Are you an athlete with a high daily demand on your body? Or are you recovering from an injury or illness? If you answered "yes" to either question, then you are in need of a Deep Tissue Massage!
Massages have been used for years to reduce physical and psychological stress, with research continually showing that massage therapy is an effective way to help treat common conditions such as arthritis, anxiety and chronic lower back pain.
What is a Deep Tissue Massage? A deep tissue massage focuses on deeper layers of muscle and connective tissues, and works by physically breaking down areas of rigid tissue called adhesion and relieve pain. The massage techniques are applied with deep pressure, at a slow rate to areas of tension and pain in order to reach deep muscles and fascia.
The main objective of deep tissue massage is to reduce chronic pain and discomfort while improving the body's ability to heal. Unlike other massage techniques that focus on relaxation, Deep Tissue Massage helps to "lengthen and release the muscles" to reduce pain, improve stiffness and flexibility.
Now, let's explore 7 reasons why a deep tissue massage can benefit your body and mind:
1. Treatment for Chronic Back Pain
Studies have found that deep tissue massage helps to reduce pain in people with chronic lower back as it can loosen the tight tissue clusters causing pain. As the skin is massaged, it slows the activity of inflammatory cytokines which contribute to pain and inflammation.
2. Help Reduce High Blood Pressure
Deep tissue massage has had positive effects on systolic, diastolic and average blood pressure readings in adults with symptoms of pain and high blood pressure. As massage therapy is shown to decrease sympathetic activity and increase parasympathetic activity, stress and anxiety levels lower, while blood pressure and heart rate is reduced.
3. Reduce Stress, Anxiety & Muscle Tension
Studies have found that massage therapy can help reduce cortisol levels and even increase the production of oxytocin, which relaxes the body and has calming effects. Inflammation caused by chronic stress and muscle tension can worsen overall health, prolong recovery time, reduce immune function and increase blood pressure.
Natural effects of stress relief with the benefits of deep tissue massage include the ability to dilate blood vessels and less activity of the limbic system which is responsible for autonomic regulation of the nervous system and the secretion of cortisol. Massage also improves relaxation by increasing the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system.
4. Break Up Scar Tissue
The benefits of deep tissue massage are often needed after injuries to help break up newly formed scar tissue that can hinder recovery and cause stiffness. Massage helps reduce inflammation and muscle spasms by stimulating blood flow, relaxing the muscles to allow more oxygen, along with reducing the automatic response of stress to the nervous system.
After an injury occurs, inflammation can prevent adequate blood flow from reaching the damaged tissue and can restrict vital nutrients and oxygen. This can result in toxins accumulating around the injured area, which increases swelling and pain.
5. Improve Athletic Recover & Performance
The type of deep tissue massage most beneficial to athletes is considered as "sports massage" and is usually preformed before sporting events to help warm the body and prevent injury, or immediately after to assist recovery. Research shows that deep tissue massages can help improve lactate clearance, delay onset muscle pain, muscle fatigue, injury prevention and treatment of injuries.
6. Help with Delivery & Pain During
When it comes to delivery and labour pain, many pregnant women are turning to alternative medicine to help control pain and support a natural delivery process. The most common alternative therapies recommended during pregnancy include massage therapy, acupuncture and chiropractic therapies.
Some studies have shown that massage therapy can be very beneficial during pregnancy due to its lowering effects of anxiety. Women who received massages before and during labour had significantly less pain and a shorter labour.
As cortisol levels decrease after a massage and blood flow is improved, pregnant women are also better protected against excessive fetal activity and risk of premature delivery.
7. Reduce the Symptom of Arthritis
Massage therapy is often used to relieve the common symptoms of arthritis, such as chronic joint pain, stiffness, anxiety, limited range of movement in the joints and problems sleeping. Firmer massages can be used daily for natural relief and research shows that deep tissue massages can result in a significant reduction in arthritis pain compared to lighter massages.
It is recommended to get massaged at least once every two to three weeks to help aid in healthy tissue repair and reduce the pain felt from intensive workouts or activity. There is usually some stiffness or pain after the deep tissue massage itself, however this should subside within a day or two. If during the massage you experience any soreness or pain outside your comfort range, make sure to inform your massage therapist so they can adjust the pressure.
If you're in Cairns and need to relieve tired, overworked and sore muscles, click HERE to find out more or book a Deep Tissue Massage.