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Feeling sore after a massage? Don’t worry, it’s totally normal – it just means that your muscles are releasing tension and toxins as a result of the session, which can sometimes cause soreness or discomfort. Some people experience it, some don’t. If you’re currently experiencing it, know that there are simple things you can do to alleviate the soreness and prevent it next time.

In this guide, let’s talk about post-massage soreness, why it happens, and what you can do to feel better.

Why Am I Sore After a Massage?

If it’s your first massage or you haven’t had one in a while, you’re more likely to experience soreness or tightness afterwards. During a massage session, muscles in your body that you may not usually use are being stimulated which causes delayed onset muscle soreness, your body’s response to inflammation as it heals.

Sore areas typically indicate that they need healing – if your neck area feels sore after a massage, for example, it means that you have tension buildup in that area. Massages can highlight areas of your body that have tension and tightness and it will create muscle memory if you have frequent massages, so aim to have regular massage sessions.

7 Ways to Relieve Post-Massage Soreness

If you’re experiencing pain after a massage, there are things that you can do to relieve the soreness:

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water before and after your massage. When your muscles are hydrated, they become more flexible and less prone to soreness afterwards. Aside from water, drink other healthy drinks like herbal teas, fresh fruit or vegetable juice, or coconut water. If you can, avoid alcoholic, caffeinated, and sugary drinks for the time being.

Do Gentle Stretches

After your massage, do a few gentle stretches to help with the soreness. This will help improve circulation and release tension from the muscles. Gentle stretching is also known to help quiet the mind and ease anxiety and stress.

Use Heat Therapy

You can also use heat to help your body reduce soreness after a massage. Try a heating pad or a hot rice bag on sore areas for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Going to the sauna is also a good option. For best results, take a warm bath for around 20 to 40 minutes. Add about 1/2 cup of Epsom salts to your bath, which will help get rid of toxins and reduce the effects of muscle inflammation.

Ease With Topical Treatment

Topical treatment is also effective at relieving post-muscle soreness. You can apply a muscle rub or cream which typically contains menthol and methyl salicylate. These counterirritants cool the skin then warm it, giving you relief. You can also give yourself a mini massage while you’re at it!

Relax With Essential Oils

Essential oils are also effective pain relievers. You can combine it with a carrier oil (such as almond, jojoba, and grapeseed oils) so you can apply it topically on sore areas. You can also add a few drops to your bath or with a diffuser for added relaxation benefits. The best essential oils for sore muscles include eucalyptus, peppermint, cypress, juniper, and frankincense.

Try Herbal Remedy

There’s nothing like treating your aches and pains using natural remedies. Herbs such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, clove, and cinnamon are ideal for relieving muscle pain and soreness, as well as reducing the symptoms of inflammation. If you’re experiencing soreness after massage, add these herbs to your cup of tea or consume in their capsule form.

Get Plenty of Rest

Everyone knows that getting enough sleep is one of the best ways to heal the body. During sleep is when the body repairs itself so giving it enough time to do so will ensure that it does its job to address the muscle pain and soreness. 


Feeling sore after a massage is the normal response of the body to the manipulation of muscles and tissues during the massage session. The more you get a relaxing massage, the more your body will get used to it, and the less likely you will feel post-massage soreness. If you’re experiencing it right now, just remember to stay hydrated, do some gentle stretching, try heat therapy, ease with topical treatments or essential oils, opt for a herbal remedy, and get sufficient sleep.