Massage isn’t just a feel-good way to indulge or pamper yourself, it is a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and wellbeing. Chartered Physiotherapist and Director of Blizard Physiotherapy, Jenny Blizard explains why.
WHAT IS MASSAGE?
During a massage muscle and myofascial tissue, the thin, strong, fibrous connective tissue that provides support and protection to your muscles and bones, are moved around under the skin. This movement improves the sliding and gliding between the different layers of tissues and within your muscles when you run.
CAN IT HELP WITH INJURY?
The benefits of massage are well documented for their positive effects on pain. The pain experienced as a result of soft tissue injury can interrupt your training. The pain relieving effects of massage allows the affected areas to tolerate load better, which in turn strengthens your weak soft tissues that may have caused the injury in the first place.
A good physiotherapist will be able to detect variations in your soft tissues and correct muscle imbalances before they become serious enough to cause discomfort or seriously impact your performance.
Studies have shown that in relation to running massage can:
- Improve soft tissue function
- Support recovery
- Increase range of motion around a joint or within a muscle
- Decrease muscle stiffness and fatigue after exercise
- Reduce inflammation and swelling
- Reduce muscle tension and spasm
- Help you monitor muscle tone
- Promote relaxation
MASSAGE MAKES YOU HAPPY
Research has shown that regular massage results in a 31-50% decrease in cortisol levels, the stress hormone, which decreases the tone in your muscles in response to acute or long-term stress. Massage also causes a 30% increase in serotonin and dopamine levels in your body. These are part of the group of “happy” chemicals resulting in a feeling of calm relaxation making chronic or habitual as well as acute or short-term stress much easier to overcome.
MASSAGE KEEPS YOU HEALTHY
Massage increases the immune system’s cytotoxic capacity, the activity level of the body’s natural “killer cells” which protect us against bacteria, viruses and other foreign invaders. These cells are part of our lymphatic system, which feeds cells into the body and filters out dead cells and invading organisms such as bacteria. Massage is an excellent aid to lymphatic drainage, resulting in the body being less vulnerable to infection and illness.?