5 Ways Massage is Like Exercise

 

I know what you’re thinking: Massage is NOTHING like exercise! Exercise makes you sweat, gets your heart rate up, and it’s something a lot of people don’t enjoy doing–at least not nearly as much as getting a massage. And while the obvious differences are true, the two have more in common than you might think.

 

  1. Frequency and Consistency: If you go to the gym once or twice a year, that’s awesome! That’s better than not going at all! However, if you complain about not meeting your fitness goals and you only exercise once or twice a year, it’s kind of a no-brainer as to how you aren’t reaching those goals. Massage is the same way. If you have back pain, headaches, limited range of motion, and the like, and you only see us “when it’s really bad,” don’t expect us to be able to fix you in one go. The more frequent your bodywork is, the more results you are going to see from it. The American Massage Therapy Association said, “Massage has its greatest benefits over time. The therapeutic effects of massage are cumulative, so the more often you get a massage, the better you will feel and the more quickly your body will respond.” So if you came in once because you have back pain and you didn’t get the results you were looking for, you need to come back again! Talk to one of our Licensed Massage Therapists to know how often you should be coming and what your goals are.
  2. Lactic Acid: When you workout, your body will releaselactic acid, a naturally occurring substance that your body creates when it has a low oxygen level and breaks down carbohydrates for energy. A knot is built up lactic acid, and a massage will squeeze that build up out of those muscle fibers. This is why you can become sore after a massage, but usually feels more like a workout kind of sore. You get these buildups from overuse or repetitive motions and eventually, those buildups prevent your muscles from contracting the way they should.
  3. Drink Water! With knowing what lactic acid is and how it can affect your body during a massage, it would be ludicrous to think that you could do a strenuous workout and not drink water. So why would you do that after a massage?!? While there have been studies showing that increasing your water intake after a massage doesn’t specifically affect your body as much as we used to think it does, it’s always a good idea to drink more water. It takes a LOT of water to overdose (which is actually a thing–check it out). You’ve been laying there for an hour; it’s good to replenish your water and hydrate your cells.
  4. Metabolism: Much like exercise, massage can boost your metabolism. Please note: Getting frequent massage, while can and does boost your metabolism, is not a viable option for weight loss. You must do so much more than just massage for weight loss. And much like exercise, you need more than just exercise for weight loss. “There is a cumulative improvement in metabolic function. Massage has no known effect on blood pH, oxygen consumption, pulse rate or blood pressure except indirectly as a result of relaxation.” This means that there is an overall benefit, mainly due to the fact that you are actually taking time for yourself and allowing yourself to relax, which initiates more of the digesting and metabolic functions within the body. With our society being so go-go-go, we need some time for ourselves to allow our metabolism to function as best it can and for our parasympathetic nervous system to kick in and decrease our cortisol levels (stress hormone) and increase and promote a more restful state.
  5. Listen to your “trainer”! If you’re paying a lot of money for your training sessions with a personal trainer, but you don’t listen to anything they actually say (“Stop drinking soda.” “Eat more leafy greens.” “Make sure you’re exercising 3 times a week.” etc.) then you aren’t going to be making the gains you want. Same with massage. If your Massage Therapist tells you to drink more water, or stretch certain muscles, or something like that, then listen to them! If they want to see you once a week until you’ve made some headway in your back pain, do it! When you work with a Licensed Massage Therapist (which if you see us at Under Pressure Therapeutics, you do) you are working with someone who has the knowledge, skill set, and experience to help you with your pain. Not only are we trained to know how to help the muscles, we actually feel what’s going on in your muscle systems. We can tell if you are wearing your right shoulder high and what muscles are tight and possibly causing that. We analyze your posture. If your Massage Therapist tells you to stretch a certain muscle, do it! It will help.
Sure, massage and exercise are different, but both play a huge role in your overall health and wellness. Both can help with limited range of motion and postural deviations, and both require commitment to see results.

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

June is the official Bike Month. So get out and ride your bike! Cycling is a great way to enjoy the sun and get exercise, and you can ride your bike to work, so you don’t have to set aside a ton of extra time to do it.

 

One of the main reasons cycling is great is because it targets some of the largest muscles in your body–quad muscles, hamstrings, and glutes, just to name a few. This cardio exercise also targets different muscles during each pedal stroke. Each portion of the pedal stroke engages a different muscle or set of muscles to complete.

 

With how much your legs are worked, it leaves you open to stiffness, soreness, and strains. Massage helps reduce the effects of all three by pushing lactic acid out of your muscles, allowing your tissues to function better. The position your body is in for extended periods of time for cycling can also cause neck and back pain. We’ve talked about neck pain and disc issues in your back before. Massage again reduces the effects of strained muscles in your neck and back from holding your body in that specific position. The American Orthopedic Society of Sports Medicine talks about how important it is to have your bicycle fit your body correctly to prevent neck, shoulder, back, and other pains that can easily be avoided.

 

Cycling, as with any sport, also comes with its own set of injuries. Some of the obvious ones are knee pain or foot and ankle numbness. However, one of the most common is head injury. This can vary from a small bruise on the cheek to a serious brain injury.  In that same article, the AOSSM talks about quite a few possible injuries and they talk about when to seek the help of a physician, which you should with any major injury. However serious or minor an ache, pain, or injury is, your Licensed Massage Therapist can help.

 

After a long bike ride, it’s important to get massaged. It helps to push that built up lactic acid out of your muscles and allows your tissues to be more hydrated and oxygenated. It allows those muscle fibers to recover quicker. It prevents tensions from building up, which can also prevent sprains, strains, and other injuries. CyclingTips.com even wrote an article about When to Get a Massage, and the first sentence is, “Massage is as integral to a professional cyclist’s daily routine as riding the bike is.” It goes on to say, “The massage is actually pushing out the muscle’s carbon dioxide rich blood to the lungs and heart which is then filtered to come out as oxygen rich blood that goes back into the muscles.  The body will do this naturally but massage drastically speeds up the process.  In addition to this, massage prevents injury with the help of stretching.” (emphasis added)

 

If you’ve been in an accident on your bicycle, whether it’s falling off your bike because you just switched to clipless pedals and forgot your feet were attached to your bike, or you were hit by a car and had to get surgery to fix broken bones, massage reduces recovery time. After a serious injury, please consult your physician before you come see your Licensed Massage Therapist–we DO NOT replace your general practitioner, and it’s important to know that you don’t have any complications that would be worsened by massage. However, once you’ve received the clear from your doctor, receiving massage to help your body recover is necessary to ensure your body is functioning and performing without compensating for your injury. If you just fell off and hurt your wrist, again, come see us. We can make sure your wrist and the muscles in your forearm are functioning better to ensure you can break properly. A Personal Injury Lawyer office in Oregon posted a whole article about the benefits of massage after any accident. If it’s important after a car accident, it’s even more important after a cycling accident.

101 Ways Massage Will Improve Your Life

Massage really has a million benefits, but here is a quick list of 101 ways massage can and does improve lives every day.

Psychological:

1. Reduce Stress

2. Reduce Anxiety

3. Reduces depression

4. Can help to gain new perspectives by relaxing the mind which can help create new neuropathways

5. An escape from life / mini vacation

6. Helps you become more self-aware by knowing what is going on in your body

7. Increase mindfulness

8. Boost mental health and wellness

9. Increase vitality

10. Increases sense of well-beingSpaFinder

11. Increases productivity

12. Can help increasing reaction time

13. Can increase alertness

14. Increase mental clarity

Physical:

15. Improves posture

16. Increase range of motion

17. Decrease chronic pain

18. Decrease tension headaches and frequency of migraines

19. Hydrates and revitalizes skin

20. Reduce spasms and cramping

21. Keeps discs healthy

22. Decreases pressure on the joints

23. Decrease stiffness

24. Help manage carpal tunnel

25. Decrease jaw pain

26. Help manage chronic jaw issues

27. Ease sciatica

28. Reduce tender points

29. Increases metabolism

30. Reduces lactic acid build up

31. Lower Blood pressure

32. Reduce acute pain

33. Increase blood flow

34. Increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues

35. Can aid in elimination

36. Ease pain in stomach from food poisoning

37. Ease chronic symptoms for post-polio sufferers

38. Increases blood flow to organs, allowing them to function better

39. Early detection of skin cancer

40. Help ease pain in clients in hospice care

41. Help ease painful oncology treatments

42. Reduces nausea in chemotherapy patients

43. Decrease and in some cases eliminate scar tissue

44. Strengthens immune system

45. Decreases recovery time post-surgery

46. In some cases, prevent surgery for tendonitis

47. Help decrease pain for sufferers of plantar faciitis

48. Lessen the effects of rheumatoid or osteoarthritis

49. Decrease numbness or tingling in extremities

50. Decrease the pain associated with scoliosis, lordosis, or kyphosis

51. Aid in recovery from strains or sprains

52. Decrease the pain from upper crossed syndrome or thoracic outlet syndrome

53. Aid in sinus health

Athletics / Fitness:bigstock-athlete-running-sport-feet-on-44182534

54. Decreases recovery from workouts

55. Decreases recovery time from an injury

56. Makes exercise easier

57. Helps with exercise gains

58. Reduce muscle tension

59. Help athletes monitor muscle tone

60. Promote relaxation

61. Reduce muscle hypertonicity

62. Improve soft tissue function

63. Support recovery from the transient immunosuppression state

64. Support the recovery of heart rate variability and diastolic blood pressure after high intensity exercise

65. Decrease muscle stiffness and fatigue after exercise

66. Improve exercise performance

67. Decrease DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)

68. Reduce serum creatine kinase post exercise

69. Reduce swelling

70. Reduce irregular breathing patterns

71. Enhance athletic performance

72. May help prevent injuries when massage is received regularly

73. Is the most efficient self-care regiment tor maintaining maximal athletic performance

Sleep and breathing:

74. Improve sleep

75. Increase sleep hours

76. Improve quality of sleep

77. Overcome feelings of fatigue

78. Practice deep breathing

79. Practice breathing

Pregnancy / women’s health:

80. Decrease discomfort during pregnancy

81. Assist in shorter, easier labor for expecting mothers

82. Decrease bloating, cramping, mood swings, and other PMS related symptoms

Hormones:

83. Balance hormones

84. Decrease urninary CRF-LI (a biochemical marker of stress-related symptoms

85. Decrease cortisol levels

86. Releases endorphines

Infants (Results of a case study):

87. Massage is a cost-effective therapy for pre-term infants.baby massage

88. Pre-term infants gained more weight with just 5 days of massage

89. Massage therapy by mothers in perinatal period serves as a strong time cue, enhancing coordination of the developing circadian system with environmental cues.

90. Over the 6-week period, the massage therapy infants gained more weight, showed greater improvement on emotionally, sociability, and soothability temperament dimensions and had greater decreases in urinary stress catecholamines/hormones (norepinepherine, epinephrine, cortisol).

91. Infants receiving massage showed fewer sleep delay behaviors and had a shorter latency to sleep onset by the end of the study

92. Massage may have a stress reducing effect on pre-term infants in the NICU.

93. Reduction of illness and diarrheal episodes in orphaned children in Ecuador

Medications:

94. Decrease use of analgesics

95. Ease medication dependence

Overall:

96. Great place to start for making changes

97. Improve health status

98. Improve quality of life

99. Work well in an integrative treatment plan

100. Increase the improvement when paired with other alternative health regiments (chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy, and more)

101. Valuable component of your wellness program

Sources:

MassageTherapy.com

Mayo Clinic

WebMD

Huffington Post

MedicineNet

American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA)

Meet Your Fitness Goals

Massage Therapy can enhance your overall health. I think I’ve said this before, but what I haven’t said is how it can help you meet your fitness goals, whether it’s losing weight, or meeting a body lifting goal.
A lot of people hear about how massage therapy can boost your metabolism, which helps you lose weight. This is true. To an extent. You’re not going to shed 30 pounds by simply getting a massage twice a month. While it does boost your metabolism, it doesn’t boost it THAT much.
What massage DOES do is help supply your body with more oxygen and nutrients by increasing your circulation, which helps you recover quicker from strenuous exercise and helps your muscles recover and grow. This in and of itself can help you shed extra pounds.
When your circulation improves, your muscles are supplied with necessary nutrients in a much more efficient manner. Many weight loss experts will suggest and recommend receiving regular massage during your transformation with them simply because massage takes what they are teaching you and multiplies the results. Massage will help you burn your calories even at rest because well-maintained muscles work more efficiently. By receiving massage regularly, your range of motion will also increase, which will enable you to work out harder and work your muscles in ways you haven’t been able to in a long time.
Receiving regular massages can really help you meet your fitness goals. You will be able to relax better, sleep more soundly, and recover quicker from any workout you do. It will also help you detox your body more thoroughly, so you will get more out of your detoxing systems.
Staying healthy is more than just eating right and exercise. If your tissues are not functioning as best as they can, you won’t get the results you want very quickly. Don’t hesitate to schedule a massage, especially if you have fitness goals. Our very own Justin Hays is an amazing sports massage therapist. He really has a great knowledge of what the body goes through during exercise and knows how to tailor your massage to meet your needs, whether you are a runner, line backer, or just starting in your athletic health. Book a massage with Justin to help you start meeting your fitness goals quicker.

Better Your Massage Experience

Massage therapy isn’t just a service that you get when you come in for a massage. The benefits, effects, and sometimes the side-effects last much longer than that hour or hour and a half. Sometimes, I will get people asking me if what they have been feeling is normal. Most of the time, it is.
After a massage, you can feel relaxed, clear headed, rejuvenated, or energized. Sometimes, you just feel the pain you’ve been feeling before you got there. It does not mean that the massage did not benefit you. In the article below, it states many of the benefits of getting massages. I’m here to tell you some of the feelings you may get that aren’t mentioned.
Soreness is very common after a massage, especially if you are receiving a deep tissue massage or a massage to reach a specific goal

like increasing range of motion or decreasing pain. This happens because the therapist is squeezing out built up lactic acid, which is what makes muscles sore in the first place. By releasing this build up, it can easily go back into your blood and dissipate itself through that muscle. Lactic acid is a toxin and can leave you feeling nauseated or even cause vomiting. These are less common, but can happen. With deep tissue massages, your therapist can also bruise you. It is not the goal of the massage, nor the intention of the therapist. But it is important to know that bruising can happen on occasion. I have bruised 4 people in my 3 years, and one of them neglected to inform me that she was an a major pain killer, which is why the bruising happened.
A few things you can do to better your experience:
  • Drink water before AND after your massage
  • Stretch
  • Ice sore muscles (you can do this before and after as well)
  • Be present for your treatment–leave your troubles behind
  • Try not to drink alcohol after your massage
  • Eat wholesome foods
  • Take what your therapist suggests to heart
  • Take off as much jewelry you can
  • Silence your cellphone
  • Most importantly: communicate
It is important to communicate with your massage therapist. If you need or want more or less pressure, SPEAK UP! It is YOUR massage experience, not the therapist’s. The therapist has gone to school and knows a good track of what to do to help you the most, but you need to let him or her know if pressure is too much or too little. If you’re too cold, each table at Under Pressure Therapeutics has a table warmer. If you’re too hot, we can take the blanket off. Your therapist wants your experience to be a memorable one, but your therapist is not always a mind reader.