Sluggishness could mean you're on the right track.
No one wants to feel tired after a massage or other complementary healing modality. We want to feel on top of the world, light as a feather, strong and vital... but sometimes, the body has other plans.
Sometimes after a massage -- very occasionally, and for only a small percentage of people -- you feel a bit fatigued. Under-the-weather. Bushed.
The fact is every human lives in a physical body that is the receptacle of all sorts of toxins and abuse. Your body is your home, and sometimes you can put healing off psychologically because our spiritual and mental athletes rally when we need to. We're so tough, we can actually ignore the very vehicle we're traveling in.
We say to ourselves, " I have a vacation coming up in June; I'll relax then," or " I will get back to the gym after this new job training is finished," or "Next week will be a dry week, with no sugar and alcohol..." Etc. The mind and will are strong and can carry the day for a mighty long time! We keep on forcing our bodies to take on the brunt of our psyche's will! It's crazy, actually.
But sometimes, your physical reality has the final say. Our bodies feel sick, they revolt in some way, they shut down. Sometimes in small ways (a decrease in energy) and sometimes through significant, life-changing ways (cancer, or autoimmune disease).
When you're adding massage of any kind to your health regimen, I think it's best to respect your body. Especially if it's a modality that you're intentionally adding to improve your health, like lymphatic massage for maintenance or detox.
I have some personal experience with this. The first time I felt this fatigue, I was in Croatia learning about Raindrop Therapy, a gentle massage technique involving essential oils.
The first day I felt great; ready for anything. But the next day, after my massage, I couldn't wait to get back to my hotel room and rest. No meeting in the lounge for music and drinks for me. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and sleep the night away.
So I did. I just rested. I went to bed early and let my body recuperate.
Another time I felt this setback after what I thought was a good therapy: I had a lymphatic massage one day, then went for another massage (muscle tissue) later on. Well, guess what? I had to cancel my soft tissue massage because I just wasn't feeling up to it. Imagine that! Two massages in one day, what was I thinking? (One to flush toxins and one to alleviate muscle pain and bring relaxation to my muscles.) Too much in one day? You bet! I let the lymphatic massage have the day and felt great the next morning.
This minor post-massage setback where you're not feeling 100% is called a "healing crisis," and it can happen with any alternative medicine or therapy. According to this article on Healthline, here's what to look for: a general feeling of unwellness, including body aches and pain, headaches, fatigue, chills, sweating or flushing, nausea, and diarrhea.
Some people feel a sense of well-being, including better energy and better sleep-- after a healing crisis has occurred. Ironic, isn't it?
I can attest. The morning after my "healing crisis" I felt a euphoric sense of balance and freshness which had been lacking for months. Even though I missed out on an evening of fun during a vacation (which is difficult for me, trust me!) it turns out that was just what I needed.
A "Healing Crisis" means your body is recalibrating and flushing out toxins -- in a good way. By the way, if you feel sort of crappy for more than a few days, though, you should see your doctor, as it could mean there are underlying problems that your alternative therapist can't address.
Just a note about this "Healing Crisis" from a massage therapist's point of view. Once, I was doing a lymphatic massage on a woman whose legs were bothering her after a procedure. The next day after the treatment/massage, I called to see how she was doing and was dismayed to learn that my client had a horrible night. Her legs felt worse than ever! Now you can imagine how terrible I felt. But in retrospect, I know that further MLD would have certainly helped that discomfort. At the time, I did not know that a healing crisis could take on characteristics that look like adverse reactions. Sometimes it's wise to push through the immediate discomfort and keep after the therapy you seek.
Everyone makes their own decisions about their healing regimen, and of course, I would never try to convince someone to do something that felt wrong at the time. But now I know, and I'm sharing this with you, too... your body sometimes takes its time when flushing out toxins, eliminating wastes, and getting back on track.
Please be kind to yourself. Do all the research you can about what will serve your well-being and please adopt the discipline to stick with your desired goals.
Also keep in mind the rule about drinking plenty of water after a massage (any kind of massage, not just lymphatic). With Lymphatic massage or manual lymphatic drainage, you're asking your lymphatic system to really flush the junk through its clearinghouse. It's a huge job, and the more you need it, the harder your lymph nodes must work. Help your body heal and detoxify by drinking lots of water afterwards.
Remember that your healing journey involves zigs and zags that your consciousness often doesn't predict. This is part of healing and recovery, this uncertain path. I understand this from my own healing journey. A straight path is never assured.
The great thing about lymphatic massage and any other alternative healing modality is this: if you feel the effects of the treatment (whatever it is) then it's obviously making an impact on your physical body's health and well-being.
Take some time and make some space for settling into your body and discerning the impact of your chosen healing modality. Let it do what it's going to do. Assess it's effect after a day or two and decide how your choices can contribute to the effects.
There's no easy recipe to Feeling Good. It's different for everyone. Please don't let a minor physical adjustment signal a "setback" when it's really a cause for celebrating your body's willingness to heal.