The potential benefits of massage therapy can greatly improve the health and lifestyle of the physically active individual by alleviating various pains and reducing the looming possibility of injury. Massage Therapy assists in nearly every aspect of post-exercise muscle recovery and can preempt some common injuries you may experience while being physically active.
The ultimate impact of sports massage therapy is to increase the health of the body’s internal tissues by improving muscle flexibility and circulation of blood and nutrients, while simultaneously removing waste and toxins.
Taking care of your nutrition by making sure the body receives enough of the right nutrients to fuel muscle repair and total energy expenditure is critical. Maintaining proper nutrition is essential to being in a state of anabolism – meaning the body is repairing and building tissue. When you sleep, your body goes into damaged muscle tissue and begins repairing it. Improper attention to nutrition can cause you to remain in a catabolic state – meaning that your body has broken down tissues through physical activity and causing “microtears” in muscles.
Do you suffer from any chronic aches or painful sensations that may impede your progress and performance? Pain is the indicator that something is wrong. Inflammation is a response to an injury and may persist for longer than it should. Massage can lessen inflammation and promote growth of new mitochondria – the energy center of the cell- in the muscle cells.
Massage alleviates muscular pain, whether caused by overwork or injury. If an athlete is in pain, he or she will not be able to perform at that ideal 100%. Chronic or acute pain inevitably can psychologically affect an individual to the point of not wanting to perform a particular favorite activity. Massage can also reduce pain by stimulating the brain’s relaxation chemicals like oxytocin.
Massage therapy can improve flexibility – defined as a joint’s range of motion. For an athlete to achieve ideal performance, he or she must achieve a decent amount flexibility. Packing on muscle in the gym generally translates to shortened muscle fibers. Massage therapy techniques can stretch the muscle fibers which promotes and maintains flexibility. High volume (how much total weight you do of an exercise) or intense (how difficult something is) training cycles and competition inevitably lead to increased muscle tension. The effects here may include disturbances of collagen scar tissue and development of various adhesions where the muscle, fascia, and other tissues stubbornly stick together. If this happens you will experience a reduction in overall flexibility and an increased chance of injury.
Every muscle has an opposite muscle. The opposite of the chest muscles are the lats, the latissimus dorsi. The opposite of the quadricep muscles are the hamstrings. Tightness in one muscle group may not be balanced by a similar degree of tightness in the opposing muscles which can cause an imbalance in the muscles. It is best to try to fix muscle imbalances through strengthening one side to equal the other, and to massage both to a similar degree of tightness.
The function of the heart is to pump oxygen and blood through the body. Sports massage strokes can improve circulation and give your body a performance boost. Fatigued muscles will generally remain hypertonic and shortened following exercise. When massaged, muscles relax and lengthen and their metabolic activity – what energy is being used – is reduced. As the muscle is being relaxing it is not using as much energy and not producing as many waste products the more it is relaxed.
A relaxed muscle isn’t compressing or exerting pressure on its surrounding tissues – improving blood circulation. Adding input to the nervous system by massaging muscles puts the body into its optimum state so it recovers faster from exercise. The massage stimulates and facilitates the body’s healing on its own.
Sleep Improvement and Tension Reduction
Sleep is a huge aspect of the recovery process. Sleep is critical to muscle growth. Massage therapy promotes improved sleeping patterns. Massage can actually improve the quantity and quality of sleep. By getting more and deeper sleep, the athlete will be better able to perform at his or her best when it comes time to daily training or competition. During sleep your body is regenerating most of the microtears in muscle tissue that was damaged during the resistance training process.
Allowing your body to deeply relax during a massage will reduce stress and tension – two things the nervous system is always dealing with alongside the physical demands training places on it. Less tensions and stress will allow you to get deeper, restful sleep, while causing you to wake up less through the night.
Contact A Massage Therapist Today
Start by asking your massage therapist what specific treatments may be right for you and your conditions or areas of concern. A massage isn’t merely a way to have a spa day – the primary purpose of a massage therapy treatment is to work to achieve optimum levels of health in your body. The professional massage therapist at Zen Body Works is an expert of different massage modalities and can help you determine the best massage regimen to fit your needs. To schedule a free initial massage, call Zen Body Works or contact us online today.