Take on some heavy lifting at work this week? That new workout program making you feel the burn? Tender muscles from an uphill hike on Sunday?
Or perhaps, like the vast majority of people today- You’re just feeling the stresses of modern life manifesting in heavy, achy muscles as you hold tension pretty much everywhere?
We don’t know about you, but that massage is sounding pretty appealing right now.
We already know massage feels great for sore, tight, and achy muscles.
But we’re always the curious type, so today we wanted to delve into the real reasons why massages have a seemingly miraculous effect on muscle aches and pains.
Here’s where the true magic in massage unfolds:
Understanding the Complexity of Muscles
One of massage’s biggest targets in the body:
Getting right into the depths of muscle tissue through manipulation and stimulation. It works in several powerful ways to increase the health of the muscle fibers, which in turn provides relief for those who are experiencing soreness and prevents injury from occurring in the first place.
For the critical role they play in our existence, we give our muscles surprisingly little consideration- that is, until they start to hurt or not function as we expect them to, of course!
Giving our muscles some TLC on the front end can help prevent any pains or impeded function.
When we help nurture this incredibly complex system that creates our body’s movement, we can get the jump on maintaining many of our necessary processes.
So, how does massage physiologically help our muscle health, keeping them supple and strong?
Massage Increases Blood Circulation
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Muscle tissue thrives on a fresh supply of oxygenated blood, whose circulation is increased through massage.
Let’s take a look at what happens when we exercise, as a specific example to properly understand what happens to our muscles when we use them.
Exercise causes temporary damage to muscle fibers, as we intentionally create small tears through exerting key muscle groups. These tears go on to repair themselves, later being rebuilt and creating strength. This tearing down and rebuilding process is where muscle bulk and strength comes from as we work out.
When we damage muscle, massage is important for ushering in an effective rebuilding phase within the tissue. This increased blood circulation means muscles have the tools they need to heal and repair the damage that’s been done.
We don’t even need to be running a marathon or deadlifting heavy weights at the gym for our muscles to be “damaged” however; even just our daily tasks and regular movements create tiny tears to our muscles which need to be rebuilt.
That’s why healthy blood circulation is critical to our bodies feeling their best and repairing themselves effectively, even if we’re not pumping iron.
Regular massage increases blood circulation to not only assist muscle repair, but it allows effects that influence our entire bodies as they receive added tools to increase their efficiency.
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Massage Combats Inflammation
Decreasing inflammation is another benefit that comes from regular massaging.
Inflammation can have substantial effects on the body. While it’s an important alarm system to alert us to injury, and has its own function in cell repair; too much inflammation is damaging and painful when present in large doses.
If inflammation is occurring at a site due to a muscle’s reaction to exercise, it may be causing pain and inhibiting the individual.
Massage works to lower inflammation by causing a genetic reaction to occur, and more mitochondria to be produced in response to the stimulation.
The mitochondria converts nutrients into energy we can use, which allows our muscles to be more efficient.
Massage Helps Muscles & Nerves Communicate
Muscles and nerves correspond closely, working together to send signals and create fluid, coordinated body movements.
When a muscle is working, its expansion can press on a surrounding nerve. This doesn’t occur when the muscle is relaxed, however.
As our bodies are almost constantly moving to get us through our daily lives, our muscles are always on duty.
Even the seemingly relaxed state of simply sitting upright requires muscle groups to be working; to hold our heads up, our backs straight, and our bodies in alignment.
Our poor muscles and the nerves they’re pressing on hardly ever catch a break!
Massages are an excellent way to ensure that muscles are reaching their full relaxed potential and providing rest to the surrounding tissue, giving the nerves a break from being pressed on.
Muscles that remain tight after exercise can cause pain, so giving them the relaxation which massage provides can increase comfort and provide release.
What Kind of Massage is Best for My Sore Muscles?
Different massages are more appropriate at various levels of healing. If muscles are sore from exercise or general daily use, you’ll benefit from a different type of therapeutic massage than if your soreness is the result of an injury.
As with all things health-related, check with your doctor or physical therapist if you’re treating an acute muscle injury, as certain stimulation may be uncomfortable for specific torn muscle groups at their various stages of healing.
For the majority of folks, however, you can stick to this rule of thumb: If it feels good, it probably is.
Always listen to your body, and adjust the pressure and focus of which muscle areas you’re targeting those restorative massages on, to ensure the most expansion in healing benefits to your body.
The Slabway Full Body Shiatsu Massage Chair puts you right in the driver’s seat on your muscle relief journey. With complete customization options, targeted heat, compression air bags and responsive massage rollers that conform to your body’s curves... Your sore, tired muscles will be in for a treat.
Slabway Full Body Massage Chair
The Slabway Massage Chair is back in stock.
Full body Massage - Reaching from your neck to your feet, almost every part of your body experiences the full massage treatment
Built in Heat Therapy System - Relaxes and eases tense muscles
Shiatsu Results - Rejuvenates the mind and body, removing physical stress and more...
May massage pave your way to full-body health and comfort,
Fefe Slabway Wellness Contributor