The question I get asked the most in clinic is definitely this……
“What does massage actually do….?”
Very simply it reduces pain and relaxes tight muscles (although my clients don’t often find it relaxing haha).
In everything we do in life whether it be sport work or a mixture we use the same muscles over and over again. Over time these muscles become tight and restrict your movements, this then builds up and causes pain.
In the clinic we start light to let the skin and muscles get used to the touch and feeling. We then build pressure up to break down muscle fibres that are bonded and stuck to each other.
I like to think of muscles as spaghetti…..in a newly bought packet all nicely lined up is how they should be.
Muscles work best when they’re all aligned like this and allow you to perform the actions your body requires.
Unfortunately this isn’t the case when they’re overused they become stuck and intertwined like spaghetti that’s been boiled and left…..remember what it’s like to break this up so you end up throwing it in the bin.
This results in a poorer muscle performance, which leads to muscles being overused elsewhere.
To you they’ll feel tight and will loosen up as soon as you start moving about or exercising but once you sit back down they go straight back to tightening up again.
Once they’re broken down we can then stretch these muscle fibres using massage back to how they’re meant to be resulting in nice smooth muscle actions for yourself.
This is then the best time for us to give you appropriate strengthening exercises to increase your performance and help reduce the chance of your pain coming back.
Massage can also significantly help muscle recovery as it increases the blood flow to the muscles. This removes lactic acid quicker and flushes the waste products of exercise out of the system.
How often should I be massage?
It depends entirely on how much you train and what your day to day life is……
If you work in an office that requires you to sit for long hours at a computer then your going to want to have a deep tissue massage every 4-8 weeks combined with specific stretching at least 3-4 times a week.
If you play sports or exercise regularly or have a manual job with repeated lifting then your definitely looking at nearer 4 weeks to make sure you keep your chance of injury as minimal as possible.
And your looking at mixing up your exercise regime to make sure you hit all the vital groups without overusing one group.
Finally if your exercise is intense and you put a lot of time and effort into training then your best bet would an intense deep tissue massage every 2-3 weeks…..professional athletes often get then daily to help their training and recovery.
Massage especially deep might make you feel a little bruised and sore for a day or two but it is essential to everyone no matter what your daily or weekly routine is.
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