Many people, when they think of massage therapy, think of it as a luxury or spa treatment. It is a way of pampering yourself. While this is true, massage therapy also plays a major role in our fitness and health goals. There are many benefits to massage therapy that we may sometimes overlook.
Faster recovery. Whether it is the first time you have ever stepped into a gym or you are an all star athlete there is no doubt that massage can aid in faster recovery and decrease the intensity of delayed onset muscle soreness. We all want to be in tip top shape and back to our normal routine as fast as possible but sometimes working out can slow us down in the aftermath. Regular massage encourages circulation and healing in our body tissues. Depending on how often and how intensely you train or work out will determine how often you would need to keep up with massage. Monthly is ideal but it could be needed up to once or week or even before or after every performance. Knowing your body and your routine will help you decide what is best for you.
Increase range of motion. Much like stretching or foam rolling, massage helps to relax and loosen the skeletal muscles. At one point or another we've all experienced "trigger points" or "knots" that can cause our body parts to decrease or lose function. With regular massage, these trigger points can be released allowing us to return to normal movement. In fact, massage also offers passive stretching as part of the protocol. When you are feeling particularly tight in an area or just want to work on the flexibility, be sure to mention this and request stretching to your therapist who will be able to assist you.
Coping with trauma. There are many things in life that can take a toll on us. Physical and mental disabilities, disease and loss to name a few. Sometimes the simplest gesture such as human touch can relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression that come with uncontrollable factors. We often take for granted how necessary it is for us to obtain physical contact from each other. A hug or a pat on the back could do wonders, imagine the impact massage can have as well. For physical exertion me might as for deep tissue or orthopedic massage to relieve the pain, but in this case, a simple relaxing Swedish massage could do the trick to help relieve stress.
Relaxation. Rest is a valuable factor in our quest to remain healthy and yet one of the things we tend to neglect the most. Stress, anxiety or even a busy schedule can keep us from getting the proper sleep that we need. It is important that throughout the business of our lives we take a moment to slow down, meditate, breathe and allow ourselves to relax. Massage calms the body's nervous system and can help to put us in our parasympathetic state. If sleep is an issue, try getting a massage in the evening after work or after your work out. A warm bath and soothing music can also help to de-stress our minds and body.
Maintaining a well-oiled machine isn't always easy. It takes some dedication but mostly it involves developing good habits. As soon as something becomes habit or routine it no longer feels like a chore. We must do our best to formulate these healthier and beneficial habits that we intend on sticking to. Always get help from the appropriate expert in every department. Massage is a very useful tool but it does not come without contraindication for some illness and disorders. Ask your doctor before receiving a massage.