About those Toxins again…
Not long ago I heard a coworker say that he instructed a lactating client to “pump and dump” following her massage in case any of the “toxins released during the massage” may have contaminated her milk supply.
This was the first time I had ever heard this toxin myth taken to such an extent. I did not try to explain to my coworker that there are no toxins released during massage, mostly due to the fact that people believe what they were taught in their massage schools as fact and often become defensive if you tell them it is not true and unfortunately it is repeated in almost every massage book ever written therefor it must be true, even if it is not.
Thankfully there are a few well known massage authors out there like Laura Allen who are trying to bring some sense and science back to the massage field and dispel some of these myths, but it will take some time before the massage schools get the memo and stop teaching this to their students.
So I searched the web to see how common this new twist on the myth has gotten
These are a few of the posts about this subject that I found in various breast feeding forums from the web:
“She said I should dump the next two pump sessions because of all the toxins that come out after a massage. I barely produce enough for my lo and dumping anything makes me sad. Is this really necessary?”
“I got a 90 minute massage tonight. The massage therapist said that since I was breastfeeding, and she was massaging my lymph nodes, I should pump and dump at least for the next 12 hours, but 24 hours ideally. She said this is because the toxins now floating around my body can go into the breastmilk and cause DD to feel sick, not to mention I shouldn’t feed my baby BM with toxins in it.”
“Is it safe?? I’m getting my first massage today and I’m still breastfeeding. Just read that it could be dangerous because of the toxins that get released from your body and go into your breasts/milk — is this true? I’ve never heard of this. I will breastfeed right before my appointment but I’m I safe to breastfeed right after?”
“The masseuse informed me that I will have to drink a ton of water and dump at least 6 ounces from each breast until the toxins are removed. I Googled this to find that there is literally no research to back this up and that I CAN nurse her after all or pump and be able to use it. Does anyone have experience with this?”
“I had a massage today and the massage therapist told me to pump and dump for the next 24 hours because of the “toxins” that she released while massaging me. 24 HOURS??? Are you kidding? That’s over 40oz of breastmilk down the drain if it’s true. Does any one know for sure or know how I can find out? I would be bummed BIG TIME if I had to dump all the breastmilk down the drain. I will do it if I have to but a want a “second opinion”!”
I do not even know where to begin, other than to first apologize to these ladies for the misguided information they have been given, and especially to the one who was already struggling to produce enough milk to feed her infant.
I repeat NO Toxins are released by massage
None, zero, zip, zilch, nada! The only exception is that deep tissue massage might release some myoglobin which is not toxic but can become toxic if it builds up in the kidneys in large amounts, which is the real reason you should drink water after a massage.
I know that we all learned this toxin myth in massage school and many still believe it because they have not been educated otherwise, this myth is harmful not only to our industry but clearly it is causing undo stress to these nursing mothers and may prevent other nursing mothers from getting massage treatments out of fear of these non existent toxins.
Lets spread the word, help educate other therapist and our clients that massage is safe for nursing mothers and their new born babies and that there is no need for them to sacrifice their precious milk over a silly myth about mystery toxins.
Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Anne Smart (formerly Kish)
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist