Is massage therapy a mere luxury to be indulged only on vacation, or can it be a valuable activity in your fitness program and everyday life? The health benefits of massage are wide-ranging, which makes massage something everyone should enjoy.
Massage is defined by Dictionary.com as, “the act or art of treating the body by rubbing, kneading, patting, or the like, to stimulate circulation, increase suppleness, relieve tension, etc.” Therapeutic massage, one of the oldest health care practices known to history, is based on the concept that manipulation of the body’s soft tissues, muscle, fascia, tendons, and ligaments prevents and alleviates pain, stress, discomfort, and promotes overall health and well being.
The list of benefits of massage therapy is long, and not limited to what follows. Massage’s benefits are also supported by research, not to mention verbal confirmation of its recipients!
· reduces stress
· lowers heart rate
· lowers blood pressure
· increases circulation
· increases lymph flow
· aids in elimination of toxins
· increases endorphins
· improves range of motion and flexibility
· reduces recovery time from injury
· helps with digestion
· helps with mental clarity
· promotes better sleep
· helps reduce headaches
A quick glance at this incomplete list shows that massage therapy provides an avenue to improve both physical health and mental health. For now, let’s take a look at how regular massage can be an important element in any exercise program.
Physical activity is recommended for everyone! In 2008, the US Department of Health and Human Services released the official US Physical Activity Guidelines. The recommendation shows that any activity provides some health benefits, and an increase in the frequency, intensity and duration of exercise increases the health benefits you gain.
The harder your muscles work, the more fuel required and the more waste produced. Massage therapy works on increasing the circulation of blood in the soft tissues of your body. By increasing circulation you aid the body in the natural cycle of eliminating toxins and metabolic wastes generated in resistance training.
This increase in circulation also helps your muscles repair themselves after an especially intense workout. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS, is that muscle discomfort that shows up 24-72 hours after a more-than-usual strenuous period of exercise. DOMS is caused by microfractures in muscle cells. Massage has shown to be helpful in reducing muscle soreness.
Any exercise program presents a risk for injury. Deep tissue massage has been shown effective in aiding healing, such as back sprain. Sports massage can focus on specific muscle systems, promoting flexibility and minimizing injury, and also aiding healing after injury.
The kinds of massage are almost as numerous as the benefits. It’s important to determine what style is best for you before going to get a massage. Decide if you just want to relieve stress and relax, or if you have a particular symptom or health condition you need addressed. Some styles of massage are Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Neuromuscular Therapy Massage, Sports Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Myofascial Release.
While it is well-known that good nutrition is an important key to a successful fitness program, it’s good to add that massage therapy can help anyone engaged in regular physical activity get the most out of their efforts by enhancing performance, maximizing gains, and reducing the risk for injury.
SusieInstructor, Johns Creek Fitness Kickboxing
Choe's HapKiDo of Cumming
3020 Old Atlanta Rd.
Cumming, GA 30041