Massage can help with…
Massage is one of the best known antidotes for stress. Reducing stress gives you more energy, improves your outlook on life, and in the process reduces your likelihood of injury and illness. Massage can also relieve symptoms of conditions that are aggravated by anxiety such as asthma or insomnia.
Painful or tight muscles
Massage can relieve many types of muscle tightness, from a short-term muscle cramp to habitually tight shoulders. Some massage techniques release tension directly by kneading your muscles and their connective tissue coverings (called fascia). Other techniques work less directly, but quite powerfully, by stimulating your nervous system to allow your muscles to relax.
Delayed muscle soreness
After vigorous exercise, a buildup of waste products in your muscles can leave you feeling tired and sore. Massage increases circulation, which removes waste products and brings in nutrients. Massage can help you stay vigorous and active, and lessen recovery times from strenuous workouts.
Prevention of new injuries
Besides releasing tight muscles that restrict joint movements, massage works directly on your joints to improve circulation, stimulate production of natural lubrication, and relieve pain from conditions such as osteoarthritis, as well as increasing pain free range of motion.
Pain or tingling in your limbs
Muscles can become so contracted that they press on nerves in the arms, hands and legs, causing pain, tingling or numbness. If this happens, massage may be able to release muscle spasms in these areas and bring much needed relief. In some cases, the pain or tingling may not be from pressure by a muscle, but pressure from a bone that may have shifted slightly as a result of daily use, or a particular injury. If that is the case, your therapist may refer you to a chiropractor for an adjustment before working on your muscles just to be safe. Massage therapists are not allowed to perform any type of skeletal manipulations.
Massage can relieve the secondary pain that can outlast its original cause. Some examples of this are headaches from eyestrain, chronic low back aches from an old injury or bad posture, or the protective tensing of healthy muscles around the area of an injury.
Massage releases restriction in muscles, joints, and the surrounding fascia, freeing your body to return to a more natural posture. Massage can also relieve the contracted muscles and pain caused by abnormal spinal curvatures such as scoliosis.
The effects of forced inactivity
There are many reasons why you may be forced to limit physical activity including injury, surgery, paralysis or even normal aging. When this happens, massage can relieve your aches and pains and improve circulation to your skin and muscles. Even when an immobilized area cannot be massaged directly, the relaxation and increased circulation from a general massage can bring you relief.