So, you want to be at the top of your game?
Your diet is dialed in. Your training plan is diverse and challenging. But you're not seeing the performance gains you hoped for?
No, the answer isn't an expensive supplement.
You just need a massage!
Sound too good to be true?
Read on to find out why massage and fitness are the ultimate combo for achieving your athletic goals.
1. Sit back, and relax.
Finding difficult to kick back between intense workouts?
When you're training hard, it can be easy to let your sleep schedule slip. But sleep is vital for proper recovery, which you need if you want to see performance gains.
Massage aids relaxation by relieving muscle tension. Making it easier to fall into a deep, high-quality sleep.
Studies have shown that athletes who invest in regular massage not only see improved sleep but reap significant psychological benefits.
Still chasing that elusive 'runner's high'? A study showed that massage was the only thing, aside from actually running, that lead to such a notable improvement in mood.
An increase in serotonin and dopamine levels was seen in subjects after they received massage. But why are these neurotransmitters useful?
Serotonin plays an important role in balancing mood. Deficiency can contribute to mental health problems including depression and anxiety.
Dopamine helps maintain the body's natural circadian rhythm. Through this chain of processes, the body adapts to different times of the day.
Are you 'tired and wired'?
High-intensity workouts paired with a demanding work schedule can cause chronically elevated stress levels. Leaving you too 'wired' to sleep at night and exhausted during the day.
Want to combat depression, ease anxiety and improve the quality of your Zzz's? Incorporate both massage and fitness into your routine for tip top serotonin and dopamine levels.
2. Reduce Pain and Prevent Injury
Do you suffer from chronic or acute pain or muscle soreness?
Trigger points are created when waste products collect in muscle tissue, causing a spasm or that familiar 'knotted' sensation.
This can be extremely painful and is prevalent both in athletes and sedentary people. A muscle spasms in the chest can easily be mistaken for a more serious condition, like a heart attack.
It's not uncommon for spasms to cause de-localised pain. Shooting pains associated with sciatica, for example, can to be caused by knots in the upper leg muscles and not by the sciatic nerve. Handheld massagers can be a great way to help address problem areas at home.
If your spinal alignment is out of kilter due to tight muscles, a deep tissue massage could be the answer. Use massage to support a correct posture and prevent aches and pains, including headaches and migraines.
Deep tissue massage targets deep rooted muscle tension by working through the layers of muscle to find and work through 'knots'. Waste metabolites accumulated within tense muscle tissue can leave you feeling rotten too, due to the increased toxic burden on your body.
3. Optimize and Protect
Want your body to run like a well-oiled machine? Rid yourself of toxic waste and prevent cell damage with massage.
Massage stimulates blood flow to the heart. When more oxygen is available to cells, they are able to function at maximum capacity.
Oxygenation accelerates waste removal via the lymphatic system, optimizing athletic performance and promoting faster healing.
That means less time on the bench and more time on the field.
Reached a plateau in your athletic performance? For quicker mass and performance gains, you can reduce your rest time between workouts when you incorporate regular massage and fitness training into your plan.
Studies show that the positive circulatory response can last for several days post-massage. This evidence suggests that massage can also have a protective effect on the body, preventing further oxidative stress.
4. Muscle Recovery
Why look after your muscles?
Well, they not only secrete beneficial hormones throughout the body but they constitute our metabolisms too. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn - even with your feet up!
Conversely, fat cells excrete inflammatory chemicals into the body. By maintaining and caring for muscle mass through your massage and fitness regime, you can help keep a lid on your body's toxic load.
Ironman triathletes experienced less pain during their recovery period and noticed a decrease in fatigue after long distance triathlons when massage was used post-race. Sports massage is designed to reduce soreness while improving flexibility and often combined with light stretching.
Inflammation is a necessary evil. But a little acute inflammation is, in fact, essential to protect cells from foreign bodies but many of us suffer chronic inflammation due to muscle damage or injury.
Massage helps to promote muscle recovery by activating biochemical signals reducing this inflammatory response.
The Bottom Line on Massage and Fitness
Looking for the missing link in your training plan? It could just be a little T.L.C.!
Like the idea of incorporating massage into your fitness routine, but not sure you can fit it all in? Check out our selection of massage chairs and get all the amazing benefits of massage in your own home.