Exercise and Massage Therapy
We often think of a massage as a luxury experience, more of a special occasion than an everyday or weekly session. There are various reasons to get a massage and a good massage will do more than just make you feel good. Massage can have a tremendous effect on the body and people do not realize how many benefits there are to receiving one. It doesn’t matter what kind of shape you are in, massage can be a great way to help both active and sedentary individuals.
More and more sports and fitness enthusiasts are including massage as a part of their conditioning programs. It’s not just for the professional athlete or the person who is training for the Olympics. Massage is for everyone and should be looked at as a health benefit and not a luxury. There are many benefits of massage; the most commonly known benefits include relaxation, improved circulation and relief of muscle tension. Fitness enthusiasts and athletes will find that massage helps improve their flexibility. Massage can improve flexibility by lengthening the muscles and promoting relaxation. It can also help decrease the amount of soreness post workout. Massage enhances blood circulation, which increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients available to the muscles. This increase in oxygen and nutrients reduces muscle fatigue. Massage also has a great effect on the body’s ability to eliminate waste. By physically moving lactic acid out of muscles a post workout massage will greatly increase your chances of not being as sore or stiff the next day. This reduction in soreness and fatigue can help athletes train better and with more effective workouts.
Massage has a positive effect on every system in the body; it can improve your cardiovascular endurance and even reduce healing time. During a massage your body relaxes, this along with chemicals that your body naturally releases, help to dilate the blood vessels in the body. The stroking action of a massage physically helps to move blood from other parts of the body toward the heart. This increase in blood flow is comparable to that associated with exercise. The increase in blood flow also leads to an increase in red blood cells. The red blood cells are the ones that carry oxygen. An increase in oxygen carrying cells means that there is more oxygen being delivered to the muscles in the body. All of these things are going to lead to a reduction in healing time. Whether an athlete is recovering from a hard workout or from an injury, massage can help. A deep massage can reduce the formation of scar tissue at the site of an injury. It keeps the scar tissue flexible but strong so it does not interfere with muscles’ movements.
With all of the great benefits of massage it is wise to see that massage is not just for being pampered. A good massage will certainly make you feel great, but there is a lot more going on than just feeling relaxed. Working hard at work and at the gym can take a toll on the body. Massage is great way to help your mind and body stay well.
Written by: Nicole Flanagan