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december 02, 2010 04:40pm

Injuries, Exercise and Massage

There are many powerful reasons why massage is important, including detoxification and stress relief. But when people ask me why to do it or why it’s important the answer that responds to most busy New Yorkers is that it helps you get into good shape faster with less stiffness, soreness and most of all it helps prevent injuries that will set you back.

We all know the enormous benefits of exercise and moving the body. Anyone who routinely pushes their physical limits through any movement, sports, strength training and aerobics can benefit from a massage. Whether you are a weekend warrior that fits in workouts between work and family or a serious athlete, massage in an important part of any sports regimen. Sports medicine clinics and both professional and college athletic teams use massage to heal and prevent the wear-and-tear and minor injuries that naturally occur with strenuous movement. The added physiological and psychological benefits of massage also add to the reasons to do it.

Heavily exercised muscles may also lose their capacity to relax, causing chronically tight (hypertonic) muscles, and loss of flexibility. Lack of flexibility is often linked to muscle soreness, and predisposes you to injuries,
especially muscle pulls and tears. Blood flow through tight muscles is poor (ischemia), which also causes pain.

Some benefits of massage for exercise and injury prevention:

1. Reduced chance of injury by improving range of motion and muscle
flexibility.
2. Performance enhancing results with improved power and performance.
3. Shortened recovery time between workouts.
4. Maximizes the supply of nutrients and oxygen through increased blood flow and the elimination of lactic acid in the muscle (a by-products of exercise).

Massage helps the body recover from the stresses of strenuous exercise, and facilitates the rebuilding phase of conditioning. The physiological benefits of massage include improved blood and lymph circulation and muscle and general relaxation. These, in turn, lead to removal of waste products and better cell nutrition, normalization and greater elasticity of tissues, deactivation of trigger points, and faster healing of injuries. It all adds up to relief from soreness and
stiffness, better flexibility, and less potential for future injury.

With regular massage for maintenance the therapist can zero in on particular muscle groups and work specific tissues, they can help maintain or improve range of motion and muscle flexibility. The overall objective of a maintenance program is to help you reach optimal performance through injury-free training. Regular massage also gives a therapist a chance to find your unique trouble spots, perhaps from past injuries. They can pay special attention to these areas, monitor them for developing problems, and help keep them in good condition. An experienced massage therapist can also compliment treatment received from other health care professionals for various injuries.

Massage for injuries can speed healing and reduce discomfort during the rehabilitation process. Deep tissue and trigger point massage breaks up the tissues in the muscle to speed recovery.

So to sum it up, make massage part of your wellness and fitness routine. You’ll get all the benefits of relaxation and if you’re more a type A personality remember you can push yourself a little harder with less injuries and get in shape a little faster.

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