Do you suffer from muscle soreness?
Whether you sit at a desk all day or workout regularly, your muscles can feel tight. Yes, even the inactivity of sitting lowers the amount of blood and nutrients that get pumped to your muscles, which makes them ache.
Strenuous physical activity that uses different muscles, or the same muscles in a different way, creates microscopic tears that lead to the pain you feel. Despite the cause of your soreness, deep tissue massage can help. Read on to learn how.
Deep Tissue Massage Perks for Muscle Soreness
A massage lasts anywhere from a half-hour to 120 minutes; time well spent when your muscles hurt.
How can deep tissue therapy in conjunction with your active stretching benefit you?
It Feels Good
Plain and simple, a massage feels good. It’s like the massage therapist’s hands rub the soreness right out of you, as all your nerve endings light up.
In a sense, they do. Putting pressure onto a sore spot hurts for a moment, and then seems to ease the pain.
But, the feel-good sensation does not only come from the physical aspect of your massage. The chemical release caused by rubbing the skin plays a significant role in easing your pain.
When the therapist places pressure on your skin, it stimulates the vagus nerve. This sensory nerve releases a chemical cocktail of wellness into your bloodstream.
Pressing on this nerve directly triggers the release of acetylcholine. This chemical messenger not only changes the way you experience pain but also activates pathways in the brain responsible for endorphin release.
The skin to skin contact also releases oxytocin, the endorphin responsible for human bonding and even love. This gives you an overall sense of wellbeing.
But there’s more. Oxytocin research found that this compound may rejuvenate old muscle tissue, playing a role in muscle recovery to heal your injuries as well as ease your pain.
Serotonin also plays a role in modulating pain perception. This endorphin helps regulate muscle contractions and may ease tightness, which will reduce pain.
Another major feel-good hormone released during massage is dopamine, which plays a role in how happy we feel.
Your muscles literally rip when they grow, which causes the soreness you feel. However, pain may also come from an injury, like a pulled muscle.
Massage will help your muscles heal. Rubbing the muscles and using pressure facilitates circulation by breaking up congested areas and then allowing a flush of blood with the release of pressure.
This increase in blood flow to muscle tissue feeds your cells both oxygen and nutrients. This nourishment speeds up the time it takes for your muscles to heal.
Massage also increases the production of mitochondria, the organelles of your cells responsible for powering the production of ATP in cellular metabolism. More mitochondria lead to more ATP, which means increased energy to heal.
When an injury occurs, your body uses inflammation as a defense mechanism. It creates a cushion around the healing tissues and serves as a wall to keep foreign invaders from taking advantage of the opportunity to infect.
But, this inflammation also creates pain as it presses on the nerves. Moreover, too much inflammation acts counterintuitively and actually damages your cells, nerves, and tissues.
Massages can reduce the inflammation to ease your pain and prevent further injury.
The physical mechanism for reducing inflammation comes as you increase blood flow. The new blood pushing through your arteries and veins also moves stagnant fluid through the body.
Chemically, the massage creates the production of cytokines, chemical messengers that work for your immune system to regulate things like fever, pain, and inflammation. The specific messengers released during massage trigger the body to release the fluid causing swelling.
Stretching and Tension Release
A deep tissue massage will work out all those knots and kinks you feel. This happens through both physical and chemical mechanisms.
Physically, the massage lengthens your muscles as you relax, which gives them a nice stretch. Chemically, those endorphins allow you to relax, which helps to reduce all that built-up tension in your body.
Muscle Recovery Tips
Though a massage will help ease your sore muscles, you need to make an effort to help your muscles recover once the session is over. Follow recovery and workout stretching tips so you can quickly feel good again.
Hydrate and Eat Right
Dehydration will only worsen your soreness. Hydrating will help your body heal and flush the toxins released during your massage.
Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins to give you all the nutrients your body needs to heal. You may want to eat a little extra protein, like eggs, chicken, and fish, as protein fibers make up your muscle cells.
Stretching your muscles will keep them feeling loose. Tight muscles cause pain and a limited range of movement.
Try popular stretches, like cat stretch, upward dog, or Samson stretch before bed and when you wake up in the morning to prevent tightness from setting in again. Remember, you want to feel a gentle pull, but no serious discomfort while stretching.
Healing takes a ton of energy. Sleep a little more during muscle recovery to help assist your healing.
Most adults need about 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Shoot for about 9 or 10 until your muscles heal.
As you sleep, your body releases human growth hormone, which aids in building new muscle.
Your body also increases protein synthesis as you catch your zs. This process is essential for growing new muscle and repairing injured tissue.
Focus On Self-Care for Recovery
Some people view getting a deep tissue massage as overindulgent. But, you should never apologize for taking care of yourself. Listen to your body’s needs, and act accordingly.
We understand the importance of self-care and want to help keep you feeling fit. Are you interested in getting stretched? Learn more about who we are and how we can help you on our website.