Hello! I'm back. After a long sabbatical of blogging I've returned to share my insights, new finds and help information to help you all recover from injury effectively and maintain a healthy and enjoyable life through movement and fitness.
As many of your already know I am training to be a soft tissue therapist. In it's simplest form I can be referred to as a massage therapist but the techniques I am learning also help with soft tissue injury recovery. Massage is mostly regarded an enjoyable experience that helps you feel more relaxed. But it has many other important benefits for health, injury recovery and training. Read onto find out the top 5 benefits of regular massage treatment.
The flow of fluids
Massage has a pumping effect on blood circulation which helps transport nutrients for growth, repair and nutrition as well as removing waste products at a cellular level. Lymph is fluid found in tissues that is not part of blood that holds certain nutrients and also collects waste products from cells. Unlike the blood, the lymphatic system does not have a pump system. Lymph is moved through muscle contraction. However, if you are recovering from injury and unable to contract certain muscles then massage can help push lymph through the body more effectively.
Body maintenance for regular training
For those of you who train regularly massage is an important maintenance tool for recovery and increased training gains. When you exercise you create micro-trauma (tears) in muscle fibres. The body responds by laying down repair tissues (scar tissue) for healing. This is all perfectly normal. However, with repeated training sometimes the tissues doesn't get enough time to heal so scar tissue can build up without you noticing until there is a significant impairment in muscle function or pain. Regular massage therapy can help identify small areas of build up and break them down before they become an issue. Post-workout massage can increase the rate of healing and recovery which means your body is in the best working condition for your next training session.
Massage can be a great contributor to the healing of soft tissue injury. When muscle fibres are injured the body lays down scar tissue in the first stage of healing. When the fibres are healed the body clears up the excess scar tissue. However, sometimes due to a premature return to exercise scar tissue does not fully leave the healed area and then lays down more in response to micro trauma from exercise. An excessive build up of scar tissue can lead to layers of muscle fibres, which ordinarily glide over each other, sticking together. This can impair the function of the muscle and surrounding tissues and potentially lead to further injury. Massage can help break down the scar tissue and adhesions and realign the fibres so the muscle can heal and return to full function.
Localised tissue flexibility
Sometimes rather than a whole muscle, only a portion of the muscle becomes tight. Stretching the whole muscle cannot reach the portion that really needs to be stretched. Certain massage techniques can help stretch and release localised tissue and also helps to draw muscle fibres and sheets of muscle fibres and fascia (connective tissue) apart in different directions. Massage therapists can help identify areas of tightness before they start affecting performance and/or causing discomfort.
The immediate effects from massage are felt mostly through the nervous system. The direct affect of massage is that is stimulates nerve receptors in the tissues and reduces tissue tension. Nerve receptors also respond to touch, warmth and pressure which helps place the body in a parasympathetic state - otherwise known as a state of relaxation, healing and recovery. It helps decrease blood pressure, mental and emotional tension and encourages digestion. That is why you feel so good after a massage!
One stop shop
In fact, massage is beneficial on so many levels that in my opinion it can no longer be seen as a luxury or a treat. With our busy lifestyles, it is imperative that we stop and take time to relax, heal and recover. When you book a massage treatment you have no choice but to lie on the couch and be treated. Even if you don't want to go because you have a million other things you think you should be doing, after your treatment you'll feel like a different person! For me it's akin to the benefits of meditation or a micro-vacation!
As part of my training I am required to log 100 hours of practice treatments. I hold my free massage clinic on Fridays between 3-7pm in Mayfair. Treatment is 100% free until I qualify in July. The only charge is the clinic room hire of £20. So, if you would like to experience some or all of the benefits of massage email me at KT@precisionmovement.co.uk and we'll get you set up with a date for treatment!