Massage Therapy or Stretching, Which is better?
Massage and stretching are both helpful ways to keep your muscles relaxed, nimble, tension free from exercise or other training regimen and help with recovery after an injury or after pushing through to new a new plateau. Stretching helps to get the blood flowing to your muscles and to align muscle fibers. Muscles often experience micro tears after intense exerted effort. On the flip side if your muscled are stiff from inactivity, contracted (locked long or short), and adhered to each other; slow stretching and movement can help restore muscle balance and range of motion.
Giving your muscles a good stretch, is allowing them to lengthen (a mindful activity) hence increasing function as the muscle in question has a larger span to contract. Lengthened muscles are less likely to develop painful spasms and cramps, reduces adhesions from forming, and reduces postural compensation pattern.
Massage on the other hand improves your flexibility and range of motion, keeping your joints more fluid and making them less injury prone in the first place. How do massage and stretching work together to promote muscle and joint health?
Massage therapy is used to describe the manual therapist and the manipulation of muscles, ligaments and connective tissue of the body. Of course there are lots of different types of massage and techniques that are suitable for different intentions and desired outcomes, but as defined by Connecticut legislature, Massage therapy “is the systematic and scientific manipulation and treatment of the soft tissues of the body, by use of pressure, friction, stroking, percussion, kneading, vibration by manual or mechanical means, range of motion and nonspecific stretching. Massage therapy may include the use of oil, ice, hot and cold packs, tub, shower, steam, dry heat, or cabinet baths, for the purpose of, but not limited to, maintaining good health and establishing and maintaining good physical and mental condition”
What’s massage good for?
We love a massage for general wellbeing, Massage Therapy reduces sympathetic nervous system response of hyper mental activity, in another word ‘STRESS’ of everyday work and responsibility, mostly self imposed. But medically massage and it various modalities is recognized beyond making you feel good. Stretching does have a lot of similarities to massage, but its main benefit is to relieve the tightness and tension that’s built up in your muscles when you’ve used (and over-used) them. Having a really good, effective stretch can increase the blood flow to your muscles, and this leads to better range of motion that helps your joints to stay in alignment.
• Help strained muscles to repair faster
• Reduce swelling and scar tissue if you’re injured
• Relieve stiffness and tension in your muscles
• Reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and fatigue
Stretching does have a lot of similarities to massage, but its main benefit is to relieve the tightness and tension that’s built up in your muscles when you’ve used (and over-used) them. Having a really good, effective stretch can increase the blood flow to your muscles, and this leads to better range of motion that helps your joints to stay in alignment.
What’s stretching good for?
Stretching properly can:
• Improve your circulation
• Boost your nerve health – contracted muscles create nerve pressure and constrict the blood supply
• Make movement easier
• Improve flexibility
How can massage and a stretching routine work together? Daily stretching – to a point where you can just feel it pulling on your muscles – can really help to increase your flexibility, and you can feel the effects in a matter of a few weeks. Enjoying a regular massage helps to keep your body relaxed and flexible. Massage can release trigger points and muscles in spasm, making your stretching routine even more effective. You could even opt for a Thai massage which uses stretches and compressions all in one session to give your muscles, soft tissue and thorough workout. You can also ask your massage therapist for advice if you have any injuries or are experiencing stiffness in your muscles.