I was in a giving mood this Christmas and decided to get myself a present. Needless to say, when I opened the present I got for myself I was excited to see that it was a massage. I have been needing one for the longest time. How myself ever knew that I needed one is beyond me!
You may think, "Are you stressed and need a massage to relax you?" Well, the answer to that is no. I am getting a massage for performance benefits. "Performance benefits? How can massage help with that and what kind of performance are you doing?" Yes, performance. Massage is very beneficial in sports performance as well as just overall movement and tissue quality. In regards to the performance I am taking part in...I am talking about my lifting. I am trying to do big things this year and feel that a massage can help me jump to some new levels.
How can massage help? Well there are a number of different thoughts and theories on this. Research is continuing to be completed on this topic and new finds are continually put out in the literature. The proposed benefits of massage include such things as a decrease in tissue adhesion, increasing local blood circulation, stimulation of parasympathetic activity, reduction in neuromuscular excitability, and pain relief.
When looking at tissue adhesion, massage can mobilize and elongate shortened or adhered connective tissue. This adhesion of connective tissue can happen from prolonged use, injury, or just movement issues. By "loosening" up this connective tissue, the muscle-tendon unit becomes less stiff, improving movement quality.
A number of the benefits of massage deal with recovery from exercise or sport. The increased temperature of the area being massaged can increase blood flow, thus bringing more nutrients into the muscle. At the same time, parasympathetic activity has been shown to increase. This leads to a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure as well as lowered cortisol levels. Pain reduction has been shown following a massage which could lead to a quicker recovery from post-competition soreness, also known as DOMS.
As you can see, there are a number of benefits of massage in regards to sports performance. As for me, I am no longer participating in a sport but I do train religiously and I feel that I am at a point where I have a lot of spots that need some work so that I can further improve my movement quality. Not to mention, a massage might be relaxing.
On a side note, I just want to wish everyone a happy Christmas and make sure you all realize it is time to get serious about our goals. No more excuses! And this video below is effin sweet.