Today I wanna talk to you about toxins that are coursing through your body and your massage therapist processes the body tissues and then you have to drink a lot of water and you’re gonna get rid of the toxins. I guess none of those things are true.
The first part of this article is for massage clients who had been told about these toxins by their massage therapist and the second part of this article is for massage therapists so we can get you to be able to talk actual science regarding toxins and what we can do as massage therapists.
Massage clients, you have been told by your massage therapists that they have to break up some toxins ring them out of your muscles and flash them out and then by drinking a lot of water you’re able to get rid of these toxins as massage is a detoxifying process. But that’s based on some myths concepts about how the body works.
A common myth concept among massage therapists is that massage increases circulation and this is true in a short term at a local level but everything that you do, like your minor gesticulations is increasing your circulation.
It’s because circulation is a one way process, there are arteries that bring blood out to your extremities and veins that bring blood back and those can only go only one way because of a lot of tiny little valves.
So, everytime your heart beats and everytime you move a muscle, everytime you move in gravity, blood and lymphatic fluid is being returned back toward your core. These lymph fluid is moved to your heart, where goes to your lungs, to your liver, to your kidneys and this is where detoxification happens and filtration happens.
If you have got to much of something in your blood that’s going to be cared of naturally and any movement you make is going to increase circulation, just as well of any massage. If you want to increase circulation go for a walk.
The idea the blood can become stagnant in your muscles isn’t supported by evidence, the idea that your muscles can become stucked together isn’t supported by evidence. As long are you are bed bound, as long as you are moving occasionally, as long as your heart is beating you’re having nice consisting circulation, filtration and detoxification.
Another question you might come in your mind is: “What about lactic acid ?”, “What about lactic acid crystals ?”.
This might be something that your massage therapist told you about, or a Nutritionist, or a Strength and Conditioning Trainer, these are all common myths and these varies as welland these are based on old myths conceptions about how lactic acid works.
Lactic acid isn’t a poison, it’s not a waste product and it’s immediately taken up and used by your body. There’s not change for crystals to form in your body so there’s no need for the massage therapist to crunch those crystals up.
If your massage therapist has found something crunchy in your shoulder, that’s not a crystal, that’s gristle, that’s connected tissue or scar tissue and there’s nothing we can do to remove that permanent tissue.
What we can do as massage therapists is to reduce the pain associated with those tide areas, but it’s not by breaking down your structure, is by working with your body, working with your nervous system to reduce the sensitivity of those areas and the tideness of those muscles.
Now why does your massage therapist talk about toxins so much? Well because they’re taught it in the massage school quite frequently and they read about that in books despite the fact that this is proven decades ago.
It’s what they know and they are trying to pass on good informations to you but it ends up being kind of scary, you get the idea that your body can’t get rid of those toxing alone. The second reason is that it’s an easy explanation for pain.
The idea that there are those crystals that we can brak up with our hands to relieve pain is a very seductive idea. It makes immediate sense by think he takes immediate action, but pain is messy. Pain has to do with the nervous system and with inflammation and with repetitive actions and strains and it’s not easily solvable in a single session and requires you to make changes as a client and for the therapist to do consistent work over time and not in just a single session.
The third reason is that it permits to some massage therapists who like to work very aggressively, it let’s then shift blame to you. If you get a very aggressive massage and next day you feel you got hit by a truck and you feel tired and and mabe a little bit sick, that’s not your fault.
If that therapist tell you that it’s because you didn’t drink enough water to get rid of those toxins, or it’s a part of the detoxification process is because he’s stupid, not because of you. Wake up, you’ve been injured, it’s because that therapist has beating you up during that session and that’s not ok.
Massaje therapists have to adapt to their clients, to meet people at their level of tolerance, have more caution, not harming their clients. If you massage therapist tries to shift that blame on to you my advice is, go see somebody else. Go see someone who doesn’t blaime imaginary toxins and who knows more human physiology and who meet you at you level of physical tolerance.
There are massage therapists that are stuck through all of that, I appreciate you, cause I know it’s not always easy to hear some things learned in the massage school aren’t correct but the but the scientific wall has moved on and this idea of lactic acid regarded as being an enemy just no longer happens to be true.
Now let’s talk about what toxins actually are, what biologists actually consider to be toxic, how the body deals with those toxins and then we’re going to kind of rehabilitate lactic acid and realize that it’s not the enemy.
Toxins do exist, any chemical in sufficient quantity can be toxic to the body, but some are more toxic than others. The two that come to mind are: persistent organic pollutants (insecticides, industrial by-products) and toxic heavy metals (Lead, Cadmium, Mercury).
Your body deals with these in a few ways as you breath them in, as we eat food we’re consuming persticides, we’re consuming heavy metals and also as we drink water we’re taking in variable quantities of toxins.
It depends on where you live in the world, what kind of food do you eat. Different people will have different toxic burden in their body. But the good thing is that, your body is extremely able to deal with these things.
Thanks of the hepatic system, any food or water that you consume, at it is absorbed, it’s first stopped into the liver, it doesn’t get shuttled all around your body first, so, first stop is in this big detoxifying organ.
And what the liver does? It uses enzymes to break down toxins to make them less toxic to the body or it adds on another compound to make it less toxic and then you’re able to excrete those things. We also get rid of access amount of dangerus chemicals through our urine, through our kidneys and through our skin (we sweat out some amount of toxins). Finally body does something cool with large amounts of dangerous chemicals to make them less dangerous which is sequestration. We sequest things like Lead in our bones, we sequest some certain persistent organic pollutants in our adipose cells and this keeps them from constantly exposing our tissues to those compounds and it allows us to deal up with them slowly.
All about these things is that it’s nothing that massage can do to assist with any of these, we can’t help the liver work better, we can’t help the kidneys work better, we can’t break up the bones to release those compounds even if we want it to.
And that brings us to lactic acid who’s not the enemy. That’s based on some old thoughts about what lactic acid was, that is a waste product and after every plysical exercise it has to be flushed from the body, but that’s not the case.
In the body lactic acid is found as lactate. Lactate is formed when lactic acid is ionized in a solution, so, this lactate in our body is not a metabolic waste, it’s a metabolic intermediary. It’s something that’s produced during anaerobic respiration and then it is immediately reused.
It’s either reused locally by converting it back tu pyruvate, which point it can be oxidised again to be used for more energy or it is shuttled elsewhere to be converted into glucose by gluconeogenesis and then can be turn into glycogen. In other words this is an extremely useful resource and it’s not something that the body just leaves lying around, it’s not something that can be left to crystallize in your muscle cells. It’s used or by the pumping of your heart and the muscle pump it’s sent back to your core and that conversion happens in your liver and it’s reused. The fact is that it’s happening really quickly, even after some repeating sprinting or in aerobic exercise, your body can bring your lactate levels in you blood back down to it’s normal level and there is a normal level of lactate in your blood.
That’s my rent about toxins, the reason why I feel strongly about these and why I wish we can stop telling clients wrong information about toxins is because I think it’s stigmatizing. It leads people to think bad things about their own body, that their body is sick and they need us to make them well. I think that is wrong, we can work in partnership with people to help them feel better and feel more confortable in their own bodies.
I encourage massage therapists to have conversations with clients about their causes of their pain and what they can do to be partners and relieve that pain. It’s ok to be not completely sure what’s causing a phenomenon in the body and it’s definitely ok to discard this old information that hasn’t been updated in decades.
Alright, thanks for reading, let me know what you woul like to read next, let me know what you think down in the comments area and mabe consider subscribing. Regards until next time.
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