Massage is not just an occasional treat!

Massage is not just an occasional treat!

When we have been sitting for long periods of time and then stand up, one of our first responses is to stretch!

For many people when they think about booking a massage they think of it as a treat. A lovely way to reward yourself with some relaxation. Usually people book these treatments when their body is tired and achy. You’ve been meaning to do it for a while, but others things seem to take priority. I’m just as guilty! Apart from it making you feel relaxed many people don’t actually know what massage does.

So what is massage?

Massage causes physiological changes within your body. The relaxation response, which is involuntary, is the nervous systems   response. This causes your heart, breathing rate, blood pressure and the production of stress hormones to decrease allowing your muscles to relax. The relaxation response may aid physical effects of stress such as anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, digestive disorders, and hypertension – to name a few. It also causes a mechanical response. It increases blood and lymph circulation and relaxation of the soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, tendons, connective tissues) which releases nerves and deeper connective tissues.

So what does a regular Sports Massage do for me?

As we know the body’s circulation works naturally. Massage helps the blood to fight gravity in the limbs and for this reason that is why a therapist will massage towards the heart. This has the benefit of dragging blood along the veins with a vacuum formed behind each stroke and being filled with more blood whilst not damaging the delicate one way valves which pull the blood back towards the heart. In the same way the lymphatic system is aided, which helps to remove excess fluid (interstitial fluid) from cells but transporting it to the lymph nodes where toxins are removed and the fluid is reintroduced to the blood supply.

Interstitial fluid is often found in excess as a result of trauma (tissue damage) or after a significant amount of exercise, which now explains why massage can assist in recovery. As part of a training routine massage can allow the athlete to train hard in the knowledge that a treatment will assist a faster recovery. Studies show that massage can help reduce inflammation and help stimulate the production of mitochondria which are the power house cells of our muscles.

Massage also helps with flexibility of the tissues and used in conjunction with a stretching routine will allow the individual to optimise their bodies range of movement. Different techniques used within a sports massage work with and against the grain of the muscles which stretch the muscles on a cellular level. This flexibility is important as it optimises the athlete and can help reduce the likelihood of injury.

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So do I need to be an athlete to benefit from Sports Massage?

We don’t neglect the car when it needs maintenance, why do we neglect ourselves?

The short answer is NO! When I first meet clients we go through a consultation form. One of my questions is ‘What exercise do you do?’ Many of my clients will say gym, swimming, cycling, running etc. and others will look a little worried and say with a quiet voice ‘I don’t do anything’ . They then later tell me how they walk to work, walk the dog, love gardening, care for family, this list of everyday activities is endless, we just take them for granted. The fact is we are all active! Many of us through work are sitting either at a desk in front of a computer or in a car. We get engrossed in what we are doing and before we know it our posture goes out the window and we’ve been sat for several hours without a break. This can result in tension building up in our neck, shoulders, arms and hands.

Our bodies are a working, functioning, clever piece of kit that does require maintenance. And in return we stay healthy.

So What Are You Waiting For?

Time to book an appointment! I work from my home in Christchurch and offer appointments from 8:30am until 4pm and 6pm until 7:30pm Monday – Friday. On Wednesday’s and Friday’s I am available at the BH1 Gym based at LV, Frizzell House in Westbourne. If you are a member of the Tornado Road Cycling Club you get a 10% discount on treatments. Discounts are also available for block bookings and early payment.

For further information on massage and other treatments available please visit www.totalbodyworks.co.uk or

email me at Heidi@totalbodyworks.co.uk.

Posted on May 10, 2016 .