Hangover Helper: Getting Over the Night Before

Summertime and holiday party season seem to signal peak hangover season—when all you want to do the next day is eat pizza and power watch Netflix shows in the dark, lamenting the days when you used to be able to rally. According to frequent goop contributor, and fascia/structural alignment specialist Lauren Roxburgh (author of the best-selling Taller, Slimmer, Younger: 21 Days to a Foam Roller Physique), there are some simple things you can do to speed your way to recovery, namely a basic foam roller routine that wrings out your organs a wee little bit. Below, she explains more. (What’s fascia? Learn more about it here.)

The Morning After the Night Before

A wise person once said “moderation in all things—including moderation.” As the French and Italians have known for centuries a little “bottoms up” not only cultivates great culture, but it can also be a great way to connect with family and friends. The problem is that we sometimes take it too far and the next day that last glass (or two!) doesn’t seem like such a great idea.

While Advil, bacon, and coffee may seem like the holy triumvirate the next morning, believe it or not, the best thing to do when that dreaded hangover hits is to avoid the medicine cabinet. Drugs might dull the pain, but they can actually slow the body’s natural process of eliminating a hangover by reducing blood flow to the organs, plus your liver and kidneys will have to process the drugs in addition to the booze.

Likewise, heading to the local greasy spoon to binge on fried eggs ain’t a cure either. It might sound good at the time, but because fat is processed by your body through the same metabolic pathways as alcohol, your body can’t handle breaking them both down simultaneously—so the fat gets stored, meaning you’ll just have to deal with it later!

There’s a better way: Here, my 4-step program for dealing with the morning after the night below.

Step One: Hydrate

Hydrate with water and lemon: Last night’s drinks have left your body dealing with the toxic effects of ethanol, which is the active ingredient in whatever alcohol you were drinking. (Sancerre sounds so much sexier than ethanol, right?)

Step Two: Roll & Bounce Your Hangover Away

To get rid of the toxins in your system, there’s nothing better than getting on a foam roller and rebounder to detoxify your body and feed it with precious oxygenated blood and nutrients. I’m not talking about getting all Jane Fonda on your ass. I’m talking about some gentle twisting, forward folding, breathing, and bouncing moves that will have you feeling better in no time without making you feel like you’re about to get reacquainted with last night’s dinner.

Part One: Roll Your Hangover Away

  • 1. Umbrella Breathing

    1. Umbrella Breathing

    Benefits: Improves circulation and helps detoxify the body, while clearing fuzziness from the head.
    Visualize your lungs as a 3-dimensional umbrella. Imagine you are opening the umbrella by taking a full inhale, during which you expand your lungs to the greatest degree possible. Pause at the top of your breath, then release a full, calm exhale (as if you were sighing in relief). Pause again at the bottom of your breath and repeat.

    Repeat 10 times.

  • 2. Seated Side Bend

    2. Seated Side Bend

    Benefits: Increases blood flow throughout the body and most importantly, your liver.
    Sit on your roller, crossing your legs and inhale as you reach both arms out to the side. Then exhale as you side bend up over to the right, keeping your left sitz bone down on the roller. Inhale as you come up, and then exhale as you bend to the other side.

    Repeat 5 times on each side.

  • 3. Seated Neck Stretch

    3. Seated Neck Stretch

    Benefits: Relieves an aching head and stiff neck.
    Come to a seated position and reach your arms behind you. Interlace your fingers and press your knuckles into the mat behind you.

    Inhale as you turn your head to the right; exhale as your turn to the left. Repeat this motion eight times per side.
    Next, imagine you have a pencil on your nose and are going to draw a circle. Take your head around in a full circular movement that lasts for a full inhalation and exhalation. Repeat this movement in the reverse direction.

    Repeat 5 times in each direction.

  • 4. Rolling Forward Roll

    4. Rolling Forward Roll

    Benefits: Increases blood flow to organs.
    Inhale and fold your upper body forward with soft knees and a relaxed neck and place your fingertips on the roller. Exhale as you bend your knees further, lowering your tush down behind you, and roll the roller away from you as it rolls up your forearms.

    Repeat 8 times.

  • 5. 90-Degree PSOAS Roll

    5. 90-Degree PSOAS Roll

    Benefits: Helps massage the organs and decrease inflammation in the tummy.
    Come down to your forearms with the roller placed perpendicular under your left hip. Bend your left knee so that your heel is pointing toward the sky. Place your right inner knee and thigh parallel to the roller.

    Twist your body slightly to the right and roll up and down the attachment of your hip and psoas, keeping your breath smooth as you move.

    Repeat 8 times.

  • 6. Rolling Like a Ball

    6. Rolling Like a Ball

    Benefits: Helps massage the spine and the kidneys.
    Sit on the mat with your knees bent and bring the roller in front to balance on your shins, holding on to either end of it with your hands. Relax your shoulders, broaden your back, deepen your abdominals, and make a balanced C-shaped curve of your spine from head to tail. Lift your feet off the mat and balance on, or just behind, your sitz bones. Inhale as you pull your lower abs in and let gravity roll you back to the top of your shoulders, smoothing out and oxygenating the tissue around your entire spine. Exhale and return to the upright position and pause to balance, all while keeping your belly scooped and spine in a C-curve.

    Repeat 8 times.

  • 7. Rolling Mermaid Twist

    7. Rolling Mermaid Twist

    Benefits: Energizes the spine, cleanses the internal organs, and improves digestion.
    Sit with the roller close to your left side and bend your left shin in front of you, your right shin to the right side of you so that your foot is back by your right hip.

    Twist your upper body to the left and place both sets of fingertips on the roller. With your chest open, sit up as tall as you can and inhale as you roll the roller away from you. This will roll out your forearms and twist your body even more to the left, wringing out your organs and opening your neck.

    Repeat 5 times on each side.

  • 8. PSOAS Back Bend

    8. PSOAS Back Bend

    Benefits: Opens the heart and increases blood flow to the belly.
    Place the roller behind you and come on your knees, hip-width apart and toes together. Inhale deeply as you reach your arms up and lean your hips forward. Exhale as you hinge back and reach your left hand to the roller, keeping your right arm reaching up. Inhale as you look up. Exhale as you lean your hips back, round your head forward, soften your left elbow, and reach your right arm down. Inhale as you come back up.

    Repeat 5 times on each side.

  • 9. Sexy Cat with Twist

    9. Sexy Cat with Twist

    Benefits: Calms the nervous system and rejuvenates the body and mind.
    Place the roller about 6-9 inches in front of you. Inhale as you reach your arms up and exhale as you round your spine up and over until your fingertips are on the roller. Inhale as your roll the roller away from you and up your forearms. Then, keeping the roller out in front of you, exhale as you lean your hips over to the right and inhale as you reach them to the left. Next, exhale as you round the spine and roll back up.

    Repeat 8 times.

  • 10. Supported Saw Twist

    10. Supported Saw Twist

    Benefits: Stimulates the lungs, kidneys, and liver to release toxins.
    Sit up tall, with your sitz bones on your roller perpendicular to your body with legs extended in front of you. Inhale and reach your arms out to the side like the letter T and then exhale through your mouth as you reach your right hand to the outside of your left leg while twisting your spine, head, ribs, and organs to the left. Keep your right sitz bone rooted to the roller throughout. Inhale to lift your core and spine up and exhale as you twist to the other side.

    Repeat 6 times on each side.

  • 11. Inverted Sacral Roll Spine Twist

    11. Inverted Sacral Roll Spine Twist

    Benefits: For mental clarity, and to reduce headaches and improve digestion.
    Place the roller under your sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of your spine). Place your upper back and shoulders to the mat, keeping your waist elevated in a bridge position. Lift your knees up over your hips.

    Place your hands on either side of the outer edge of the roller to make sure it doesn’t slip. The roller and your shoulders and ribs should remain stable throughout this exercise. Inhale as you twist your knees and hips to the right and twist your head to the left. Next, exhale as you twist your knees and hips to the left and twist your head to the right.

    Repeat 6 times on each side.

Part Two: Bounce Your Hangover Away

You don’t even have to leave your house: Do a 10-minute detoxifying bounce, shower, and you will feel golden!

Step Three: Nourish

It’s important to get some food into your body that you can digest easily. This is my sure-fire Hangover Smoothie recipe:

  • Coconut water to restore electrolytes and hydrate.

  • Frozen blueberries to fuel with antioxidants.

  • Bananas to soothe your belly and boost potassium.

  • A few slices of peeled cucumber to promote alkalinity.

  • Protein powder to balance blood sugar and reduce sugar cravings.

  • Organic Lifeway Kefir to help balance the digestive tract and soothe the tummy.

  • Coconut oil to balance blood sugar and feed the brain with healthy fats.

  • Spinach to detoxify and enhance alkalinity.

Step Four: Rest

Take a nap. Your body needs to rest so it can concentrate on eliminating that alcohol.

Lauren Roxburgh is the author of Taller, Slimmer, Younger: 21 Days to a Foam Roller Physique. Certified in the fields of Structural Integration, classical Pilates, nutrition, and pre/post-natal yoga, Lauren is a body alignment, fascia, and movement specialist.

Related: Foam Rolling Exercises