Fall is on the way! Now is a great time to review your schedule and make some early plans before the busy end-of-year holiday season is upon us. Remember that stress is a major cause for most illnesses, so getting those regular massages can really help you to stay healthy and strong!
The main article this month was written specifically for people who exercise regularly, but you’ll find many interesting massage benefits that pertain to you even if you lead a more sedentary lifestyle.
Also in this month’s issue you’ll find an update on the public’s increasing awareness of the value of regular massage to improve health.
Do you have any specific questions about how massage can help you in certain situations? Be sure to ask at your next appointment.
Have a great month; see you soon for your next massage!
Legit, Science-Backed Ways a Sports Massage Can Improve Your Workout
By Sara Angle
What therapists are after is creating myofascial release to help you move better—myo refers to muscles and fascial refers to the continuous elastic sheet of connective tissue, or fascia, that covers them.
"Think of fascia like a piece of shrink wrap surrounding your muscles and providing structural support," says Nina Cherie Franklin, Ph.D., an exercise scientist and a licensed massage therapist in Atlanta. But things like sitting all day, repetitive motions, and even stress can cause it to get tight. "Loosening the fascia lets the therapist help the muscle return to its normal resting length and open the muscle for movement," says Mary E. Cody, a master licensed massage therapist at Grae Therapy in New York City.
All that might sound a little intense, but the science behind massage can translate to serious gains in your workouts. Here, four reasons you should consider it.
Boost Your Circulation— Oxygenated blood is your muscles' power supply, and new research suggests that massage can help those fuel lines work better. In a study at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a single 30-minute lower-body massage performed after a leg workout enhanced blood vessel dilation in exercisers for 48 hours. "Blood vessels that function properly are flexible and have the ability to dilate, or widen, on demand when muscle and other tissues are in need of more oxygen and nutrient-rich blood during and after exercise," says Franklin, the primary study author. Her findings suggest massage may stimulate those vessels to be at the top of their game so your muscles get max juice just when they need it.
Feel Less Sore— Not only do post-workout massages pump blood more efficiently, but people who received them reported nearly half the soreness level compared with those who didn't get a rubdown, Franklin's research found. After a tough workout, there's an inflammatory response in the muscles you just used—your body speeds blood to patch microtears in those muscle fibers—accompanied by oxidative stress. Too much stress, and your muscles can't fire as fast, as long, or as forcefully the next day or two. But massage may dampen the stress effect by lessening the severity of the inflammatory response, she says, ultimately reducing the delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) you typically feel.
Rev Up Your Endurance— There's evidence that massage may even spark your muscle cells to go into overdrive: Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario saw an uptick in the signaling for mitochondria—the powerhouse of your cells—after just one massage. How? "When the proteins involved in sensing the intercellular environment of muscles are altered—most likely from the pressure of a massage—this actually alters your gene expression, temporarily increasing the signal for new mitochondrial growth," says study author Mark Tarnopolsky, M.D., Ph.D. That's key, since mitochondria help turn fuel into energy, and the more you have, the greater your endurance capacity. Getting regular massages could potentially change the capacity of your muscles, says Dr. Tarnopolsky.
Move More Freely— Anyone who's experienced tight hamstrings knows that some exercises can be difficult when your movement is restricted. That's a sign that the fascia sheath is not allowing for a full range of motion in the hamstring, says Cody. By releasing the tight or restricted areas, she says, you'll improve your flexibility and mobility. That, in turn, might allow you to run with less effort, lift weights with more control, or just exercise a little longer.
Consumer Views & Use of Massage Therapy
- 78 percent of individuals surveyed claim their primary reason for receiving a massage in the previous 12 months was medical (50 percent) or stress (28 percent) related, according to the 20th annual consumer survey sponsored by the American Massage Therapy Association.
Medical reasons include pain relief, soreness, stiffness or spasms, injury recovery, migraines, prevention, pregnancy or pre-natal, and general well-being.
- 88 percent of individuals view massage as being beneficial to overall health and wellness.
- 89 percent of consumers surveyed believe that massage can be effective in reducing pain; with 28 percent of respondents stating they have used massage therapy for pain relief.
- 71 percent of consumers agree that massage therapy should be considered a form of healthcare.
- 50 percent of people have received a massage for one or more of the following reasons: soreness, stiffness or spasms, to relieve or manage stress, for prevention or to improve quality of life, injury recovery or rehabilitation, to keep fit or healthy/maintain wellness, pregnancy/prenatal, or to control headaches or migraines.
Do not anticipate trouble,
or worry about what may never happen.
Keep in the sunlight.
— Benjamin Franklin
The content of this article is not designed
to replace professional medical advice. If you’re ill, consult a physician.
© 2017 Massage Marketing. Used with permission; all rights reserved.