Massage is an ancient therapy that involves applying pressure on different areas of the body to promote relaxation and good health and can also be used for a range of medical issues including back pains and muscle tension. It is used all over the world and has been a popular practice for hundreds of years.
While most people tend to go home feeling relaxed and rejuvenated after a massage, some people can actually experience pain the next day. You could get sore muscles after a massage or even feel tired and uncomfortable. So what happened?
Is It Normal to Experience Sore Muscles after Massage?
It is common to feel slight discomfort and swelling after a massage, as this is a sign that your white blood cells are doing their job correctly. Known as therapeutic inflammation, the white blood cells rise to the surface area to clear any waste from your body tissue, causing you to feel discomfort and even sometimes pain. The result of this therapeutic inflammation is that your body will feel tender to the touch, and may even look and feel slightly swollen, but this is not something to worry about.
Why does It Occur?
Your muscle fibers and the lining of your cells are meant to be fluid and relaxed.But they can tighten up when stressed, causing muscles to group together and becoming more rigid. When you receive a deep tissue massage to release fibersadhesions and relax and stretch the muscles, micro tears may appear, drawing in a small amount of blood in order to heal them again.These small tears can cause you to have sore muscles after massage, with a slightly bruised feeling.
Sometimes, you may also feel achy and flu-like, which can be a result of being dehydrated while getting a massage. As waste can build up in tight muscles, the massage automatically moves this around and releases into your blood, which is the cause of feeling achy and flu-like. If you drink plenty of water before and after your message (at least double the amount) you will help your muscles become more malleable ready for the massage and flush out any waste that has been released into your blood stream afterwards.
What If It Really Hurts a Lot?
Sometimes we don't just get sore muscles after massage but can actually feel real damage in our bodies. It is really important to communicate with your therapist so they know whether or not the massage is actually doing you good.
Occasionally therapists can be too vigorous, putting too much pressure on the muscles and causing real damage. This doesn't mean that they are bad at giving massages, but may just mean they cannot tell if a certain muscle needs work. Many of us automatically tense up in anticipation of pain, which could lead the therapist to think this area of the body needs massaging.
Learn to relax during your massage and communicate the tension levels with your therapist to ensure you are able to tolerate the pressure. If you are tensing up a particular muscle that is being worked on, it means you cannot tolerate that level of pressure and should ask the therapist to ease up.
What Can Massage Do for Your Body?
Though you may have sore muscles after massage, it doesn't mean that massage is not good for you. Quite the opposite, massage can bring a host of benefits to your over health. Some of the benefits are listed below:
1. It Benefits the Skeletal System
Massage is beneficial to stiff joints as it decreases inflammation and stops your connective tissue between joints from thickening, stopping them from restricting your movement. It is also great for muscle tone and balance which reduces the level of stress placed on your joints.
2. It Strengthens Your Muscular System
Massage is great for your muscles as the relaxation increases flexibility, reducing stiffness and spasms in the muscle tissue. It also increases blood circulation, drawing in more oxygen and nutrients, stopping your muscles from feeling tired and removing toxins and waste.
3. It Improves Your Cardiovascular System
Massage not only decreases your heart rate due to relaxation, but also produces an enhanced blood flow, pumping fresh oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and removing toxic waste. The constant movement of your muscle tissues helps to increase the circulation of blood around your body, temporarily decreasing your blood pressure allowing your blood vessels to work more effectively and efficiently.
4. It Stimulates the Nervous System
Massage is great for stimulating and soothing nerves in your body, promoting relaxation and reducing stress. It also releases endorphins, which are known to elevate mood, reducing pain and making you feel happy and elated in the process.