The Detox fad in Massage Therapy
The Detox fad in Massage Therapy
Its January and this year more than most, we have been hearing about all the weird and wonderful ways people are starting their health kicks / fads this year. Once again, the buzz word seems to be “detox”. Whether it is juice, teas, Aloe Vera and everything in-between. We have some opinions on these methods and products but since we are not a company who specialises in nutrition, we will not go on a rant about them!
However, it does raise the topic of detoxification which is a commonly hyped benefit of massage therapy. It also seems to raise it’s ugly head in January as therapists attempt to jump on this health-fad bandwagon to increase footfall in the traditionally quiet January period.
Well lets get this straight, any therapist proposing to be helping to detox your body either
- Does not have a good understanding of human anatomy
- Does not have a good understanding on the effects of massage therapy and techniques
- Chooses to ignore these and regurgitate common misconceptions on the benefits of massage therapy
Oh oh...careful of them toxins!
My first point regarding detoxification is what exactly are we trying to rid the body of. What do we have, specifically in January that is so harmful that the body cannot deal with of it’s own accord. The kidneys and liver are the detoxification centres of the human body and do a very good job dealing with any waste products of daily living. I would be interested to hear what answer your therapist would give when you ask them what specifically they are trying to eliminate from your body.
Don't be a victim of massage robbery!
Secondly, lets presume there is a toxin that requires special attention from your therapist to eliminate. How is your therapist going to achieve this? Often, a therapist will propose that the massage will increase blood flow, hence “flushing” these products out your system. Well research has shown (Sefton et al 2010) that massage therapy is ineffective in stimulating blood flow beyond the level of the skin. Wiltshire et al (2010) even proposed in their study that massage therapy actually impaired the removal of waste product Lactic Acid post-exercise. I am gonna put it out there, the only thing your therapist is detoxing with their Detox Massage is the elimination of money from your piggy bank!
The only form of massage that has any scientific evidence that points towards it’s effectiveness in this area is Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) (Vairo et al 2009). There are various studies that show increased lymph flow and therefore the efficiency of the system in the body designed to eliminate waste products. Fortunately for us, as a company that tries to be as evidence-based as possible, we have Lara Jordon on our staff that specialises in this area.
Massage therapy has a number of fantastic benefits but I am sorry, the evidence suggests detoxification is not one of them! If you are looking for improved mood, sleep, reduced pain, anxiety, lymphodema and stress as part of your January “new you”, then get in to see your friendly local therapist. Just don’t be suckered in to shelling out your hard earned pennies on myths and misconceptions.
Happy New Year from all at ASM.