What Does Massage Do To Muscles?

So, you’re interested in getting a massage for your sore and aching muscles. But what even happens to them and how does a massage therapist make them better? There’s a lot of information out there that talks about how you’ll feel better and recover from injuries with a massage, but hardly what actually happens to them. Fear not. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about what does massage do to muscles and why you should get one.

What Does Massage Do To Muscles?

When you receive a massage from a massage therapist, they will use a range of techniques to apply pressure onto your muscles. What they use will depend on the type of massage you want or the type that they think is best for you. And from that, you will get many different benefits from massages. So now let’s explain what massage does to muscles.

Stretch Your Muscles

Massages are much better than stretching muscles ourselves

The first thing that a massage will do to your muscles is stretch them. During a massage, your muscles will have pressure applied to them by being pushed and pulled in different directions. In doing this, your muscles react by stretching and contracting, becoming more flexible and less tight. This manual method of stretching your muscles without you controlling them will also raise their temperature, further helping them to be more flexible.

An added effect of this stretching will be an increase in the range of motion possible. This means that your muscles will have an easier time doing the motions you want them to do. Surrounding muscles also won’t have to compensate for a lack of ability to fully move a tight muscle, giving them an easier time and preventing injury. Finally, the stimulation of gamma motor neurons, which controls the contraction and stretch sensitivity of your muscle fibres, will further increase the range of movement.

Relieves Muscle Strain

Overworking a muscle will cause inflammation and pain

Ever felt pain in a muscle of yours where you couldn’t make it move like normal? Your muscle acts like this when it becomes strained, because it was stretched out too far or it was overworked. This is a common occurrence in people who try to lift objects that are too heavy for them, or when a person is overtraining. Your muscle fibers will tear and inflame, causing you pain and restricted movement.

The stimulation from a massage will give your muscles the stimulation they need to ease the pain and help them heal. To be specific, massages with heavy pressure, such as a deep tissue massage will be able to reach the strains deep in your muscles. This will relieve pressure being put onto the nerves surrounding an inflamed muscle, and also stimulate them to dull the pain signals sent to your brain.

Increases blood flow

Yet another thing that explains what does massage do to muscles is the extra blood circulation you get. Blood gets pushed into your muscles during the massage, carrying extra nutrients like oxygen and white blood cells. Think of these as healing supplements for your muscles, and its effect is best felt after an injury or after intense exercise.

Forcing blood through inflamed muscles will also give anti-inflammatory effects by removing blockages in your blood vessels. This in turn improves your mind-body health with better blood circulation throughout your body.

Why Can Your Muscles Get Sore And Stiff?

Muscle soreness, or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), is caused by the inflammation of muscles when their fibres break down and repair. The main cause will be from using our muscles during exercise or when doing a new physical activity. The good news is that your muscles will be stronger after they repair themselves.

Another important concept to understand about our muscles and why they feel sore and stiff is muscle thixotropy. This is when your muscles become stiff from not using them, like when you’re sitting at a desk all day. The stiffness will go away with more movement. Massages will help your muscles loosen up again.

What Types of Massages Can You Get For Muscles? 

Tell your massage therapist how you feel and then ask them what massage is best for you

There are many different massage therapy options out there. Each one will use a different set of massage techniques. You can request your massage therapist to give you a specific one, or you can ask them what they would recommend for you. Or you can even experiment and see which massage feels the best for you.

Deep Tissue Massage

As the name suggests, a deep tissue massage will stimulate deep muscle tissue. A massage therapist will do this by applying heavy pressure to target the inner layers of your muscle fibers. This is great for reducing pain and relieving injuries by breaking up scar tissue and increasing blood flow.

This massage is a great choice for people looking to fix problem areas and for muscle recovery after a tiring workout session. Please remember that because these massages give heavy stimulation, you should not exercise within 24 hours of having one.

Sports Massage

Perform at your best after a sports massage

This is another type of massage where the name gives away what it is. Sports massages involve trained massage therapists using techniques that specifically help sports injuries and soreness. These are good for treating injured tissue and muscles that prevent you from athletically performing at your best.

Swedish Massage

A Swedish massage is the most common type of massage that you will come across when going to a massage therapist. This massage makes your muscles feel good and relaxed without applying too much pressure on your muscle tissue. Light to medium pressure is used, with techniques like long strokes, kneading, and circular motions. They’re also an alternative long-term solution to medication for chronic pain

Hot Stone Massage

Relax your muscles and mind with the help of a hot stone massage

Hot stone massages use similar techniques to the Swedish massage, except with the added use of heated volcanic stones. These smooth and flat stones get heated in water up to 130 degrees celsius and placed onto various parts of the body. After a few minutes, the stones get removed and the areas where they were placed are massaged using Swedish massage techniques. 

The hot stones help to provide extra blood circulation and ease tension in muscles. They raise muscle temperature and dilate surrounding blood vessels. Because of the heat, you must stay hydrated to prevent the stones from burning your skin.

What Does Massage Do To Muscles? It Rewards Them!

Now that you have the answers to what does massage do to muscles, it’s time for you to go out and get one yourself! A great alternative to visiting a massage therapist is to get a massage chair from OSIM Australia. You can put one in your home or workplace, wherever it suits you best. This way, you won’t need to go out of your way to book an appointment and travel to see someone before getting your well-deserved massage.

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