Post-workout pain is something we can all relate to. You lunged, you lifted, you sprinted, and now, all you really want is to find relief from the aches that inevitably ensue. While your initial instinct may be to head straight for the medicine cabinet, pharmaceutical products are no longer the only solution.
Not long ago, we touched on a study that essentially dubbed massage the new Advil. But what exactly can a good rubdown do for you? Zeel Bodywork experts explain the benefits of massage after hitting the gym, punching bag, pavement, or whatever else it is you do to maintain your chiseled physique.
Lactic acid removal. "A properly performed sports massage can speed recovery by increasing the flow of blood into and (most importantly) out of the area," says licensed acupuncturist and massage practitioner Daniel Cook. "This allows the reduction of the lactic acid build-up that leads to muscle soreness and brings fresh blood into the muscles, permitting faster healing."
Release compression. An advanced therapeutic massage therapist practicing in The Windy City, Steve Leary knows that calculated pressure can be a tremendous help when it comes to muscle recovery. "Pressing on a muscle can cause what's known as an ischemic compression," he explains. "This means that you're inhibiting the flow of blood to the specific region of the muscle. Once you've released the compression, blood can flow more freely through the muscle. This can aid in the recovery process."
Delay muscle soreness. New York City-based licensed massage therapist Prisila Jacobs supports post-workout massages for their ability to relax the muscles. "I specialize in a technique called myofascial release," she says. "Basically, sustained pressure is applied, forcing the fascia to relax. This technique is similar to Chinese acupuncture, but I use my hands instead of needles to achieve the same result."
Trigger point relief. Sore spots can often be blamed on what are known as trigger points. "Massage is extremely helpful and your muscles feel better when pressing the sore spots or "trigger points," because it speeds the process," says Warren Silverman, a veteran in the bodywork biz. He adds that massage also soothes the fibers that are temporarily broken down by hard exercise, and soothes inflamed muscles.