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Why Alcohol and Massage Don’t Get Along

Why Alcohol and Massage Don’t Get Along

Did you know alcohol and massage pose a dangerous combination? Your first thought may be, How can these two great, relaxing activities be bad together? Read on to find out why you shouldn’t indulge in alcohol immediately before, after, or during a session in your massage chair.

Effects of Alcohol and Massage on the Body

Let’s take a look at the effects that both alcohol and massage have on the body.


There’s a reason that drinking water after a massage is highly recommended: Massage can leave you dehydrated. This is why coming to a massage hungover, when your body is probably already dehydrated, is a risk. Massage is believed to increase movement of fluids, which could also expedite the body’s process of breaking down and excreting the alcohol, which in turn could enhance the severity of a hangover.

Impaired Nerves

Alcohol tends to desensitize the nerve endings and reduce the sensation of touch, making a person unable to give appropriate feedback. An inebriated person might be unable to determine if the degree of heat or deep pressure is harmful.

Compromised Judgment & Thinking

We’re taught early on that alcohol affects our judgment. It increasing levels of norepinephrine, the neurotransmitter responsible for arousal and heightened excitement, and an increase in impulsivity as well as a reduction in impulse control.

Additionally, alcohol dulls the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the area responsible for decision making and rational thought that also has control over aggressive behavior.

Decreased Motor Activity & Physical Coordination

Because alcohol lowers energy consumption in the cerebellum, which controls your motor activity and overall physical coordination, you can’t be certain of your behavior while under the influence. Best to avoid embarrassing—or worse—harmful behavior during an activity that is supposed to be relaxing.

Massage Can Increase the Effects of Alcohol By:

  • Acting as a stimulant or a sedative on the mind and body (depending on the type of massage used).
  • Aiding in the removal of toxins and metabolic waste and improve circulation.
  • Normalizing the functions of glands and stabilize hormone production.
  • Lowering blood pressure.
  • Boosting activity of the liver and kidneys.
  • Increasing production of neurotransmitters, dopamine, and serotonin and decrease production of cortisol (the stress hormone).

These effects of massage alone can be a great thing, but when combined with alcohol can be dangerous. Some massage therapists even report seeing clients get “re-drunk” after a massage. Your time spent in your massage chair should leave you feeling relaxed, healthy, and rejuvenated—not sick or in more pain! So try to avoid alcohol on massage days, or at least leave ample time between your massage sessions and drinking. Always be sure to re-hydrate with plenty of water post-massage. Be smart and guarantee yourself a happy massage experience time and again.

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