The practice of muscle massage has numerous benefits for both physical and mental health. It promotes better blood and lymph circulation, reduces pain, boosts cellular energy, relieves muscle tension, enhances flexibility, and improves immunity.
Regular massages can help break up scar tissue and increase the body's innate healing ability, allowing individuals to return to their routine quickly and avoid injuries.
Muscle massage is also an effective method to relieve stress and anxiety. It can lower heart rate, relax muscles, and release feel-good hormones, such as endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, which increase the sense of well-being. These neurotransmitters relieve anxiety, prevent depression, and improve motivation.
Additionally, a muscle massage can reduce the levels of cortisol that cause stress. When the body is stressed, the sympathetic nervous system releases the stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Muscle massages can also help flush out metabolic waste, which leads to inflammation and pain. This process increases blood flow to the muscles and helps them recover faster.
Studies have shown that massage treatments can significantly reduce anxiety in people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and may also show promise for individuals diagnosed with depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Furthermore, massages can increase flexibility by stimulating an increase in temperature, increasing tissue elasticity, breaking down adhesions, removing waste products, reducing swelling, and decreasing pain. Flexibility training in a regular exercise routine can reduce injuries and maximize performance.
Research has demonstrated that applying massage immediately following static stretching can increase flexibility but does not affect jump performance.
During a massage, the therapist breaks down the cross-links of collagen fibers. These fibers lie in a haphazard position over muscle fibers, making movement and flexibility difficult. By breaking down these fibers, the therapist can help increase the muscle's elasticity, allowing it to stretch and relax and move in its full range of movement.
Massage can also reduce pain and inflammation, a common problem for people with chronic conditions. It helps the body function properly by reducing nerve compression and increasing blood flow, allowing it to heal more efficiently.
Muscle massage can increase the production of mitochondria, the organelles in cells that power cellular metabolism. The more mitochondria one has, the more energy the body has to heal. Inflammation can be a normal response to injury, but too much inflammation can cause harm to the body by causing further damage to nerves and tissues.
The goal of muscle massage is to reduce the amount of inflammation in the body, allowing individuals to get back to living their best life. It also reduces pain and improves overall health by boosting circulation, reducing stress, and improving sleep quality. It's a natural way to help the body get back on track after an injury or surgery.
Massage can improve athletic performance by increasing blood flow, reducing stress, and improving muscle recovery. It also helps athletes achieve a sense of calm, improving mental focus and a sense of accomplishment, particularly before race day.
Better circulation during a massage promotes blood vessel dilation and decreases blood pressure. This ramps blood flow, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to reach the muscles and increasing endurance. It can also speed up recovery after a hard workout or injury.
Muscle massage positively affects sleep, with research showing that a regular massage program can increase the hours an athlete sleeps.
Studies have also found that the number of muscles used during exercise increases after a sports massage, which can improve endurance and muscle strength. This may be because the massage helps rebuild and grow mitochondria, the key to turning cellular nutrients into energy.