AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

I’m going to start this article first by defining what exactly is considered a toxin. A toxin is actually a poison, especially in the form of a protein or conjugated protein, which can be produced by plants, animals, and pathogenic bacteria, and are considered highly poisonous for other living organisms – so poisonous that immediate medical care would be necessary.

Think of a rattlesnake bite. If an individual were actually walking around with such a poison, and are “toxic”, the last thing they would want to do is schedule a massage. Most likely, what your client is referring to are artificial additives to foods, waxes, pesticides, pollution found in the air, water, the infamous cellular debris, and so on, and so on. Regardless of what the concern is, as a massage therapist, I would never claim to be able to rid anybody of “it”. From my understanding, there has never been a longitudinal study of before and after samples of blood and urine taken before and after massages. For me to claim to offer detoxification as a massage therapist is completely ludicrous.

The other big misconception is lactic acid. For some reason everyone thinks they are full of it. This would actually be another serious and possibly life-threatening condition known in the medical realm as lactic acidosis. Unless your client presents with nausea or vomiting, confusion, belly pain, excessive sweating, rapid breathing, sweet-smelling breath, cool and clammy skin, and slips into a coma – chances are your client is not full of lactic acid. I think what is most important with this situation is to explain to your clients in simple terms what lactic acid actually is.

To actually measure a person’s level of lactic acid – they would have to do a blood test. Most of it is made by muscle tissue and red blood cells. Essentially, when our body’s oxygen level is normal, carbohydrates break down into water and carbon dioxide. When our oxygen level is low, this is when carbohydrates will break down for energy and make lactic acid. Lactic acid is a normal byproduct of anaerobic metabolism.

Lactic acid is often associated with physical exercise as our lactic acid levels will get higher. This is usually what our clients are concerned with because you will feel pain with large amounts of lactic acid caused by ischemia in the tissue. However, the body does an incredible job on its own breaking down waste byproducts, mainly by the liver which is considered our number one detoxifier. The liver actually turns lactic acid into glucose which is then used to replenish the glycogen stores in the muscle tissue. A small part of the lactic acid is converted back to pyruvic acid and then metabolized oxidatively by the body tissue.

This is not to dismiss how massage can help after strenuous exercise and can very well help assist our body’s natural processes of keeping our blood clean. Massage has many benefits which I have already mentioned in my previous article. But it would be negligent to advertise or suggest our practice to be used as a means of detoxification. Nor would we want to encourage our clients to believe that they are walking around full of lactic acid.

In closing, it is always most important to remember our scope of practice. The above is some very simple information to share with your client. We are not here to offer scientific explanations of our body’s cellular metabolic processes. It may be even easier to let your client know that through the simple body functions of exhalation, sweating, regular bowel movements and urination, our body’s excretory system does a pretty darn good job of keeping our blood clean. If your client is still not satisfied and concerned with toxins and their lactic acid blood level – it is time for them to see their primary care physician and get the blood work done.

Categories: Health concerns

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