Your muscles are important—and not just because they make you look athletic. In fact, our muscular system carries out a number of essential tasks for daily life and wellbeing. Did you know that there are six hundred muscles in the human body? Muscles are an integral part of movement, the lifting of objects, blood circulation, and even respiration.
Muscles are also responsible for a range of activities including playing an instruments, riding a bicycle, and enjoying a conversation with friends or family. Healthy muscles mean a healthy life and a healthy body. It is evident that muscles should be looked after, and play a central role in overall health.
Tight or strained muscles are caused by a variety of factors: stress, inactivity, and even too much activity can over-exert your body and cause your muscles to tense up. When your muscles are tense, it can cause you great pain and discomfort, and also restrict your general movement. Therefore, you will be much more content and at ease when you learn how to relax your muscles. Here are some muscle relaxation techniques to try out:
Massage is the art and science of rubbing and stretching muscle. Massage helps to soften the connective tissue in the muscles that can become strained and restrict flexibility and mobility. Getting a massage is the perfect way to relieve muscle tension and can also help with muscle pain caused by overwork or injury.
When a muscle becomes swollen or inflamed, this is the body’s way of telling us something is wrong with the muscle. Massaging the area can lessen inflammation and promote the growth of new mitochondria. Mitochondria are known as the energy center of the cell: they are what propels the cell to power, helping it to achieve its functions most effectively. Thus, the more mitochondria being produced, the more strong and resilient our muscles become.
Massage also promotes general health by helping blood to circulate around the body more effectively, aiding in overall relaxation, and stimulating the production of neurotransmitters that elevate mood.
Therefore, massage doesn’t only benefit your muscles: it also benefits your entire wellbeing.
Heating pads are a great way of soothing your muscles. Heat increases the flexibility of your muscles and ligaments, and reduces the amount of force needed to move a muscle. When a muscle is strained, lactic acid is often built up around the area. Applying heat to the affected area helps to disperse the build of the lactic acid. This build up contributes to the pain and discomfort you experience when your muscles are tense, so heat helps to alleviate the soreness caused by it.
There are electronic heating pads that are available for use as a muscle relaxation technique. These are often marketed as being most effective for a particular area: for example, you might find one heating pad that is suitable for your back, and another for your neck and shoulders. Having a sore back, or a sore neck and/or shoulders, is a common ailment with regards to areas of muscle tension.
You can make your own heating pad at home by submerging clean towelling fabric in hot water and using it to temporarily relax the muscle. It will not stay warm very hot though. There are also microwaveable options such as microwavable heating pads often filled with a non-perishable beady compound.
Take a Hot Bath
The notion of taking a hot bath for therapeutic purposes is not a new idea. Hot baths have been around for as long as civilization itself. This is a method that has certainly stood the test of time. It’s not uncommon to hear of people taking a bath that includes a variety of essential oils or salts to augment the healing powers of hot water. Epsom salt, for example, helps to draw out toxins from the body and relaxes the nervous system. Lavender essential oil is renowned for its ability to help with relaxation.
Hot water helps muscle fibers to loosen and relax. It is also a little known secret that it can be the best remedy for itchy bug bites. Hot baths generally help to calm the body down and release muscle tension and pain. Because strained muscles are often caused by overexertion or stress, there is nothing better than a hot bath to help you unwind both physically and mentally after a busy day.
If you’ve been physically active all day, you might want to just arrive home and flop on the couch. Gentle movement such as stretching, yoga, or a light aerobic routine, can help to relax muscles. Progressive muscle relaxation, for example, is a series of exercises that involves the voluntary tension of muscles followed immediately by the relaxation of them. This allows you to experience firsthand the sensation of releasing tension from your body, leading to greater awareness of how your muscles actually feel when they are in a mode of relaxation.