Will you be sore after a massage?

While some people experience temporary post-massage soreness, the benefits are worth it

New and potential massage clients often want to know, “Will I be sore the day after my massage?” Our answer is this: possibly—but probably not enough to counteract the overwhelming benefits.

Given that all of our bodies are different, each person may react in varying ways to the same massage technique. A study published in 2007 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that about 10 percent of massage clients reported “some minor discomfort” the day after a massage. Most of the negative symptoms began within 12 hours of the massage and lasted for 36 hours or less, while the majority of the positive benefits began immediately after the massage and lasted more than 48 hours.

“It’s very much like doing a workout,” explains Keith Grant of the Sports and Deep Tissue Massage Department at McKinnon Institute. “If the muscles aren’t used to it, they often respond with some soreness.”

If the soreness lasts more than a day or two, you may need to talk with your massage therapist about receiving a gentler session the next time around.

Furthermore, a massage that made you sore one week may not have the same effect another week. One theory, Grant explains, argues that because massage provides significant input to the central nervous system, the body reacts to this potential overload of information in the form of pain. Because sensory input and stress on our bodies can vary day to day, week to week, you may feel the after-effects of a massage in different ways.

Chances are, you’ll be too busy reveling in the benefits of your massage (e.g. reduced tension, relieved pain, improved mood, increased energy) to bemoan any other side effects.

Nevertheless, if you’re concerned about soreness after a massage, get in touch with us and let’s design an appointment that’s right for you.