The Rub on Massage
By Denis Faye
From the Million Dollar Body Club - Join Today and Workout to
Is there no
luxury on the road to fitness? The Coke and Fritos snacks? Gone. The hours
spent on the couch watching Twilight Zone marathons? Finito. The
candies, cookies, and ice cream? Done, over, kaput.
But past the
sweating and grunting and celery, there is one thing you are allowed. In fact,
it's a luxury you're actually encouraged to seek out: massage.
obvious benefit of massage is stress reduction. It's a tough world out there. A
good rubdown can help both your body and mind face it. Furthermore, the more
stressed-out you are, the more likely you are to succumb to illness. An obvious
example of this is herpes. While the ailment itself is a virus, the sores are
brought on by stress.
benefits of massage go even further than that. Over the years, researchers have
found massage to be beneficial in treating everything from asthma to
post-traumatic stress disorder, back pain to eating disorders, cancer to
juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
including you Beachbody athletes, the soft-tissue manipulation aspect of
massage promotes blood circulation, which, in turn, revitalizes your muscles
and leads to faster recovery.
With this in
mind, it's important to remember that massage won't do you much good
immediately after exercise. Your heart's pumping and your blood's flowing just
fine. It's not until two to six hours after a workout that a massage benefits
you by getting that blood flowing again.
hundreds of types of massage, all with different benefits. Probably the best
known in the United States is Swedish massage. Its kneading
and long strokes move in the same direction as the blood flowing to the heart
and have the primary purpose of relaxation through improving oxygen flow in the
blood and releasing toxins from the muscles.
well-known form of massage is Shiatsu, one of the many Asian acupressure
techniques. Shiatsu comes from Japan and literally means
"finger pressure." It's done by pushing a series of pressure points, similar to
acupuncture, to promote chi, or life energy, flow. Although it can
benefit muscles, it's more intended as a healing massage for just about any
For the more
masochistic, there's deep-tissue massage. As its name indicates,
deep-tissue massage is a deeper, slower massage. It works
against the grain of muscles to relieve chronic tension.
deep-tissue work in application, sports massage speeds muscle
recovery, and is an excellent treatment for minor injuries such as strains.
Every athlete, professional or not, should add this method to their fitness
nice to get a proper massage therapist to work your aching muscles,
self-massage is also an excellent tool. While you and I don't
have the expertise of a professional, we certainly know what hurts and what
feels good on our own bodies. Rubbing that aching calf for five minutes can go
a long way towards recovery. You can use long strokes in the direction of your
muscles and also shorter strokes that work across your muscle fibers. Either
way, when you actively work your muscles, you create better circulation and
speed up the healing process. So next time you're sitting in front of the boob
tube, maybe a savory snack isn't such a good ideabut giving yourself a
much-deserved rub certainly is.