How does massage work?
Everyone knows massage feels great. If you’ve had one after you’ve been running or cycling, you know how much better your muscles work afterwards. Countless clients at Physiotherapy London have felt the benefits of massage, but how many people know how a massage really works?
Massage increases blood flow to the targeted muscles. It speeds up the delivery of the nutrients they need to function properly and speeds the removal of metabolic waste that can cause pain and delay recovery. If you don’t move around much during the day then blood flow is naturally reduced. Massage is a great way of getting everything pumping again.
Repetitive use in a stationary position (such as sitting at a desk all day) can cause muscle fibres to become hypertonic; These are the “knots” you often feel in your neck and shoulders. If untreated they eventually become painful. Massage can work on the problem tissue, lengthening it and reducing the tone in the muscle until a normal range of movement can be restored.
Imagine your muscles as a system of ropes and pulleys across your skeleton. Usually everything moves smoothly, but if one of those ropes was too short or too weak it would stretch or even snap. The same can happen to your muscles if they’re not moving properly. So massage isn’t just for treating injured tissue but for preventing injury as well. It keeps all your ‘ropes’ moving fluidly and at the right strength and length.
If you’re a dedicated athlete, massage can be essential for speeding up recovery from muscle fatigue, letting you get back to your sport quicker without resorting to painkillers or anti-inflammatories. If you’re stressed and overworked, massage can reduce the tone in the muscles and help you relax.
During a massage I feel for the problem area to identify any problems with the tissues. I use a variety of techniques which may involve moving you in order to stretch, contract or access muscles that can only be reached from certain angles.
A neuromuscular technique I love is trigger point release, where I find specific points of discomfort and hold down until I feel the muscle release underneath. This helps to loosen tight muscles, restore circulation and reduce specific areas of nerve over-excitation.
I not only look at the muscle or area where pain is present. I also look at the relating structures and pain referral areas. Our aim is to rebalance the muscle groups and work along specific lines of muscle movement. So if you come in with wrist pain I may also treat your neck; if you have tight calves I might also treat your lower back.
Despite sports massage being a deep tissue treatment, it can be calming on the mind and soothing to the body. The experience will leave you feeling physically and psychologically improved and ready for whatever your next challenge may be.
Why not feel the positive effects for yourself. Book in for a massage session with me at Physiotherapy London in Canary Wharf. Call on 0207 093 3499 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sports and Remedial Massage Therapist