I used to think that getting a massage on a regular basis was somewhat of a luxury and only required when on vacation or something to reward yourself with. However, I learned that getting a massage regularly can help your muscles recover properly after strenuous workouts. Last week, I went to a nail salon close by my workplace to get a manicure and I decided to get a 10-minute chair massage also. My masseur helped me face forward on a chair with my face resting in a cradle looking down towards the floor. This sitting posture helped my back and neck completely relax while the masseur used the Swedish massage technique to relieve muscle tension. This type of massage is also used to enhance the flow of blood to the heart, remove waste products from tissues, stretch ligaments and tendons, and ease physical and emotional tension.
Halfway through the massage, the masseur asked, “Do you workout?” I replied, “Yes, on a regular basis, actually.” Then, to my surprise, he remarked, ” Well, your shoulder muscles, especially your deltoids and your trapezius, are very stiff and I would be concerned if you didn’t workout.” He was referring to the muscle soreness in my neck, shoulders and my upper back. The medical name for muscle soreness is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS. It is thought to be due in large part to inflammation of the muscle as a result of microtears of the muscle fibers. One of the treatments to help sore muscles is to receive a massage because it is thought to simulate blood flow to the area and diminish swelling within the muscle.
After the massage, I felt as if my muscles were not tight and stiff as they were before. I even felt my mood shift from being anxious to relaxed. I know that stretching is crucial before and after working out but I would highly recommend getting a massage once or twice a month to help ease muscle soreness. In the coming weeks, I’ll include a post about different ways to take care of muscle soreness so stay tuned!
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