A massage never feels better than when your muscles are sore from a workout. It might seem like nothing more than an indulgence, but scientific study has shown that a post-exercise massage actually has serious physiological benefits. If you need an excuse to treat yourself, here are some great reasons to indulge in the healing effects of a massage.
The benefits of a massage immediately after strenuous exercise include improved circulation and and reduced muscle pain. And these aren’t just immediate benefits; the muscle soreness that sometimes sets in a day or two later doesn’t happen, and blood circulation is stronger for up to 72 hours afterward.
The most recent study on the subject, which was published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, was conducted on a group of sedentary young adults. The subjects performed leg extensions until normal workout muscle injury occurred and feelings of soreness set in. The members of the group that received a Swedish massage immediately afterward reported no muscle soreness during evaluations, which were conducted once every following day. Members of the group that didn’t get the massage were still sore 48 to 72 hours later! Blood flow was also checked using ultrasound, and the Swedish massage group saw improvements here all the way to the end of the three-day evaluation period.
Why Swedish Massage?
So why was Swedish massage chosen? According to Amy (click here), it’s designed specifically to improve blood flow and break down scar tissue using long, smooth strokes combined with circular movements and taps that press layers of tissue against each other. The joints are also engaged to further improve circulation. Blood flow is key to the relief of muscle soreness, as a buildup of lactic acid is what causes it, and better circulation means that lactic acid can be removed from muscle tissue more quickly.
That doesn’t mean that other styles of massage can’t also have benefits — both deep tissue and sports therapy massages are specifically designed to relieve muscular injury, for example. But the Swedish technique has been the one most commonly used in studies of this nature.
A 2012 study of a group of fit young men saw similar recovery results, as did a 2013 study that directly compared immediate and delayed massage (in rabbits). And while sports massage has many therapeutic benefits of its own, a 2010 study actually indicated that it reduced blood flow to overworked muscles.
Making Time For A Massage
If you go to a gym that has a masseuse who specializes in the Swedish technique, you’re all set. But not all of us are so fortunate. Swedish massage is the most common form and isn’t hard to find, but the trick is getting it in right after you’re done exercising.
You might just be able to talk your partner into a quick rubdown, though they’ll need to brush up on proper form for you to actually get some benefit out of it. If you just need a leg massage, you could also teach yourself how to do it. There are also some devices that can help, such as body rollers. Whatever the case, try it for yourself and you might just be done with post-workout muscle soreness for good!
This article was contributed on behalf of Amy’s Skin Care. Check out their website and see how you can beautify yourself with Amy’s Skin Care today!