Everyone knows that massage has benefits and everyone knows that exercise has benefits, but do you know that both massage and exercise can work hand in hand to achieve your performance and fat loss goals?
Massage along with exercise can work together like peanut butter and jelly, like Simon and Garfunkel, Batman and Robin and other stuff that works well together…
The world is full of dichotomies
We have yin and yang, left and right, up and down, anabolic and catabolic and massage and exercise. When we train, play sports or exercise in general we are breaking our bodies down.
Anytime we create movement with resistance, said resistance creates micro tears in our muscles. This activity activates the sympathetic nervous system, our fight or flight response, that releases catabolic hormones like epinephrine, norepinephrine, testosterone, cortisol and adrenaline that help us exercise and sustain exercise for various bouts of time. This excretion of hormones and breaking down of muscle then needs the proper nutrition, hydration and rest to grow and repair.
This is what makes our muscles grow and get stronger essentially.
Then on the other side we have massage. Massage is essentially an anabolic activity. Depending on the type of massage or technique used it can be somewhat catabolic.It can create energy within the body that make you more alert and ready for action.
These would be massages under 15 minutes and along the lines of sports massage and chair massages. For the sake of this article we are talking about therapeutic massage.
Benefits of Massage
Therapeutic massage is anabolic to where it helps the body recover and grow through various pathways. This type of massage activates the parasympathetic nervous system, our grow and repair response. This stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system then leads to wide range health benefits.
Here are a few:
Massage can lower your blood pressure. This is why when you receive a massage you feel a little light headed afterwards.
Massage can create a pump effect to remove toxins that are clogging your lymphatic system (Read about Lymphatic Drainage here).
Massage can decrease your recovery time after a session because of increases in bloodflow, which brings nutrients and oxygen rich blood to damaged muscle for expedited growth and repair.
Massage can find trigger points for trapped nerves and find adhesions in damaged muscle that can limit our range of motion and mobility. Limited range of motion leads to injury so alleviating these mobility and flexibility issues decreases the risk of injury which can lead to better results in performance.
Due to our everyday habits of how we sit, sleep and stand, posture can be compromised and joints can get out of centration. Massage can correct postural imbalances and asymmetries put joints back in centration, again decreasing the risk for injury.
Massage increases levels of serotonin. Serotonin influences our mood, appetite, sleep, body temperature regulation and promotes a sense of calm and well-being. Less stress means less cortisol and other stress hormones. Less stress hormones equals less fat storage.
I think you are probably getting the point at this stage. When used together, massage along with exercise can have a doubly positive impact on our daily lives.
Like quality nutrition and exercise, massage and exercise must be done consistently through either foam rolling, self-myofascial release or by a licensed massage therapist to see the long term benefits.
Connect here with WatchFit Expert Michael Keane