Ah. Massages. Who doesn’t enjoy them?!
Massages are a great way to feel good and reduce stress. They are also beneficial for diminishing pain and muscle tension. For this reason, many athletes and people who have had a musculoskeletal injury used them as an aid in the recovery process.
How do they help recovery?
Massages exercise the injured muscle and area around it helping it stretch. This stimulation helps reduce swelling and pain, encourages relaxation, and promotes tissue regeneration. As a result, it speeds up the recovery time of the injury, helping it heal faster. They also help increase the flexibility of the joint, which improves the range of motion.
In addition, massage therapy is known to stimulate the lymph nodes, which enhances immunity.
Massage therapy is also effective in preventing delayed onset muscle soreness, DOMS. The soreness typically peaks 24-48 hours after exercise and can last for days. However, by massaging the area after a workout you stimulate blood and lymph flow to the muscles. This circulation brings oxygen and nutrients necessary for the proteins that make up our muscles to recover and therefore prevent the soreness and fatigued feeling. It’s not to say that soreness will be completely preventable, but it can certainly help reduce its intensity. The massage compresses the muscles, which causes them to release their tension, giving us the sensation of relief. The hormones released during the massage are beneficial as well. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain relievers. They act on the brain to cause less stress.
Like exercise, the benefits of a massage are cumulative. Therefore, it is recommended to get them regularly. A good baseline is from twice a month to as often as weekly. This will vary depending on your activity level, past injuries, and level training. The higher level training, the more frequent they are suggested.
Here at The Ark, we have our very own wonderful masseuse. Bethany comes in every Monday from 4 to 6 pm excited to help work the joints and muscles giving us a hard time during the workout. If you have yet to get a massage from her or are afraid of the pain, fear not. I highly recommend her!