Are you allowing your muscles to recover fully between workouts? Toughing it out through the pain doing endurance workouts is not only agonizing but counterproductive.
As you lift weights or perform strenuous exercises your muscle fibers will develop micro tears. This is what stimulates muscle to repair itself bigger and stronger than ever before. But muscles take time to heal. And if you hit the gym again before your muscles have fully recovered, all you’re doing is causing further damage to your muscles, stunting their growth.
Fortunately, you can speed up your workout recovery time with massage therapy.
Helping Your Muscles to Recover Faster
Studies show that massaging sore muscles for about 10 minutes right after hours of rigorous workout has a dramatic impact on the healing response of muscle cell genes.
One type of gene acts as anti-inflammatory agent, reducing pain and soreness in the muscles.
Another gene contributes by increasing mitochondria production in the muscles. Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell and a crucial agent for muscular contraction. Thus a boost in mitochondria production will result in faster healing and growth of muscle fibers.
Ice Versus Massage
The traditional treatment for sore muscles includes icing the affected area as well as the application of anti-inflammatory medication. While these remedies are quite effective in reducing muscular inflammation, they have one major drawback in that they tend to slow down or inhibit muscle repair and growth.
On the other hand, massage has been repeatedly shown to not only relieve pain and soreness, but also speed up muscle healing and growth.
However, researchers found post-workout massages to be ineffective in reducing lactic acid in the muscles. Even if this would have been your reason for getting a massage, still the benefits of post-workout massage are too important to dismiss.
The Leg Massage Experiment
Now there’s more to love about getting post-exercise massage than just the pleasurable feeling of your muscles being kneaded by a professional massage therapist. In this particular experiment, volunteers were put through hours of rigorous training. The training was designed to produce sore muscles in the participants lasting for about a couple of days afterwards.
At the end of their workout, each participant was given a 10-minute massage on one leg only, leaving the other leg as control for the experiment. After examining the gene profiles of sample muscle tissues from both legs, they found huge differences in chemical composition between them.
The gene profiling process revealed that the massage activated gene properties that controlled muscle inflammation while at the same time boosting muscle healing and growth.
Stronger, Faster, Bigger Muscles
Further experiment reveals that after about a couple of months of intense training, the volunteers began to achieve stronger, faster, bigger and fitter muscles. This is mainly due to the dramatic increase of up to 100 percent in mitochondria volume.
Mitochondria are chiefly responsible for oxygen uptake at the cellular level. Therefore, the more your muscles have of these mitochondria, the more efficient they get at extracting oxygen needed for muscle fiber repair and regeneration.
The experiment has clearly demonstrated that massage after exercise plays a very important role in muscle recuperation and growth.
Massage Therapy in Sports Medicine and Mainstream Healthcare
In recent years, massage therapy has been steadily gaining ground in mainstream healthcare, thanks to the experts who meticulously studied the effect of massage on human muscle tissue and how various genes respond to it. And so even in mainstream as well as sports medicine, massage has gained respect as a viable treatment for a number of muscular and circulatory conditions.
Side by side with the control group, massaged muscles healed faster, suffered less inflammation and gained more strength than the control group which was simply rested and given conventional medications.
Finding a Massage Therapist
Finding a massage therapist that’s right for your needs is important. Follow these simple steps on how to go about it.
1. Identify your fitness goals and needs
Although every athlete’s primary massage therapy goals is to speed up recovery, you may also be interested in other benefits, such as:
- Stress reduction
- Relieving muscular tightness
- Relief from pain
- Enhancing your mental state
- Improving your flexibility
2. Shop around
Get a referral from your gym, healthcare provider or a friend. That’s because you want to screen out those who are illegally running their business, those who are self-taught or those unfamiliar with your specific fitness goals.
Other places to consider include wellness centers, chiropractic clinics, massage schools and spas. Give them a call and see what they have to offer.
3. Ask about their fee
Some therapists offer different rates for different massage methods. Others offer a uniform fee. Do they offer package deals at discounted rates? These are just some of the things to consider when discussing your massage therapist’s fee.
For those times when your massage therapist isn’t available, a mechanical massager such as the air compression leg massager is the next best thing. For runners, cyclists, endurance athletes or just about anyone serious about their fitness and training, this versatile air compression leg massager offers three settings to suit your needs.
It helps to improve circulation in the legs and lower calf providing soothing relief from your aches and pains. It works by filling the cuff with air, holding the air for a moment, releasing the air and then the process is repeated.
This leg massager mimics natural massaging action which is so effective for improving blood circulation and alleviating symptoms brought on by lymphoma, neuropathy, and similar ailments.