Massage offers a range of benefits including injury prevention and reduced muscle soreness & joint stiffness
In today’s world, there is a greater emphasis on health and body image. Therefore, the vast majority of people are physically active to their own relative standards. The lack of green space in our cities like Dublin encourages people to run on our streets and paths thus putting significantly greater strain on our muscles and joints.
Due to our more sedentary occupations and the sudden loading which occurs whilst running on the roads, the role of Prehab as discussed in our previous blog becomes more essential as our muscles and joints are prone to overloading and getting tighter thus making us prone to injuries and strains.
So, what are the essentials to maintain a healthy balance between our working and fitness lifestyles?
The core principles in maintaining this equilibrium with a specifically designed prehab program are a combination of relative strengthening / conditioning, stretching, foam rolling and massage.
This is even more essential if your daily routine involves hours behind the desk, in the car, or at meetings before or after your daily exercise session. Maintaining a seated position or standing position for extended periods both tightens and decreases activation in various muscle groups thus making us more prone to muscular strains and tendinopathies.
So how can massage help?
Making massage a part of your weekly exercise programme offers a range of benefits including injury prevention, improved postural awareness, reduced muscle soreness / joint stiffness, reduced recovery following exercise. Thus, allowing athletes and novices to maintain their commitment to their training programme.
Injury prevention/Prehab and Faster rehabilitation after injury
The vast majority of soft-tissue injuries benefit from some form of massage as a treatment, however this must be administered at the correct stage of healing if injury has already occurred. Research has proven that massage can be most effective 36-48 hours post injury. The time frame depends on the exact location and nature of the injury.
Massage after the bleeding/acute inflammation stage of injury can influence the secretion of fluids necessary to help tissue repair and to help align the scar tissue formation to allow optimal loading and recovery through rehab. The increased circulation of blood flow and the incorporation of lymphatic drainage helps to promote tissue regeneration and reduces persistent inflammation.
On a more basic level Massage can help to modulate pain by helping to modify some of the unnecessary pain signals that are being sent to the brain following injury. Remember the take home message from our Pain Blog “Pain is an output from the brain not an output from the body”.
It can also be used to reduce painful muscle spasm / cramping and to encourage relaxation by stimulating the nervous system.
Reduced muscle soreness and joint stiffness
To build muscle, we must first break muscle down, this is most severely felt when we have eased off exercise for a period and then return to activity as we develop a condition called DOMS (Delayed onset muscle syndrome). In such circumstances massage assists in breaking down the resultant adhesions and scar tissue which causes pain and stiffness during recovery phase of exercise.
Massage increases blood circulation, helping provide the oxygen and nutrients that the tissues need for recovery. The manual pressure / heat of massage enhances the exchange of substances between the blood and tissue cells to encourage decreased recovery times between training sessions.
Reduced recovery time after exercise
Resultant Muscle soreness following exercise is caused by a build-up of waste products such as lactic acid and carbonic acid. Message reduces the build-up of these substances by increasing the circulation in the tissue and lymphatic drainage. Massage also improves range of motion, muscle flexibility and decreases muscle tension following exercise.
Improved postural awareness
Massage not only helps to loosen tight muscles but it also helps to stimulate under-active type II postural muscles thus improving postural awareness and the ability to maintain postures throughout the day.
So, if you want to make the most of your exercise routine or would like to reduce pain and improve postural awareness, make massage an integral part of your weekly training.
If you are planning to progress onto longer distances following the completion of the mini marathon or similar events, a light massage before race day will help stimulate the muscles and a deeper post-race massage will reduce the occurrence of the dreaded DOMS and aid recovery to help get you ready for your next event.
Here at Platinum Physiotherapy we have opened Massage clinics in our various studios with our chattered Physiotherapists and athletic therapists. Be proactive and take advantage of all the amazing benefits of massage therapy.