Kevin Guardado NSCA-CPT
Myofascial release, or massage therapy as it is more commonly called, is a soft tissue treatment for the skeletal muscles and its connective tissues meant to mobilize your joints and release pain and tension from your body, most commonly found in the neck and lower back. Massage is meant to loosen tight muscles, stretches connective tissue, reduces chronic pain and spasms, and promotes effective breathing and posture. It is a very underused and underutilized treatment that everyone can greatly benefit from, but very few seem to take advantage of. My guess is that many are just not aware of its benefits or the many ways you can release tension through massage. In this article I will be discussing its benefits, including physical, mental and emotional benefits. Myofascial release is a holistic approach to recovery, in which every part of your physiology benefits from its treatment.
I will begin with its physical benefits. For one, it relaxes your muscles and literally turns them off for a while. Overworked muscle will become tight, rigid and painful over time, and it will only continue to build up tension unless its released. Massage calms your nervous system, which is directly related muscular tension. Your nervous system is the “electrical impulse” that sends signals from your brain to your muscles that allows them to turn on or off. In a high-stress and high-paced environment, your nervous system usually never gets a chance to turn off, leaving you feeling stressed, tight and exhausted. It also increases the rate at which your body recovers. Recovery is the most important part of training, this is when you actually build muscle, regenerate cells and strengthen your immune system. A good training program has an equal balance of working out type exercises (resistance and cardiovascular training) and working in type exercises (stretching, massage, walking and deep-breathing). Massage is perfect for recovery because it lowers blood pressure, slows respiration and heart rate, increases blood and lymph circulation, speeds metabolic waste removal. This aids in your training program, greatly increasing your performance in the gym and reducing injury by increasing your flexibility and mobility so that you can exercise using a proper range of motion. If you experience pain or inflexibility due to and prior injury, massage aids in breaking up rigid scar tissue and reducing inflammation.
In terms of mental and emotional benefits, it reduces mental stress by turning of your nervous system allowing your mind to turn off for a while. It improves sleep quality, also aiding in your mental and physical recovery, so you can go about your day with a newly refreshed mental focus, strength and vitality. Massage also increases serotonin, your body’s “anti-depression” hormone as well as endorphins which are your body’s natural painkillers. Altogether it reduces anxiety and stress, and improves your self image and provides a sense of well being.
Its benefits are cumulative; the more often your receive them the better you’ll feel and the quicker your body will respond. Once per week is optimal and at least once a month for maintenance thereafter. Make an appointment today! We have professionally licensed massage therapist Larry Wade, business owner of Kneadz Work located here at Fitness Results. Try it for yourself, I guarantee you’ll see the benefits after the first session. Stay strong, and pain free!