There is no evidence nor scientific proof that massage helps remove toxins from the body. Our bodies are very intricate systems designed to take care of most of our needs, including waste disposal. The systems in our body are busy working away, bringing necessary nutrients to various organ systems and in turn remove waste and byproducts.
The liver, kidneys, skin, intestines, and lungs are all meant to process and remove waste and byproducts from the body. These organs also help with environmental toxin biotransformation and removal, if it doesn’t get stored in the body.
Ok, well what about lactic acid buildup? While lactic acid does collect in the muscles after a workout, it breaks down in the body after an hour. Though certain sources still say that tight muscles are somewhat acidic, our blood provides the means to neutralize this acid and keep the pH balance necessary for proper body function.
So what’s Massage Therapy’s take on this?
What’s typically touted in massage schools is that when a muscle becomes especially tight, the muscle can’t release its contracted state due to a lack of oxygen, neurotransmitters and nutrients. Trigger Point Therapy is a common technique whereby you apply pressure to the affected muscle to cut off blood flow to the area, this is called ischemic compression. Upon release, blood flows back into the area. This then allows the muscle to leave its contracted state so it can once again function normally.
As the blood flows again into the area bringing oxygen, etc. it re-uptakes cellular debris, waste and byproducts (the stuff referred to as “toxins”) to be processed by the aforementioned organs to then repeat the cycle. Makes sense right? However, that does not indicate that massage itself causes the processing and elimination of these toxins, stored or otherwise, in the body. If anything it merely facilitates the body in optimally transporting nutrients and waste to/from the muscle fibers in a targeted way.
Massage does not remove toxins from the body but it does help return muscle function so the body can do its job.