Get a Massage for Muscle Recovery AND Better Health

MassageMMost of us think of massages as a luxury. Images of eucalyptis-infused towels, soft lighting, gentle music and firm hands dance in our heads. We think of relaxation and a peaceful spirit.

Well, snap out of it!

Massages aren’t just for the bourgeois. In fact, if you’re in training for a race or a sport, or if you work out rigorously and regularly, getting periodic massages might be a necessity. Moreover, as researchers recently learned, regular massages also produce all-body benefits by improving overall vascular circulation–even among those who don’t exercise!

We all know the benefits of getting a massage after a tough workout or training run: no muscle soreness! Or at least less soreness. But believe it or not, those ideas had never been validated. Researchers at the University of Illinois, Chicago set out to do just that, producing massages for a group that had exercised to soreness and a group that did not exercise.

In the end they not only confirmed that a post-workout massage indeed eased muscle soreness (and aided muscle recovery), but also that a good massage produced benefits beyond mere muscle recovery.

“The big surprise was the massage-only control group, who showed virtually identical levels of improvement in circulation as the exercise and massage group,” said Shane Phillips, UIC associate professor of physical therapy and principal investigator on the study. “The circulatory response was sustained for a number of days, which suggests that massage may be protective.”

The message here is simple: Don’t just “treat” yourself to a massage, consider making it a regular part of your regiment, one that will not only improve your ability to train but help keep you healthy!

Aren’t you worth the investment?!

 

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