How does massage work to relax muscles?
As the therapist uses their hands or specialized tools to rhythmically knead, rub, and stroke (effluerage) muscles, circulation is stimulated. Blood flow delivers oxygen and nutrients, and is key to helping muscles eliminate waste products such as lactic acid that may collect in muscles from spasms causing pain.
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Following trauma, muscles may act as mini-splints to protect and limit motion, similar to a cast on a broken arm. A typical example is a person who uses a computer for a prolonged time period without taking a break to stretch the neck. The result: stiff neck, aching, even pain. Taking periodic breaks to rub (mini-massage) and stretch the neck will promote circulation to the muscles.
Brad Bray L.M.T., C.P.T.
TX License #MT103004
I'm a Licensed Massage Therapist, a graduate with honors of the Texas Massage Institute, and Certified Personal Trainer in Dallas, TX. A 2007 Ironman Arizona finisher, Buffalo Springs Half-Ironman finisher, two-time Big Kahuna half-iron distance finisher, and dozens of olympic and sprint distance triathlons with top 10 finishes in my age group. I am very familiar with the aches and pains endurance sports training and racing can cause the body.