'll be sharing new information that educates and even debunks some of these myths. I would like to note: I am an experienced therapist, avid reader and researcher of the Sciences especially as it relates to this field, but, I am not a doctor, physiologist, or scientist (yet). The information listed here has been gathered by many different resources, that will be cited. I encourage everyone to do their own research and come to their own conclusions and become a part of the (civilized) discussion. It's important that we all continue to learn and build ourselves and each other up.
Let's begin by defining "toxin".
-Toxin, Noun: “A poisonous substance that is a specific product of the metabolic activities of a living organism and is usually very unstable, notably toxic when introduced into the tissues, and typically capable of inducing antibody formation.”
At a glance, here's the gist of what the most recent information is saying. I've summarized the main points from each article that I've read and researched in these bullet points and I'll be sharing thoughts of my own towards the end.
-Your kidney's, liver, skin, lungs and intestines are the filtration specialists of the body
-These organs rely on proper levels of hydration (aka: Water) to do their job and do it well
-When "toxins" are introduced into the body, the chemical and metabolic mechanisms built into your physiology, will process these toxins through the listed filtration organs.
-Massage Therapy does not contribute to the excretion, or secretion of any toxins that may be found.
-Your organs are very capable of handling the processing of such things. Water simply helps the process along
-Massage Therapy does have an effect on your general systems, digestive and lymphatic especially (ever have to pee really bad after a session, or feel sensations of gas or even malaise?)
-It's possible that Massage Therapy can "increase" the rate at which your organs work. To what degree of acceleration, is vague and unknown and typically subjective client to client.
-Drinking water after a massage may be beneficial in this regard to simply aid in the overall hydration of your tissues and your organs
-Water works to hydrate and assist in our bodily functions because of cells and specifically water-soluble cells. Water doesn't flow through tubes in our bodies. It goes down our esophagus, into our stomach, where it's digested and passed through the intestines and then onto liver and kidney's.
-During this, the brain/body are talking to each other and putting water molecules where they're needed
-The same process happens with food
-Your body takes what it needs and discards the rest or it will store it
-It's still quite unknown or there are really vague and inconclusive research that tells us what, if anything, is physiologically "released" during bodywork
It's important to note, that it's really only been in the last 50-60 years that Massage Therapy has been considered a science-evidence based industry. That really isn't a very long time. There's still, unfortunately, quite a bit about each facet of Massage Therapy that isn't well understood, researched, studied or funded for that matter. The lack of a general societal understanding that Therapists are extremely important to a healthy lifestyle doesn't help either. In each article I read there were very few definitive remarks made about this topic (and others that I subsequently read) and that is due to a lack of research to come to definitive conclusions. It could also be because we are still in the process of trying to fully understand the scope of the human body and all of its capabilities. The biggest take away from what I've read and have tried to break down here is this: Massage Therapy does not release toxins into your body and that's why you need to drink water after a session. You should be drinking water when your body tells you to do so. In closing, eat well, drink water, exercise and get regular Bodywork, you'll be sure to live a long and happy life.
Be well my friends, and stay safe out there!