Why its Best to Have a Massage on Recovery Days
Why It’s Best to Have a Massage on Recovery Days
Whether you are an athlete or simply someone who is interested in staying fit, it’s no secret that engaging in exercise or athletic events can leave you feeling sore – sometimes very sore. Many people who begin to exercise after a long sedentary life find that muscle soreness takes all the fun out of fitness. The best exercise intentions often become shelved simply because of sore muscles.
Athletes can suffer the same kinds of problems with soreness and/or minor injuries, and while the dedication of these people will not call upon them to quit, it can keep them from training as they would like. This can be especially true if you have been overtraining.
Lactic acid and the buildup of toxins in muscle fibers are often blamed for next day muscle soreness. However, levels of lactic acid and toxins soon lower dramatically after exercise, especially if you receive a massage. Next day muscle soreness is an entirely different condition and is now called ‘Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness’. You will easily be able to identify the symptoms of DOMS, especially when contracting or stretching the muscle.
- Soreness and tenderness.
- Dull pain.
These symptoms usually appear within about one day of you using your muscles, and it is thought that very small tears in the muscles are responsible for the pain. This damage to the muscles is often called ‘microtrauma’. Because of the way the muscles feel, this condition is sometimes referred to as muscle fever.
Recovery Days Massage
Although to some extent sore muscles from exercise or exertion will generally heal up within about three to five days, it is quite possible for these symptoms to persist for a longer period of time. However, you can help to relieve the pain and perhaps accelerate healing if you have a massage by a qualified therapist. Massage can help with DOMS in more ways than one.
- Massage helps to warm the muscles not only by the friction of the massage itself, but by bringing more blood, and hence more oxygen, to the affected muscles.
- During a massage, nature’s pain relievers, endorphins, are released into your system. These endorphins can help to reduce the feeling of pain, as well as providing you with a better sense of wellbeing.
- Any fluids that have accumulated around the sore muscles will be more easily removed by better circulation.
In addition to the above, it has been found that the best time to have a recovery day massage is as soon after the activity has ceased as possible, even before any soreness and pain has set in. The administration of a deep muscle or Swedish massage actually causes positive changes to several genes found in the muscle cells.
- One of these genes is responsible for the amount of mitochondria present in muscle tissue. Mitochondria are those elements (organelles) in our cells that actually break down fats and carbohydrates into forms that our muscles can use. They provide the food for our muscle cells. Massage stimulates the production of more mitochondria, which in turn makes more ‘food’ available to the damaged muscle fibers.
- The other gene assists with pain relief. This will be especially important as regards your attitude towards continued exercise – the less pain you feel, the more likely it is that you will persist.
However, if you miss the massage window right after exercise and do experience pain and soreness, it’s not too late to get those two genes busy with massage therapy, to help speed up the healing process.