How does massage work?
Everyone knows massage feels great and if you’ve had one after you’ve been running or cycling, you know how much better your muscles work afterwards. Athletes, performers, city workers and countless clients at Physiotherapy London have felt the benefits of massage, but how many people know how a massage actually works?
Massage increases blood flow to the targeted muscles, speeding up the delivery of the nutrients they need to function properly and speeding 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, so 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 by keeping 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 deep tissue massage and a variety of techniques which may involve moving the client’s position 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. I aim to rebalance the muscle groups and work along specific chains of muscle movement. So if you come in with wrist pain I may also treat your neck and if you have tight calves I might also treat your lower back.
At Physiotherapy London, I’m often brought in to see a client later in their recovery to work on muscles that have tightened through compensatory patterns and new issues brought up in reaction to their recovery, such as someone who has been on crutches for weeks and then developed upper body pain tightness. By loosening and relaxing problem tissues my work goes hand in hand with the physiotherapist’s, helping to rehabilitate the person holistically.
Despite sports massage being a deep tissue treatment, it can be calming on the mind and soothing to the body, easing aches and pains. The experience will leave you feeling in a physically and psychologically improved state and ready for whatever your next challenge may be.
Why not feel the positive effects for yourself and book in for a massage session with me. Call on 0207 093 3499 or email email@example.com
Sports Massage Therapist